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  1. #1
    McCrackhd's Avatar
    McCrackhd is offline Master Officer
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    Tasers vs. hands on

    When I first started with MPD in '01 only a few people per squad had been issued Tasers. You had to actually use "hands on" techniques with disorderly and combative subjects. Around '03 (after several officer involved shootings in city and county jd in a couple of weeks) MPD issued Tasers to all officers. The reason for this was a knee jerk reaction to people screaming "If the officers would have had Tasers then they would not have had to shoot so and so". In a few of the cases this may have been true, but not all. Several of us felt that someone should have publicly stated that if you don't try to shoot or stab an officer, then you won't get shot. That being said, the Taser is a great tool for law enforcement. But I did notice a trend within a couple of years of this new policy. Newer officers tended to rely too heavily on their Tasers and seemed to be lost if the Taser malfunctioned, the spread wasn't good enough, or whatever other reason it is ineffective. Luckily, as far as I know, noone ever really got hurt. But I think it highlights a shift in thinking by departments away from hands on use of force to "use your Taser no matter what".

    Just wondering if anyone else noticed the same thing, and would like to get some thoughts.
    And no, I'm not claiming to be a bad ass. I by no means am, but I also have no qualms about popping someone in the mouth, either. Just some thoughts that have been rattelling around in my head.

  2. #2
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    We do not have Tasers and will not have them. Image thing? I don't know. Whatever. Anyway, I'm not sure about consistant incidents of heavy reliance on the Taser but yes, I also have seen it. I've observed vidoes of it. That being said and since we have to do without them I am as about as comfortable with it as I can be.
    Our intermediate weapons are chemical agent and a baton if you carry one. We have to rely heavily on fighting. Not good for me since I'm not the best at it. At this time I can take the Taser or not. If I did have the opportunity to take one I would. As much as we tough talk, as cops, the idea of taking someone's life is not the movie image some think. Not that I couldn't or wouldn't, but taking someone's life is about as heavy a burden I can currently think of. If I had to guess, and I am, it seems to me that once a Taser is in hand some people may desire to rely on it so much as it is an avenue to possibly not take someone's life.
    Although I have had numerous suspects in my sights, I've never had to do it myself. I personally know people, before and after, who have. They have changed. We do not give life nor should we be forced to take it away. However, we are sometimes put in the position to do so. Note, I said put. I always pray I never have to, but when the time comes, I want to know that what I value, family, public safety, life in general , will allow me to take the necessary action. I do not want those values to suffer so that I use a tool that did not fit the circumstance.
    The aforementioned is my own personal path and does not intentionally reflect the path of anyone else.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  3. #3
    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Yeah, I've noticed a lot of people who have become overdependent on the taser. Sometimes intentionally so: I used to work in a small town, and when we were first issued tasers the senior guy on the department started talking about how he would never do another arm-bar takedown. He was too impressed with the new toy.

    I've got a taser, but I keep it in the car. It's a good tool for the right circumstances, but I don't need it.

  4. #4
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    I've seen it happen, too... A cop needs confidence in their ability to fight. You get some of these smaller cops (especially but not solely!) who have literally never been in a fight in their life or even played real contact sports, and they go for the Taser too quick. The only fix is in training: encourage and provide them a chance to develop confidence in their ability to fight, and to get hit and not be stopped, even if hurt.

    Fat chance of most agencies doing much... Simple question: when was the last time you had a MEANINGFUL DT refresher? Not a "this is the force policy" lecture. Not a "don't spray OC directly into the eyes" refresher... but a "you're gonna get hit if you don't move or stop the punch" DT refresher?
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

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    -- Col. David Grossman, US Army, ret.

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  5. #5
    Captain America's Avatar
    Captain America is offline Reed and Malloy were my FTOs
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    I don't need no stinking taser.....
    SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM

    "It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
    -Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"

    Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
    -General Omar Bradley, United States Army

    Renniger-Richards-Griswold-Owens

  6. #6
    pac201's Avatar
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    Everyone has a game plan, until they get hit...Mike Tyson. He's right. I do like the Taser for what it is, it's a tool to be utilized in the proper circumstances. I know officers that have come to rely on it when they shouldn't. I have a philosophy when it comes to what works, there are no absolutes.
    Job security...

    Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

  7. #7
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Geez.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  8. #8
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    slick628 is offline Rollin' Deep
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    We are issued tasers to carry. I'm not a big fan of it only because I've seen more than my fair share fail on us for varying reasons. We still bring it to us to most of our calls instead of leaving it in the car so if all goes south, we don't get dinged on the whole "you could have used it if you had it rather than leaving it in your car."
    "That's how we roll"

  9. #9
    Reca's Avatar
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    We were issued tasers a few years ago. I will tell you that I was very excited when we got them. From what I read and the videos I saw on online I was excited. Since we have had tasers I have only used mine three times. It is not a tool used in every situation. Sometimes it is much easier to go hands on and put someone on the ground and cuff them. I can tell you that at least one of the times I used the taser probably saved me from using deadly force. I got into a foot chase with a guy who kept trying to pull something from his pocket as he ran. When I got close to him I hit him with the taser. once we got him down I found that he was trying to pull a 38 cal revolver from his pants. I have been pleased with the three deployments I have had but in no way do I feel that it is a replacement for hands on police work. Like everything on my belt there is a time and place for it.
    Check your feelings at the door!

    The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Reca" on Officerresource.com

  10. #10
    Reca's Avatar
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    I will say this. Simply having the taser has stopped me from having an altercation. I have pulled it out several times and it has gotten an immediate response from the suspect where they wanted no part of being shot with it. On several occasions without the taser I am sure I would of had to physically take them down. Again a good tool when used at the right time!
    Check your feelings at the door!

