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SGT Gregory Lawritson
10
10
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As an Officer in the 80s, my Department ONLY employed PR24 Sidehandle baton and lethal sidearms (and shotgun). You used allot of verbal judo and had to be able to sustain yourself in a physical altercation for max of 20 minutes. There was no MMA or Brazilian JuJitsu in those days. We were taught many pain compliance techniques using the PR24 and LEGAL impact areas you could strike when you needed to affect an arrest of a combative subject. In short, you needed to individually be ready to defend yourself using techniques taught and certified by the State of Arizona for law enforcement personnel. I was a fitness fool during my time as an Officer. I had to be. I was only 5’10” 185 and we had 1-man units in our small department, never doubling up on patrol. I defended myself plenty and was very offensive when it came to taking subjects into custody. But I never hurt anyone beyond bumps, bruises, damaged egos.
When I started seeing ‘non and less lethal devices’ being introduced, i was both happy and skeptical because I started seeing individual Officers abusing those devices out of laziness and cowardice. The art of ‘talking’ with citizens for compliance started taking a backseat to employing new devices because they were labeled ‘non or less lethal’. There IS a place for those devices, but as an Officer opting to deploy such as a TASER, you need a thorough 16 hours of initial training then semi-annual recert on the device. I became one of TASER International’s first Civilian Instructors which entailed 24 hours of training, passing an in-depth written exam, and practical demonstrations of various scenarios you might find yourself in using ONLY for self-defense or that of a third party. I then instructed our 30 man Security Department every 6 months in written and practical applications of the X26 TASER each Officer carried in our University Medical Center. I created allot of checks and balances in the department for compliance in testing and maintaining the devices daily. I also created a TASER Deployment Review Panel for scrutiny after each incident of display and/or deployment on a subject that resulted in arrests or neuropsych holds. We were EXTREMELY transparent in all aspects of our TASER usage. We were never sued, never caused injury to the subjects tased, and had full support of ‘C-Suite’ professionals. We were successful because we treated the TASER as if it were a lethal device AND were very judicious in its use. However, I did fire one Officer for threats of TASER usage on a mentally resistant patient who was just not complying with Doctor’s orders. We ONLY drew and deployed in mental crises patients who were unable to feel pain compliance holds AND obtained a weapon during a fight/stand-off. We did not raise drunks, those fleeing, or had physical impairments or illnesses that were obvious. It worked for us as a proprietary Security Department because we respected and knew the capabilities/constraints of the deployments.
IMHO, having lived it, Police Officers can become abusers of such devices and reports can be embellished to reflect the need to have used it. It’s easier, it hurts the belligerent offender, and ‘teaches a lesson’ to those a$$holes who run their mouths and are non-compliant upon contact. Very rare in my experiences do Police know how to diffuse or de-escalate emotional subjects using mere conversation. Especially mental cases.
I applaud this attempt by Chicago to ratchet down TASER deployments and to put more finite constraints in General Orders and/or TASER training classes. It’s not a toy ... and has contributed to killing individuals. I think this is a good move. IMHO
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MSgt Christopher Maddaloni
MSgt Christopher Maddaloni
2 y
Cpl Mark McMiller Training is developed through having certified instructors attend manufacture training, and it is then up to each Agency or Department to develop policies and officer training. Case studies are used and also gets the blessing of each agencies legal department or section. Any deaths associated with Tasers have been concluded to drug intoxication and a condition known as "excited delirium". If the officer has deemed the usage of intermediate weapons is necessary, excited delirium may cause health concerns no matter if pepper spray, Asp baton, or taser is deployed. Truth be told, some jurisdictions in the US have deemed the Taser to be deadly force. So where does that leave the officer. If deadly force is reasonable and justifiable, officer will 9 out of 10 times will use his firearm. Now every example you can what if and Monday morning quarterback, but if an individual has put himself in a situation where police have to get involved, and high as a kite, and starts to resist arrest or fight or try to batter or kill an officer, there are consequences to your own actions. Police can not fix in one minute what you have spent a lifetime or a real bad night screwing up. 99% of the time the officer is dispatched to the individual that no one wants to deal with. Just my opinion.
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SGT Gregory Lawritson
SGT Gregory Lawritson
2 y
Continuum of Force should be clear in policy. It will be the Officer who explains why they went from verbal to lethal when it occurs over the departmental policy to use other intermediate steps.
I wholeheartedly agree about ‘excited delirium’ but also add to that ‘positional asphyxia’ when a subject is tased then 4-5 Officers kneel on neck (or carotid restrict) and shoulders compressing the lungs to the point of creating serious health situation in ill, obese, and overly drug toxicated subjects. Officers cannot know a subject’s health issues as they come at you with a weapon, so departmental policy on use of lethal force will be the saving grace. TASER used ‘non-lethal’ in early training and descriptions of products, but changed to ‘less than lethal’ after studies and law suits were adjudicated that TASER deployments contributed to death of subjects tased. In the beginning when the old M26 unit’s came out, training required every Officer who was to carry the device was to ‘ride the lightning’ for a 5 second duration. Later, when TASER International had been sued over the lethality against certain individuals, the terminology was changed to ‘less than lethal, and training for Instructors gave the option of either experiencing the 5-second ride or not.
I learned over the years that the TASER used in the right situation is a great tool, but when used for passive aggressives and argumentative types as punishment, you are outside the continuum of force IMHO. I used a sidehandle for extracting people out of vehicles as well as arrest and control way before TASER ... and of course for impact weapons in approved striking zones. I’d love to see the PR24 replace the TASER, ... but then again, I’m old school.
All the above IMHO
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Cpl Mark McMiller
Cpl Mark McMiller
2 y
MSgt Christopher Maddaloni - Not all deaths from taser have been attributed to drug intoxication and/or excited delirium. There have been cases where medical examiners could find no explanation other than the taser killed the decedent. And those cases are what concern me...that and some police officers getting a little overzealous with their use of tasers.
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SMSgt Operations Superintendent
SMSgt (Join to see)
2 y
Many police departments (at least in Calif) require all officers to be tased for 5 seconds. While it’s uncomfortable, once the juice is turned off you feel fine. Of the 1000’s of officers who get tased every year in training, I have never heard of a police officer getting injured from the Taser. However, I will say that I have heard of folks getting contact burns from improper tasing training. ie - having clips attached to your body and then being zapped instead of the traditional having barbs shot into your body. I never understood folks who do that, train with it like you use it.

