A Law & Public Safety student delivers a baton strike to a pad during a training exercise.

On a chilly fall day last week, 15 cadets in Rex Cockrell’s Law & Public Safety program lined up to take part in a chemical Macing training exercise.

One by one, each junior was sprayed and then completed a circuit that mimicked techniques a law-enforcement officer would employ to subdue a suspect: baton strikes, kicks, handcuffing and then calling for assistance.

The exercise serves multiple purposes, Cockrell said.

“If as a future law-enforcement officer (a suspect) uses their mace on them, they will know they have the resiliency to make it through that fight. They know that they’re not going to die, they can suffer through it and fight through it,” he said.

The circuit they complete also gives the students tasks to focus on instead of thinking about the discomfort of the chemical spray.

“They have an objective they have to fulfill so they have to think,” Cockrell said. “And to do it in a disoriented state helps develop that resiliency.”

Cockrell’s seniors work the stations and encourage their peers. Students in Adrienne Davis and Jennifer Payne’s Health Science programs assist the juniors through the circuit and run the decontamination station after the cadet has “radioed” for backup.

Cockrell said the exercise is conducted safely and scheduled to allow for recovery time. 

In addition to the experience, chemical Macing is an industry credential, giving his cadets one of 12 required industry credential points.