SANFORD, Fla. - The latest weapon carried by Sanford police officers doesn't fire bullets and wouldn't do much damage if they hit you with it.
But the device they now carry in their shirt pocket sprays a mist that might protect the officers in the event they are exposed to harmful bacteria or viral germs.
The agency spent a little more than $2,400 to equip all of its police and community-service officers with MyClyns First Response Personal Protection devices after Chief Brian Tooley learned about them at a Florida police-chiefs conference.
"Chief Tooley wanted to have this level of protection available to his officers who risk harmful exposure daily," Lt. Mike Horan said.
The devices, which are slightly larger than a marker pen, spray a mist that protects against pathogens the officers might come in contact, from being exposed to blood from an injured person to being spit in the face by a prisoner, according to the company's Web site.
It can be sprayed directly to the area of contact, including into the eyes, mouth, nose and ears.
The company says the fast-acting solution is affective against many types of exposures, including MRSA, bacterial meningitis, HIV 1, Hepatitis C, and both the human and swine flu.
Horan said his agency is the first in Central Florida to purchase the devices. The agency has 140 sworn officers and six community service officers, he said.
"During the last few months, several officers have been exposed to various contagions," Horan said. The increased concern about swine flu and other "bugs" officers are exposed to "made the purchase a high priority," he said.
Department policy still calls for officers to seek treatment if they are exposed to something potentially harmful, but the spray allows the officers to immediately take action to mitigate the potential hazard, Horan said.
Information contributed by: Gary Taylor