This is by far, one of our most frequently asked questions. The problem with this question is that a TASER CEW exposure is a completely unique experience– there is almost no other feeling like it. When I’m asked about my own exposure with the X2, I often tell people that it feels how it sounds. Imagine what it feels like to be snapped with a rubber band. Now, imagine that rubber band snapping you 19 times per second throughout your entire body. It is definitely uncomfortable, but by no means is it excruciating. The five-second exposure tends to feel MUCH longer than five seconds, but once it’s over, you feel like nothing ever happened! I was actually smiling and laughing after mine! I had about as much muscle soreness the next day as I would after a light workout; it was hardly noticeable. Other than that, any discomfort associated with a TASER CEW exposure only lasts for those five seconds. I can confidently say that I will not volunteer for another exposure any time soon, but if I had to, it’s just five seconds.
Over the past three weeks, TASER has welcomed 15 new summer interns! Some of them have even been brave enough to take the “ride for five” & take a voluntary exposure with our TASER X2. Here’s Kiley, our communications intern from the University of Arizona & her experience with our TASER CEW. Who’s that holding her up? Her father, Jim Halsted, Vice President of Law Enforcement Sales and her boss, Steve Tuttle, Vice President of Communications were there for her the whole way! Way to go!
A recent San Francisco Chronicle article announced that San Francisco PD’s Chief Greg Suhr withdrew a proposal to conduct a pilot program to test & evaluate TASER CEWs. It was reported that Chief Suhr told the Police Commission that there were too many restrictions on using CEWs and it would increase the risk to officers & residents.
Anyone following this story isn’t surprised by this given the Chicken Little banter by TASER critics in the Bay Area that has occurred at the mere mention of TASER, TASER, TASER! The rumor mill was over-the-top & there were too many outrageous claims made by anti-TASER groups in the efforts by the last three police chiefs. Yes, three different police administrations in a row have been denied even the opportunity to test TASER technology.
However, the community has spoken. Or has it? While critics are resoundingly encouraged by this action, is this really a win for the great city of San Francisco?
Here are some comments made by TASER that were posted in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for TASER International Inc., said Thursday the decision in San Francisco came as no surprise.
“In reality, the activists have won a step back to the Stone Age in modern policing by preferring pain compliance and batons to beat dangerous subjects into submission instead of using a safer, more effective and accountable response to resistance,” Tuttle said.
More than 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the country use Tasers, Tuttle said.
In response to an article citing Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness who said, “We’re very excited, we think they made the right decision. They’re going to save lives by not using Tasers.”
Dear Jennifer, I’d l like to just open the dialogue for one moment. I’d like you to not judge or predispose yourself to any opinions until you read my quick email to you.
I saw your quote about TASER technology and must admit I’m struck by the statement that you’re going “to save lives by not using Tasers.”
I wasn’t surprised by the outcome given all of the controversy concerning TASER devices in San Francisco. However, it’s a shame is that the technology wasn’t even allowed to be put to the test to prove or disprove that TASER technology was an advancement forward in safety, effectiveness and accountability. Had it failed, the SFPD would have scraped the program. But just imagine if it had the same results worldwide in which thousands of agencies saw use of force drop while reducing injuries to officers and suspects.
Instead, the SFPD is left without the opportunity to prove or disprove the success of TASER technology.
Can you name another response to resistance tool that has been studied more (try to find multiple studies from PubMed on baton strikes, impact munitions, OC, fists, kicks, and punches), and you won’t find any of the tools that SFPD uses with any accountability means as our TASER with cameras and its secure Dataport downloads that are independent witnesses to the time, date and duration of each use or the effectiveness of stopping an escalation of force.
