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TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECD / ECW) “Protecting Life” Town Meeting Article 34 (Id 67) May 2011 Justification for Taser No evidence that other law enforcement force option is safer than a normal use of a Taser. Tasers are more effective in facilitating capture, control and restraint than other force options Tasers are generally safer per se and are usually safer than other force options Courts have held that ECW’s are not excessive force per se Tasers are saving lives, reducing injuries to officers and suspects, and reducing excessive force claims 2011 – Society’s View of Force Police Officers should: Use the least amount of Know the difference force between a person who: Use the least injurious – Presents an intentional force option immediate threat of harm. – Is fleeing from serious Be patient and physical harm understanding – Needs medical or mental Be tolerant of people health crisis assistance acting out 2011 – Society’s View of Force Officers are often judged on outcomes of force used (death, serious injury) Officers should not hurt a person whose intentions are not immediately threatening Non-violent people should not be injured- people who need to be controlled may be: A. Acting as they are due to a medical crisis B. Acting due to serious psychological distress C. Drug and alcohol abusers Common Quotes The news has several ready made quotes for Officers’ use of deadly force – “Why couldn’t they shoot him / her in the leg” – “Why couldn’t they have sent a dog” – “Why didn’t they let me speak with him / her” – “They didn’t even try to talk with him / her” – “Why couldn’t they have tased him / her” What is our objective for using force? Defensive Force – Subject reasonably perceived by the officer as an immediate threat of harm Capture Force – Subject fleeing from serious (physical harm) crime & officer is justified in subduing subject Restraint Force – Force to facilitate restraint Compliance Force – Force to gain compliance to commands ECW how it works It captures skeletal muscles The electrical current “tends to favor” the grain of the muscle by 10:1 going against the grain, so current tends to stay on the outside 4000 ECW uses per week in the US. ECW Deployment Probe deployment Drive Stun – Taser ,generally, is Deployment (not more than a non- recommended) serious or trivial use of – Less than the probe force but less than deployment deadly force – Amount of force more – Taser is higher force on par with pain than OC and baton compliance techniques ECW Force – Probe Deployment Pain: excruciating, intense pain felt throughout entire body Probes penetrate up to ½” into body Causes Neuro Muscular Interference (NMI) Taser “Commandeers” muscles and nerves Causes temporary paralysis (seconds) Causes uncontrolled fall Immediate relief occurs after application ends Drive Stun Deployment Drive Stun Deployment (Not Recommended) Pain: only transitory, localized No NMI Non-incapacitating effect Without incapacitating muscle contractions ECW Safety Points ECW Safety Points 50,000 volts NEVER goes through the body- actually 600 volts The pulse has less peak current than a strong static shock The skeletal muscles tend to shield the heart from current 99.75% of the time suspects have no significant injury as a result of using the device (DOJ) Source: Bozeman, W., et al. Safety and Injury Profile of Conducted Energy Weapons Used by Law Enforcement Officers Against Criminal Suspects, Annals of Emerg. Med. 2009 ECW Safety Points The pulse is 50-200 times too short to efficiently stimulate the heart It has less than HALF of the current allowed by the electric fence standards It has less current than some pain blocking stimulators Officer Suspect Force Dept Lethal Force Injuries Injuries Complaints Orlando, FL 50% * * 60% Austin, TX 80% * 32% 53% Phoenix, AZ * 67% 54% * 14 Columbus, OH 24% 25% 23% “saves” Charlotte- Mecklenburg, NC 59% 79% 19 “saves” * Orange County FL 80% * 78% * ECW’s usually more effective than other force options: Every other force option (Baton, OC, Handgun) uses pain/discomfort compliance or traumatic injury to facilitate capture, control or restraint. ECW’s are usually safer force options and less injurious to suspects and officers. ECW’s can reduce the use of deadly force ECW Smart Use Guidelines Policy must be approved by EOPSS Clearly delineated force standards insure proper use and accountability Accomplishes the lawful objective of the minimum (least amount of) force goal ECW’s have more accountability features than other force options Records every safety activation, trigger pull, arc, etc. Taser cam records video and audio Records pulse by pulse determination of electrical discharges Data download and AFID evidence MASH Test to determine causes of in custody deaths where taser was deployed – Reliable forensic tool to determine excited delirium as a cause of death Taser Cam Cost Savings Fewer officer-hours lost to injury Fewer investigations of injuries to subjects Fewer excessive force claims Use has reduced excessive force litigation by 54% -Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority Study 2004 – 432 Taser deployments, 40 + agencies, 1 injury requiring hospitalization ZERO claims of excessive force Taser in Action Supporters of ECW's U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Director Bernard K. Melekian Police Executive Research Forum, Executive Director Chuck Wexler Dr. Alex Eastman, M.D. Trauma Surgeon and reserve officer with Dallas PD ACLU Atty. Scott Greenwood, National Expert on Police Use of Force cases and authority on Taser related legal issues. Interview of Atty. Scott Greenwood on May 5, 2011 Atty. Greenwood has the most legal experience in the use of these weapons in the ACLU The only Constitutional Lawyer present at creation of 2011 ECW guidelines (PERF, DOJ) Studied policies and implementation in almost all jurisdictions in the country ACLU Atty. Greenwoods Opinions ECW’s are less injurious than less lethal and O.C. Every Department that has them has seen a decrease in injuries to officers and subjects They decrease and eliminate confrontations that can escalate to deadly force. ACLU – Atty. Greenwood “I am convinced they present the IDEAL compromise when having to resort force.” ECW’s offer the lowest risk vs. highest reward. “In the future, suits may come from departments not using Tasers when they would have been appropriate.” ACLU – Atty. Scott Greenwood Addressed the concerns of injuries and death as a result of ECW’s; – In his research 30-40 deaths that are attributed to ECW’s, The medical Examiners did not rule out other contributing factors in causes of death. – Atty. Greenwood stated, “Statistically, this number is insignificant, The facts are overwhelmingly in favor to get them. Every department that has them has seen, without exception, a decrease in injuries to officers and subjects. Final Words –“There is Zero justification to be against these weapons.” (May,5 2011) Attorney Scott Greenwood General Counsel to American Civil Liberties Union Work: (513) 943-4200 Email: Law@ScottGreenwood.com I’m a Believer! May 7, 2011
"TASER Electronic Control Devices _ECD's_"