UC Davis police chief worked in Federal Way | VIDEO: How painful is pepper spray?

From staff reports:

There is a Federal Way connection to the recent University of California-Davis pepper spray fiasco that has sparked national outrage.

UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza was put on administrative leave this week following the Nov. 18 incident in which campus police doused several student protesters with pepper spray. The students were sitting peacefully as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Video of the incident has gone viral on the Internet.

According to an online bio, Spicuzza served with the "newly developing Federal Way Police Department as a lieutenant and then commander," starting in 1996. From 2000 to 2005, she served as assistant chief of police at the University of Washington. The bio notes that Spicuzza started her career with the Chicago Police Department, then joined the Kennewick Police Department in Eastern Washington. She also served for several years at the Washington State Law Enforcement Training Academy.

How painful is pepper spray?

In April 2009, The Mirror followed Federal Way police recruit Carl Van Dyke at Basic Law Enforcement Academy training. All police recruits must pass a test after getting pepper-sprayed in the face.

"It's like someone set your face on fire," VanDyke said. "It hurts so bad you want to tear your eyeballs out." (Watch the video here)

The non-lethal chemical compound is carried by many officers. The spray is used to control and temporarily subdue uncooperative suspects. It leaves the target with a burning sensation that increases or resurfaces when one's heartbeat rises and a person's pores open, Basic Academy Assistant Cmdr. Sgt. Rich Phillips said. The initial pain and effects of the spray last minutes and will completely disappear within about a day, Phillips said.

The stinging spray is composed of finely ground oleoresin capsicum from peppers. The future police officers must complete an obstacle course immediately following an up-close encounter with pepper spray. The test prepared the recruits for the day when they may have to use the device on a suspect — or worse, when a suspect compromises the weapon and uses it on the officer.


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