Montpelier Police to use gel instead of pepper spray

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 11:13 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2022 at 6:16 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Montpelier Police Department is making some changes in an effort to be more empathetic in their policing. Channel 3′s Rachel Mann spoke with the chief and their newly appointed chaplain.

Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete says they are changing out pepper spray for a new spray called Presidia Gel. The impacts of gel go away in minutes and Peete says when they need to use force to detain someone, this should do the job but be less harmful. He says traditional pepper spray can leave someone in pain for up to an hour. Peete hopes all officers will have the gel within the next two months.

“As we’re still trying to move towards empathy, we empower our officers within the department to look for new technologies new innovative ways modern ways of doing things and providing help and safety to anyone that we come across,” Peete said.

This includes taking care of their officer’s well-being. Pete Taraski recently became the department’s first chaplain. He comes with 15 years of experience, spending time with other first responders in Texas and Oregon.

“I’m here for the first responders. It’s not an easy job they have,” Taraski said. “Knowing they deal with some rough things, I’m here to be supportive and help them.”

Taraski will also be there to support families working with the police during trying times.

“The idea of the concept is to provide as many outlets as we can to reach as many people who are going through struggles within their lives,” Peete said.

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