Local police preparing for RNC with pepper spray

Local police preparing for RNC with pepper spray

CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The Republican National Convention is less than two months away now and Northeast Ohio police are getting ready.

Want to protest during the RNC?  That's your right under the constitution. But if you want to act out in an unlawful fashion, don't even think about it or you may get pepper sprayed.

Brave volunteers took a face full of pepper spray today. It took only a few seconds for them to feel the burn, so to speak. Eric Shane knows better than most. He was hit with a steady stream of pepper spray earlier today to help demonstrate the pepper's power.

"I was feeling heat on my face and the burn," Shane said. "Then finally my eyes closed and the inside of my eyes were burning.  It definitely takes the fight out of you.  It was in my lungs a little bit."

Shane, a former police officer who now teaches potential officers at Kent State, took a direct blast.  It took a while for the effects of the pepper spray to wear off and for him to be able to talk normally.

So, would he recommend acting up and getting hot with this stuff?

"No," Shane said. "If people misbehave, it's a great tool for the officer on the street to be able to use to keep from having to escalate, keep them safe and at the end, let them go home."

With an estimated 50,000 visitors just from the Republican National Convention coming to Cleveland in July and thousands of protesters, things could get out of hand. That's why officers from 13 local departments are taking this training.

"We're doing a one-day OC training course where we're training these officers and trainers on the use of pepper spray," Doug Melzig of Mace Security International said. "Kind of take them through how do you use the product all the way through the decontamination product."

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