Promoters of a new security device say it could be saving lives on the ground and making planes safer in the skies without the risk of using real bullets.
Larry Wieber of Deterrent Specialties, LLC is the U.S. and Canadian distributor of the Pro V2, made by Guardian 8 of Spokane.
The device begins recording video and audio of a situation the second it’s removed from the holster. That video and audio can then be used in court. 911 and backup can also be called. Strobe lights and noise can also disrupt an attack says Weiber.
Ultimately the security or police officer can pull the trigger directing liquid or gel pepper spray into the face of a person who is being violent. The idea is that the ProV2 has a psychological deterrent effect.
Wieber says company studies of the device show it can deter a situation before it reaches that point.
“Let’s slow down here, let’s stop,” Wieber describes how a typical incident might go. “Let’s talk this over, but if we have to go to court I want you to know that I am recording you and I’ll take this to court.
The mostly white plastic device with a round screen in the front looks like it should be in a science fiction movie, but already nearly 3,000 are in the hands of security officers at Hospitals, schools, gated communities and country clubs so far says Guardian 8.
The company says it designed the ProV2 as an alternative to electric tasers, which send a shock into a subject. And in some cases, tasers have been tied to fatalities.
“The whole thing is to de-escalate this thing, document it,” says Wieber. That can lower exposure to lawsuits or he-said-he said situations that lack video and audio evidence.
Already in two recent incidents, Wieber believes the device could have helped.
One was aboard that Delta Air Lines flight between Seattle and Beijing where a man faces federal charges after being accused of trying to open the airplanes forward door in flight and was stopped by flight attendants and passengers. They had to resort to using wine bottles to stop the man.
In the case of Charlena Lyles, who was shot by Seattle police officers in a confrontation inside her department, the company thinks the ProV2 could have led to a non-lethal outcome and provided better documentation than the one security camera inside the hall of the apartment building where Lyles lived.
Jim Fuda, a retired King County Deputy and law enforcement and security consultant who works world wide, checked it on the website. He has one concern.
“Cops have shot people holding a cell phone,” says Fuda, concerned that anything that rides in a holster and is held with a handgrip like a gun could result in a case of mistaken identity. “Now you’ve taken pepper spray to a gunfight.”
For that matter, most tasers resemble guns.
"It looks like a toy and was designed that way,” says Paul Sanchez, a retired Albuquerque, New Mexico sheriff’s deputy and U.S. Border Patrol agent who is working with Wieber. He said the ProV2’s design should prevent that. “If a police officers showed up at my place and saw this, he wouldn’t think it was a gun.”