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Tasers explained during Police Week

May 21, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Sergeant David Kerr and Constable Paul Neumann of the Shelburne Police Department held a community information presentation on tasers on May 14th at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex during Police Week. This year’s theme, Building Community Partnerships, included and highlighted important work in the community with a focus on police professionalism, accountability and community engagement through social media.

Since 2001 when the Toronto Police began using tasers, tasers have become a very useful tool in self defence from a policeman’s perspective and a controversial social concern with regards to life threatening situations surrounding suspects, people who get ‘tased’.

Sold by Taser International, this electroshock weapon uses electrical current to disrupt muscle control resulting in neuromuscular incapacitation. There are two ways to deploy a taser, that of Incapacitation and Pain Compliance. When tasers are in Drive Stun mode, simply touching the target with the taser, will subdue but not incapacitate the target inflicting intense pain and this process it known as pain compliance. The use of the air cartridges which can range up to 35ft, deploy wires with sharp painful probes, incapacitate. Later probes can be removed from the skin either by police, Emergency services, and in some cases a hospital visit is required. Worth noting, cartridges cost approximately $35, a small price to pay in order to save lives.

Kerr pointed out, “When someone is tased, they experience severe muscle contractions. You will notice watching some videos where someone is tased, they fall to ground, but cannot release their weapon, be it a gun or a knife. They clench it tightly because the electricity stimulates muscle contractions. From a policeman’s perspective, it’s far safer for the policeman and the suspect to utilize tasers than to risk hand to hand contact with someone holding a knife.”

Kerr explained tasers are considered an intermediate weapon, an alternative to using a pistol noting only three Shelburne Officers have tasers. Dispelling myths surrounding tasers while taking questions from the audience, Kerr also explained that in the few cases where someone had died following being tased, there were always pre-existing health conditions or extenuating circumstances involved.

“Tasers have just .0036 amperage, more harmful, a wall unit has 16 amps and a Christmas tree bulb has 1amp. It’s not necessarily the volts that are important to note, it’s the amps that can kill. The media has really stressed the voltage factor involved, simply sensationalizing the topic. We’ve only used tasers twice in the last six years,” Kerr commented.

Every policeman must take part in an 8 hour training session before being certified to use a taser gun, and five years following, must engage in a 3 hour update session. Winding up the presentation which included video and slides, Kerr mentioned, “After this information session the Police Department will be approaching the board for every officer to carry a taser.”

The bottom line which must be up front and centre in the issues surrounding taser weapons and their use by police is to carry the message provided by the Shelburne Police Department, tasers save lives.

For more information contact Constable Paul Neumann at the Shelburne Police Department at 519 925-3312 or visit www.shelburnepolice.com

By Alex Sher

Shelburne Police Services Board Member, Len Mikulich showed his support of the Shelburne Police Department attending the Information Session on tasers during Police week commenting, “I’m delighted to see the level of professionalism our police force has.”

Shelburne Police Services Board Member, Len Mikulich showed his support of the Shelburne Police Department attending the Information Session on tasers during Police week commenting, “I’m delighted to see the level of professionalism our police force has.”

         

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