As Sgt Lawritson has mentioned, training (or lack there of) is the biggest flaw that I have seen in its use. Officers and departments fail to understand its limitations.

As far as the Taser being a lethal weapon, I don’t think it is. Some wacky courts have made some crazy decisions about it though. In California there was one court that ruled that using K-9’s was deadly force.

Taser’s still beat (no pun intended) the alternative, which is beating someone into submission.
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MSgt Robert "Rock" Aldi
7
7
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I have a hard time "getting" this.
1. This is the City of Chicago; high population and crime rate
2. 745 stun guns to 4,000 in 2 years had to be for good reason
3.Not a cop here but I thought nightsticks, tasers, and pepper spray are/were the least non-lethal?
I really hope this policy isn't another way of ham stringing the cop on the street.
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1SG 1st Sergeant
5
5
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The rules have not changed for the use of the ASP baton. Make it you less lethal weapon of choice and people will be begging to bring back the taser. They will then place it in your use of force continuum after verbal commands. Its rightful place.
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MSgt Christopher Maddaloni
MSgt Christopher Maddaloni
2 y
1SG (Join to see) You are 100% correct, Legal staff of most Law Enforcement agencies are recommending just that. Effectiveness of Taser has many forgetting about this tool on their belts. ASP baton or when I started, MP club, have tried and true policy on the books. We shall see.
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1SG 1st Sergeant
1SG (Join to see)
2 y
A little stick time goes a long way
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