Chemical Agent Instructor Manual
The world of law enforcement chemical agents is constantly changing, with new product introductions, new formulations, new methods of delivery, and new laws that affect the way that police agencies use chemical agents. Historically, most of the officers attending this course are either going to teach chemical agents at their agency, or are assigned to a tactical team and are here to upgrade their knowledge for tactical deployment purposes. Our philosophy is simple. If you want to be a credible chemical agents instructor, you need to not only have as much theoretical knowledge as possible, you also need to gain practical, hands-on knowledge as well. That means getting exposed to as many different types of chemical agents under as many differing conditions as possible.
There are varieties of situations where peace officers may use non-lethal chemical agents. Examples of such situations include, but are not limited to:
- Self defense,
- Overcoming the resistance of a noncompliant individual,
- Effecting an arrest,
- Preventing escape,
- Crowd or riot control, and
- Dangerous animals.
Peace officers must know the terminology, capabilities, exposure symptoms, and decontamination procedures in order to safely, effectively handle, and deploy non-lethal chemical agents and gas masks.
After studying this instructor’s manual the peace officer will have a better understanding of:
- Typical state and federal requirements for the possession and use of non-lethal chemical agents in law enforcement.
- The four methods used to deploy non-lethal chemical agents,
- The environmental and physical conditions that can impact the effectiveness of a non-lethal chemical agent,
- The guidelines for safely carrying, drawing, and deploying hand-held canisters of chemical agents,
- Decontamination procedures that should be followed after a non-lethal chemical agent has been used,
- The physiological and psychological effects of each of the following non-lethal chemical agents used by peace officers: OC (oleoresin capsicum), CN (chloroacetophenone), and CS (otho-chlorobenzylidene-molononitrile),
- The proper procedures peace officers should follow when using gas masks, to include: - inspection and proper fit, cleaning and storage,
- Elements of teaching other peace officers how to use chemical agents.
This handbook contains basic information about chemical agents, delivery systems, chemical agent devices, gas masks, decontamination, legal issues, policy and procedures, teaching methodology and hundreds of other pieces of information that cannot all be learned in one forty-hour course. It is intended to be used as a reference book and an instructional guide for officers who are tasked with instructing chemical agents at their respective agencies.
The handbook is divided up into seven chapters that offer information about chemical agents in a progressive, easy-to-follow methodology. We begin in Chapter 1 with an overview of the 40-hour course that you are attending. Much of the opening chapter material is devoted to course instructional details such as the course outline, syllabus, and lesson plan. We also spend quite a bit of time with safety guidelines and the importance of keeping safety at the forefront of your approach to instructing non-lethal chemical agents. Chapter 1 ends with a comprehensive condensed history of chemical agents that you will find informative and interesting.
In Chapter 2, we provide an overview and in-depth look at the primary chemical agents used and encountered in law enforcement and the military. For many years we have based our training on seven primary agents. In 2002, we added a new chemical agent to that primary list. "VP" is essentially a different, more powerful form of extracted OC, and is being marketed in hand-held aerosol and chemical agent impact munitions. For those of you who have never been exposed to VP, it will be an enlightening experience this week.
Chapter 3 builds on the knowledge gained in Chapter 2 and introduces students to the methods of deployment and delivery devices, in other words, what types of chemical agents devices are available, and how do we get the agent on our intended targets. Students will be exposed to chemical agents each day of the course and will have an opportunity during the field exercises to gain hands-on experience with almost every device and delivery method currently available.
Chapter 4 is devoted to gas mask history, use, and practical application for law enforcement purposes. Many agencies in the state are not using OSHA approved gas masks and we go into great detail about the current rules and regulations. We also discuss the various filters available for gas masks in general.
Medical Considerations are discussed in Chapter 5. For many of you it will be your first introduction to toxicity formulas that determine how much chemical agent can be safely used in various deployment scenarios. In-custody deaths attributed to chemical agent use and decontamination issues are also provided in this chapter.
Chapter 6 deals with chemical agent legal issues, laws, regulations and codes. Also discussed is liability issues, moral aspects of chemical agent use, policy and procedure formulation considerations for police agencies, and some historical documents detailing the introduction of OC in California.
Chapter 7 covers techniques of teaching and visual aids and provides some of the materials needed if tasked with developing chemical agents training at your agency. The handbook ends with an appendices section that offers reference material, listings of chemical agent manufacturers, and other need-to-know information as reference material.
Our hope is that this handbook will be useful to you long after you finish reading this manual. The process of upgrading your knowledge about chemical agents truly begins when you apply what you have learned out in the real world where it counts.
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