Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the country.
An inevitable by-product of that rapid growth is crime. To borrow a line from the old Dragnet television series, I work here. I carry a badge.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) houses around 10,000 inmates in six different facilities: Durango, Estrella, Towers, Lower Buckeye, Fourth Avenue and the world-famous (or infamous) Tent City.
As inmate populations have grown, the inmate-to-officer ratio has also increased. In a dorm environment, MCSO can have up to 130 inmates to one officer. (However, the average housing units only have from 30 to 72 inmates per pod.)
Initially, officers at the Maricopa County facilities were “armed” with aerosol canisters of oleoresin capsicum (OC), commonly called pepper spray, and later Tasers. Recently, a new tool to help protect officers and maintain security has been adopted by MCSO. It is the Kimber JPX Jet Protector.
JPX JET PROTECTOR
The JPX is shaped like a double-barreled pistol, is made from polymer, and is available in orange or black. MCSO chose orange so officers in the facilities or in the field could readily tell the difference between the two and not mistake the JPX for a firearm. Operation is double-action only.
The JPX Jet Protector has two rounds available to the operator, which means quicker follow-up time for an additional shot if multiple suspects are involved, unlike the Taser, which contains only one shot at a time. The JPX Jet Protector is 100% ambidextrous. The frame is lightweight and very durable.
On the bottom of the JPX’s grip is a button-type screw, which covers the battery compartment on the laser-equipped model. The laser sight is in the front of the frame. The ambidextrous switches for the laser are on the left and right sides of the frame and below the trigger on the trigger guard.
There are ambidextrous magazine releases on both sides of the frame above the trigger guard. To release the magazine, all the user has to do is use his thumb to slide the release down. I would like to see a lip added, similar to the 1911 safety, because it may enhance the release function, however, it is not hard to master as issued. A milspec Picatinny rail is located on the bottom of the frame, where a camera or light can be mounted.
As mentioned, the JPX Jet Protector has a double-action trigger. After a round has been fired, the trigger is reset and ready for the next round if needed.
The magazine is a separate part of the JPX and has its own set of sights. Laser users know that in bright daylight, the laser is all but invisible, so the sights are very important on this tool as well. There is a color-coded cap at the end of the nozzle to easily tell if you’re using a training round or an OC round.
JPX GOES TO JAIL
In August 2007, MCSO began studying use of the JPX in the jail setting. A small group of officers were hand selected and put through the approved training to start using the JPX in jails. The results of the study were concluded in June 2009.
Benefits began to show immediately, each and every time the JPX was deployed. When pepper spray was used, not only was the aggressive inmate affected, but also the entire housing unit, other responding officers and any medical staff who had responded. This is not the case with the JPX.
There is a small amount of pepper smell shortly after the device is deployed. The OC incapacitates the person who comes into contact with the OC solution. However, it does not render the person who fired the JPX ineffective. The OC comes out at 396 feet-persecond (fps) with a maximum range of 21 feet.
The minimum safe distance that the JPX Jet Protector can be deployed is five feet from the nozzle to the suspect, and the JPX can cause injury if used at less than this distance, due to the speed of the projectile. After the JPX Jet Protector has been deployed, the suspect is totally incapacitated within seconds. Tests included officers volunteering to have the device employed against them to evaluate the device’s effectiveness while attempting to fight off the effects of the OC.
Finally, after completion of the comprehensive study/evaluation period, MCSO made the decision to allow officers and deputies alike to purchase their own JPX if they wanted one. A four-hour training class was scheduled, and officers were trained in the use of the JPX and how it can be used as an effective tool, discussing both the pros and cons of the device. Trainers stressed that the JPX Jet Protector is not a replacement for the Taser or any of the other less-lethal options that we have available. It is just another tool that can help us perform our duties safely.
Just over a week after the officers had completed the class and received their JPXs, a radio call went out of an inmate refusing to lock down (go to his cell). This inmate had a broomstick and was threatening to strike any officer who came within his range. As a result of the inmate’s actions and his refusal to go peacefully to his cell, the JPX Jet Protector was deployed to prevent the inmate from harming himself or officers.
The JPX performed exactly as it should have. The inmate was incapacitated and officers moved in to gain control of him. After the standard decontamination procedure, the inmate was placed in a cell without further incident, and all the officers went home safely.
After seeing the JPX in action and also using it myself, I believe it will be catching on with more police departments and sheriff’s offices around the country. As far as a patrol officer using this, I think it would be a great addition to, and quite possibly more effective than, the OC aerosol cans worn on their duty belts.
The Kimber JPX Jet Protector is one of many tools in an officer’s tactical toolbox. Based on my personal observations, I believe it has much potential.
Kimber Mfg., Inc.
One Lawton Street
Yonkers, NY 10705