Hepner accepts Pepper Spray Challenge

Posted on 08 October 2014 by admin

Criminal Justice professor Michael Hepner has students bring in cans of food, gets pepper sprayed for Hunger Awareness Month


Meramec criminology student Kaylee Matthews sprays Professor Michael Hepner with pepper spray Oct. 3.  PHOTO | SABREE BLACKMON

Meramec criminology student Kaylee Matthews sprays Professor Michael Hepner with pepper spray Oct. 3. PHOTO | SABREE BLACKMON

Editor in Chief

STLCC-Meramec criminal justice professor Michael Hepner accepted the pepper spray challenge from his students on Friday, Oct. 3. The catch was the students had to bring in cans of food for Hunger Speaks, a Meramec Hunger Awareness charity.

Meramec’s 2014 Hunger Awareness Food Drive runs from Oct. 1-Nov. 7. It benefits Operation Food Search, Circle of Concern and the Brown Bag Café Campus Food Pantry. Students and faculty can look for the blue barrels to put food items in.

The food drive coincided with Hepner’s Police Supervision class learning about the use of force. It was the student’s idea — whoever brought in the most items would be able to pepper spray their instructor.

Kaylee Matthews brought in 65 food items of the 306 Hepner’s class donated.

“It’s the first time I’ve every pepper sprayed someone. It was fun. I was determined,” Matthews said. “I feel kind of bad. I feel like I hurt him. I still would’ve brought in cans, even if I didn’t get to [spray my teacher]. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent two hours shopping, but I still would’ve bought cans.”

Hepner, who has served on a board for a homeless shelter, said he could sympathize with those in need.

“Getting food was a terrible process. Day to day, the people didn’t know where they were going to get food. Day to day, we didn’t know where we were going to get food,” Hepner said. “Little Caesars would bring in 50 pizzas that expired on their corporate timeline, but from our stand point [we’d still eat it]. St. Louis Bread Company donated a lot. They would drop off all of their day-old stuff.”

Although the day was windy, Hepner’s class still took the opportunity to learn about the use of pepper spray while doing something charitable for others.

“Last week we did use of force and started all the way from the bottom—of just being present to verbal commands, to soft empty hand tactics to all the way up to deadly force—using your pistol,” Hepner said. “I’m glad they got to see the dynamics of how [pepper spray] is used, especially on a windy day. In the field, you don’t get to wait until the wind dies down.”


  • not a criminal

    what a awesome prof and idea i would have brung 100 cans 2 spray that guy.

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