“While I understand that your organization is against TASER devices, I’d like to ask as food for thought, ‘If not TASER at SFPD, then what?’ I’m not talking about when a response to resistance doesn’t require force. I’m talking about stopping someone who is violent and dangerous that would fit a SFPD policy:
When the use of force is necessary and appropriate, officers shall, to the extent possible, utilize an escalating scale of options and not employ more forceful measures unless it is determined that a lower level of force would not be adequate, or such a level of force is attempted and actually found to be inadequate. The scale of options, in order of increasing severity, is set forth below:
a. Verbal Persuasion
b. Physical Control e.g., passive resister, bent wrist control, excluding the carotid restraint)
c. Liquid Chemical Agent (Mace/Oleoresin Capsicum)
d. Carotid Restraint
e . Department-issued Baton
f . Firearm
We know beating someone to submission isn’t the answer. While I understand the fears of TASER, I don’t understand how anyone could accept choking someone out or beating somebody into submission.”
So, what’s up on deck next? Bean bag rounds, perhaps. Is this what was won? Shooting bean bags (akin to being hit by a major league baseball) at dangerous suspects. Any cameras on those? You’ll really want to see what happens when that occurs for accountability & transparency. Any computer chips that record the time, date & duration on those or on any of those items listed a-f above? Nada.
Did the community really speak out? Of course, that’s the right & proper thing to do as a nation dedicated to public discourse.
But can we trust the decisions of our own US DOJ’s report about the relative safety of TASER technology as well as the fact this is the most tested less-lethal tool studied in law enforcement to date? Can we not trust the thoughtful decisions of 17,000 law enforcement agencies to deploy TASER CEWs? Many of which required independent safety studies conducted by their own governments. How about how TASER devices have saved more than 105,000 lives from death or serious injury in 1.85 million uses? Or can’t we trust the men & women in blue that protect & serve San Francisco with TASER CEWs as they already trust them with guns?
I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of San Franciscans are jumping for joy that they are among one of only a handful (literally) of major cities in the U.S. that have not deployed TASER devices to save lives & protect officers.
Even other independent DOJ reports are encouraging enough to at least test the equipment because of the potential for safer communities:
In a study that compared seven law enforcement agencies that use TASER CEWs with six agencies that do not, researchers found:
Oh I know this sounds like sour milk (it even does to me), but it’s hard to say congratulations when potential alternative to save lives, reduce injuries to suspects & officers wasn’t even at least tried. The sky is not falling but I can tell you that going back to the Stone Age is no accomplishment to be proud of today.
TASER announced a significant TASER® X2™ Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs) and AXONFlex on-officer camera order using the new TASER Protection Plan (TPP) and TASER Assurance Plan (TAP) by Lake Havasu Police Department (AZ). This is a full deployment of 92 X2s for all of its sworn and detention officers and 58 AXONFlex cameras for 58 sworn field personnel. The order to bring them to full deployment status was received in the fourth quarter of 2012 and is anticipated to ship in the 1st quarter of 2013.
The Lake Havasu Police Department is the first law enforcement agency to fully deploy both the new X2 and AXONFlex technology to its agency using the unique TAP and TPP options.
The TPP payment program allows agencies to pay for equipment over a 5-year program, allowing customers to budget more predictably and support full deployment of our latest technology. It provides for budget certainty, upgrades technology without the time constraints associated with capital acquisitions, locks in current pricing, and conserves capital.
The TAP is a warranty/replacement program that allows the agency to maintain its current X2/Flex program worry free with a no questions asked warranty including on-site spare equipment so officers experience zero downtime. It also refreshes an agency’s entire arsenal of related equipment after the fifth year.
The TPP/TAP combination (the first program of its kind) allows agencies like Lake Havasu to go full deployment with full protection over the program’s service life, while making five low annual payments. This effort reinforces TASER’s commitment to helping agencies upgrade outdated technology while staying within limited capital budgets.
“One of the most exciting aspects of this new program was that it was outlined and proposed by our customers at Lake Havasu,” said Rick Smith, CEO and founder of TASER. “Over the past several years, we have focused great effort on developing a rigorous Voice-of-the-Customer program to help us better understand our customer’s needs. I’d like to personally thank Lake Havasu for having the vision to put elements from several programs together in a unique way to create a predictable and sustainable program across multiple product and service offerings. We are now looking at how we can take the innovative approach proposed by Lake Havasu to assist other agencies across the country.”