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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

1040.00 Aerosol Restraints



  • ORS 161.205 – 161.265  Use of Physical Force
  • DIR 1010.20  Physical Force
  • DIR 1090.00  Special Weapons


POLICY (1040.00)

The use of pepper spray provides members with an alternative method of attempting to deal with resistive and combative subjects while reducing the chances of physical injury to involved individuals. All officers and sergeants will receive training in the use of pepper spray. Once trained, they will carry pepper spray while on duty. Exceptions to this provision may be granted by a unit or division manager due to tactical or covert considerations. Other units or divisions will be issued pepper spray at the discretion of their manager. The use of aerosol restraints is governed by the Bureau’s use of physical force policy and procedure (refer to DIR 1010.20 Physical Force).

PROCEDURE (1040.00)

Directive Specific Definitions

Passive resistance: Actions that do not prevent or attempt to prevent the members attempt to control a subject. Examples include when the subject merely goes limp and/or fails to comply with verbal commands with no other overt signs of physical resistance.

Pepper spray: A hand-held aerosol spray containing organic capsaicin oils derived from pepper plants, which affects individuals for several minutes, often incapacitating them. Most effects dissipate within 30-40 minutes.

Use of Pepper Spray

a.  Pepper spray may be used, at the member’s discretion, when persons engage in physical resistance or indicate the intent to engage in physical resistance, (not to include passive resistance), pursuant to the procedures in DIR 1010.20 Physical Force.

b.  Pepper spray may be used on vicious or aggressive animals when the presence of those animals interferes with the safety of the officers or the successful completion of a police function.

c.  Pepper spray is the standard item of equipment for sworn members.

d.  Only Bureau-issued pepper spray may be carried or used.

e.  To reduce the potential for splash back, pepper spray will only be used from distances greater than four (4) feet unless it appears to be reasonably necessary to protect the member or another person from imminent physical injury.

f.   The use of organic or chemical agents is discussed in DIR 1090.00 Special Weapons.

g.  Pepper spray may be used in passive resistance situations only when authorized by an incident commander as part of a crowd control strategy.

Actions Following The Use of Pepper Spray (1040.00)

a.  Persons exposed to pepper spray should be exposed to fresh air as soon as possible.

b.  Members will make a reasonable effort to ensure that persons exposed to pepper spray are permitted to water flush or receive a water flushing of exposed areas, if necessary and tactically feasible.

c.  For individuals taken into custody who have been exposed to pepper spray, members will ensure that they are examined periodically while in the member’s presence or custody for evidence that the effect of the exposure appears to have been neutralized. When a subject is booked into MCDC, the member will advise the on-duty personnel that pepper spray has been used.

d.  Afflicted persons who, in the member’s opinion, are suffering from the effects that appear to be abnormal for the circumstances should be examined by medical personnel.

Notification and Reporting (1040.00)

a.  Any member who uses pepper spray on a person will verbally notify an on-duty supervisor as soon as practicable.

b.  Prior to completing the tour of duty, the member will submit a written report, as required in DIR 1010.20, specifying the circumstances in which pepper spray was used and what effects the use had on the recipient.