Tased … and confused!

I attended an instructor course put on by TASER® International at the end of 2008. This is part of my commitment to seek out training to stay current in high liability areas for LEOs. As I prepare to recertify, I thought it was appropriate to comment on the TASER® and the training.

First things first. I have been a trainer for about 28 years, and I have been training LEOs for about 20 years. This class was excellent. The materials were professional, master instructor Ron Kelly was excellent and the class was invaluable.

Second, the TASER® device was impressive. I know what you are thinking. “Yes,” I was exposed voluntarily and “No” people were not lining up to deploy the device on a lawyer! The device provided total neuromuscular incapacitation and created a reaction gap to allow law enforcement to effect the arrest.

Now for the confusion. As I went through the class, I thought of several physical confrontations that I experienced as a LEO. Each involved one suspect and several officers who were using appropriate techniques to effect the arrest while using the least amount of force necessary. I could not help thinking how the TASER® would have changed the equation. The suspect and the officers would have suffered fewer injuries and the risk of the officers being disarmed dropped to zero. The suspect is in control of any situation involving active resistance as he can stop fighting at any time. I am baffled that many folks in the media and some members of the public are vehemently anti-TASER®. The research shows the device is safe.

Bottom line: I’m in favor of any technique or device that rapidly ends the active resistance of a suspect and drastically reduces the risk of injury to the suspect and the officer. This is consistent with the constitutional requirement that officers must use the least amount of force necessary to effect an arrest.

A note about my voluntary exposure to the TASER® device. I was unable to move at all during the deployment. After the deployment, I got up and finished my lunch. Although several people have asked me to send them a copy of the video that documents my exposure, I have and continue to decline to send it. I have total faith that my law enforcement brothers and sisters will immediately post the video on the internet. Forgive my modesty, but that is not my idea of marketing!

Stay safe.

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