Washington Police Chief, NAACP Leader Share Taser Experience
Associated Press Writer
SEATTLE (AP) -- Local NAACP leader Carl Mack had one word of advice after police staged a demonstration so he could find out what a 50,000-volt jolt from a Taser feels like: ``Comply.''
Actually, he had two words, but the first isn't printable.
Mack and fellow volunteer Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske were held up by two officers each Friday and hit with two-second Taser bursts, administered through alligator clips attached to their shirts.
Mack stiffened and cursed. Kerlikowske groaned and slumped. Then -- as had been predicted -- they shook off the effects and spoke with reporters.
``As soon as it's over, it's over,'' Officer Tom Burns, a Taser trainer, had explained.
``It's very painful,'' Kerlikowske said. ``You can't move, you couldn't blink if you wanted to. ... There are shock waves going through your body. It's a scary feeling.''
Mack said he felt a burning sensation where the electricity entered his body. The pulsing ``affected every muscle in my body. It takes everything away from you.''
``I've never felt anything like that in my life,'' he said. ``You can't control anything.''
Mack had asked for the zapping, saying it would help him better understand the weapon and deal with complaints about alleged Taser abuse.
It also increased his respect for Kerlikowske, he said. ``The chief said, 'Well, I've never been tased as well, so if you'll do it, I'll do it.''
Mack said he was grateful that while he had initially wanted a full 5-second burst, ``the chief talked me into two.''
The Tasers contain computer chips that log each use -- date, time, frequency -- to provide what Officer Chris Myers called ``an impartial witness,'' so allegations of abusive multiple use can be easily checked.
Any weapon can be abused ``in a sick kind of way,'' Mack said. But if the weapon's computerized log refutes a complainant's account, ``his credibility is gone.''
All Taser use is reviewed, said Myers, also a Taser trainer. The department has 220 Tasers and they're used an average of about 13 times a month.
The weapon became part of the agency's non-lethal arsenal after an officer killed an armed and mentally ill black man, David Walker, in April 2000. Walker's death and those of several other black men killed by officers have raised concerns about racism and racial profiling.
``I think some of those lives could have been saved with this technology,'' Mack said.
He said he would not call himself a fan of the Taser, ``But if it comes to tasering versus death, I would take the option of tasering.''
Mack and Kerlikowske experienced ``contact'' Taser use. In the field, an officer can press the open end of the device against an offender and pull the trigger to launch a 5-second Taser burst of 50,000 volts.
All officers trained in Taser use are zapped with it to learn how it feels.
The devices also can be fitted with a cartridge to fire a pair of nitrogen-propelled darts that trail 21-foot copper wires. Both must strike the target to complete an electrical circuit.
Used that way, ``it's a single-shot weapon'' with no second chance if an officer misses, Myers said.
Mack said he could appreciate that an officer facing an erratic armed offender in heavy clothing may rely on his handgun instead _ or that a handcuffed defendant in a patrol car may warrant a reminder from the Taser if he is kicking out the car windows.
And that's why the issueance of Tasers will get more officers killed. Bet me.
Not true, entirely.
You can attach another cartridge, or remove the cartridge and use the end as a stun gun
that, and there are some people that will still be able to hurt you even after they've been shot with the TASER. They shouldn't use a non-lethal device that is any less effective than their current handguns.
Also, TASERs aren't very intimidating. Guns on the other hand are.
Not the newest pulsed technology.
I watched it drop probably a dozen marines where they stood. It shuts down your muscles. Big, small, tough or mean, they all went down. No choice in the matter with the new technology
However, after you stop juicing the person, they recover very quickly. Luckily you can just keep zapping them.
All law-makers should volunteer for this.
And I volunteer to shoot them with the Tasers.
That's just the kind of guy that I am....
Tasers, while employed, shut the body down. The problem is that after the juice is over, the person is back to normal almost instantly. But after a ride like that, most folks are willing to cooperate like little lambs...
Still, caution is required....
There isn't a tool availble that is guarnted to stop each and every subject. The key to the Taser is to achieve an ideal spread between the probes when fired. If you are reduced to using a drive stun; in my experience, yuo better have some other options up your sleeve.
When it comes to intimidation; I think the Taser often beat the firearm. Subjects realize that it takes a lot for an officer to justify shooting them. In turn they realize that it takes less to recieve a hit from the Taser.
One thing officers and administrators have to realize is that the Taser is but one tool in the UoF toolbox each officer carries. It is a good tool, however it shouldn't become a crutch for officers.