    The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Reca" on Officerresource.com

  11. #11
    mavriktu's Avatar
    mavriktu is offline Patrol Sgt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reca View Post
    I will say this. Simply having the taser has stopped me from having an altercation. I have pulled it out several times and it has gotten an immediate response from the suspect where they wanted no part of being shot with it. On several occasions without the taser I am sure I would of had to physically take them down. Again a good tool when used at the right time!
    ^^ This,I have had them fail,(OH BOY,HAVE I) so do not rely on itHowever I will say this,when we first got them we needed them about once a month per shift.Once word got out,now all you need do is put your hand on it,or in a crowd situaton sorta let the laser travel around their feet and watch them disperse.

  12. #12
    ChesCopPodz's Avatar
    ChesCopPodz is offline Wandering son
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    I went 5 years at my old department without them, and now 2 at this department with them. If I had to guess, I've been in about a dozen or so times when I could have used it on someone. However, since I went so long without one, my first instinct was hands on. I've only tased one person. And even that was after going hands on. So literally every time I've been justified to tase someone, I've gone hands on instinctively because that's what I did for 5 years. It's only afterwards when I realize I could have tased him and been done with it.
    The world would be much cleaner if blind people carried brooms instead of sticks.

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    An amateur practices until he gets it right. A professional practices until he cant get it wrong.

    They've got us surrounded? Good. Now we can fire in any direction. Those bastards won't get away this time.

  13. #13
    McCrackhd's Avatar
    McCrackhd is offline Master Officer
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    Last time the dept gave us DT: the police academy in Oct of 2001. I personally watch videos on Policeone.com for some tips and discuss techniques with other officers. But we NEVER do any real hands on training in our dept unless you're on the Tac Team.

  14. #14
    McCrackhd's Avatar
    McCrackhd is offline Master Officer
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    To add to my post, there are definately times when discretion is the better part of valor. Many years ago, my trainee and I were on a domestic. It had turned into a giant Charlie Foxtrot. We had additional units enroute, but things continued to go south. I (all 5-10 165lbs. of me) attempted to lead a subject ( about 6-2 260+) out of the apartment with a wristlock. I quickly realized that this was a bad idea and we began fighting. Long story short, the su and I began trading punches while my trainee was on the guys back. We eventually fell through a glass table before my trainee was able to Tase said asshole and end the fight. Afterwards I realized I should have just used my Taser to gain compliance to begin with. Live and learn.

  15. #15
    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Quote Originally Posted by slick628 View Post
    We are issued tasers to carry. I'm not a big fan of it only because I've seen more than my fair share fail on us for varying reasons. We still bring it to us to most of our calls instead of leaving it in the car so if all goes south, we don't get dinged on the whole "you could have used it if you had it rather than leaving it in your car."
    I could see getting dinged on that if you didn't bring any less-lethal force options at all, but if we apply this logic to individual force options then where would you draw the line? Well, we could have used the less-lethal shotgun, but we didn't have it. We could have used the pepper ball, but we didn't have it. We could have used a shield, a mirror, a flashbang, tear gas, nunchaku, or a magic wand. I carry the tools that I think I will use. There are more in the car, but I couldn't walk if I thought I had to carry them all.

    Don't get me wrong: if the taser is one of those tools for you then I wouldn't dare suggest you stop carrying it. We each do things a little differently. For me, the taser isn't worth the added bulk.

  16. #16
    slick628's Avatar
    slick628 is offline Rollin' Deep
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    Quote Originally Posted by berserk View Post
    I could see getting dinged on that if you didn't bring any less-lethal force options at all, but if we apply this logic to individual force options then where would you draw the line? Well, we could have used the less-lethal shotgun, but we didn't have it. We could have used the pepper ball, but we didn't have it. We could have used a shield, a mirror, a flashbang, tear gas, nunchaku, or a magic wand. I carry the tools that I think I will use. There are more in the car, but I couldn't walk if I thought I had to carry them all.

    Don't get me wrong: if the taser is one of those tools for you then I wouldn't dare suggest you stop carrying it. We each do things a little differently. For me, the taser isn't worth the added bulk.
    Agreed. To further elaborate, I am pepper-ball certified, and I prefer to deploy it as often as possible because the new ones have great range and accuracy.
    "That's how we roll"

  17. #17
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    Good points. I'm actually working on a blog post to discuss the TASER as a weapon retention tool. The dilemma is that the TASER creates a larger reactionary gap in a confrontation and thereby lessens the risk of an officer being disarmed. While the TASER cannot and should not replace good defensive tactics, I can certainly understand LEOs who rely upon the TASER to avoid many physical confrontations.

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  18. #18
    gopherpuckfan's Avatar
    gopherpuckfan is offline I'm from the government and I'm here to help
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    If I would have tased that fucker who broke my ankle in September, I'd probably be fine now. The thing is, until we went hands-on, he was just non-compliant by walking away from us so I had no reason to tase him. Like Reca said, I've pulled it out a couple of times in the past and have avoided having to go hands-on. When I tased this guy while we were trying to get him cuffed up, it was the first time in my 5 years on that I've had to tase someone. A call can be so fluid that you never have a chance to get a taser out and ready to go before "feces has hit the ocillating blades". Taser or not, all cops have to be ready to go hands-on at any time.
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

  19. #19
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Just to clarify my earlier post -- I'm not at all suggesting that there is no place for the Taser. My concern is that there are officers using the Taser inappropriately, not because of bad judgement or because they're afraid or unwilling to use lethal force, but because they don't have confidence in their own ability to go hands on. Using the Taser to reduce injuries (to cops, especially, or suspects incidentally) is fine -- but the cops need to have the confidence to go hands on, too.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

    "Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
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    All opinions expressed are my own and are not official statements of my employer.

 

 

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