First, let’s start with the basics:
Electricity is a flow of energy, or more specifically a flow of electric charge within a conductor. That conductor can be a copper wire, or it can be the human body. Much like water flows through a pipe, electrons flow through a wire. When we measure electricity, there are two key measures – voltage, measured in volts, & current, measured in amperes.
Voltage is similar to the pressure in a water hose. The voltage provides the “pressure” to push an electric current through the wire.
Current is the measure of the actual flow of electricity – how many electrons are actually flowing through the wire.
In our analogy to flowing water, voltage is like pressure, measured in pounds per square inch. Current is the flow rate, similar to gallons per second in our water analogy.
By way of analogy, let’s compare a waterfall to rainfall. The pressure or voltage behind each droplet of water in the waterfall is actually a lot less than for each rain drop – because the rain drop is falling from a much greater height. So, the “voltage” of this waterfall is much less than for rain.
However, the rate of flow or “current” for the waterfall is much, much higher than for the rain, which falls in small droplets separated in space & time compared to the continuous flow of the waterfall. Standing under the waterfall would certainly be a very dangerous place to be – much more so than in the rain. Similarly, being exposed to a high current electrical current – like the one out of your wall outlet, can be very dangerous, even at moderate voltages like 110 volts.
Exposure to high voltage, low current shocks – such as a static discharge on a dry day, is far less dangerous. Static shocks regularly exceed 30,000 volts, yet they deliver very low amounts of electric charge, & there has never been a reported injury directly from the effects of a static shock, although there have been some secondary injuries from people who were surprised & may have fallen, etc.
When we think about electricity, the first term to come to mind is usually “volts.” This is because our electric power grid is a fixed voltage system, & is rated in volts.
However, when we talk about electricity safety, the current in amperes is much more critical than voltage. For example, a TASER CEW has about a tenth of the peak current of a static shock.
So, if voltage is not the key factor in making an electrical stimulation effective, why does a TASER CEW have a high peak voltage?
The rainfall analogy is a very good one for a TASER CEW discharge. The drops of rain are separated by time & space such that the actual “current” or flow of water down from the sky is quite small.
So, this naturally begs the question – if the TASER CEW output current is so low, how can it be effective in stopping a violent subject?
The answer is because the TASER current does not rely on brute force, or on sheer power. Instead, the CEW’s pulsed output is really an elegant approach to incapacitating violent persons. Our TASER CEW pulses mimic the electrical signals used within the human body to communicate between the brain & the muscles. It simulates the pulsed communications used within the nerves, & interferes with communication – like static on the telephone lines within the body. When the device is on, a person cannot do controlled movements.
Sometimes people will ask “Isn’t electricity dangerous?” The answer is – well yes, it can be. But electricity is actually necessary for life – we literally cannot live without it.
Electrical pulses control every thought we have, every breath we take, every sensation we feel, every sight we see, every sound we hear – every complex life process depends on these electrical signals within our bodies that occur billions of times every second.
The brain is like an incredibly complex conductor, leading a string section of incomprehensible complexity. As the brain uses electrical “pings” to stimulate the nerves in a complex & highly coordinated fashion, consciousness emerges & neuromuscular control becomes possible.
Has law enforcement changed over time? Certainly. However, what’s truly remarkable is that it takes disruptive technology — a truly revolutionary breakthrough technology to do so. Take a look a what disruptive technologies have done for law enforcement, from firearms, to communications, to fingerprints in the timeline graphic below. Then take a gander at what TASER technology has done with its TASER ECDs — not just a law enforcement response to resistance tools but their built-in accountability features and camera accessories as well.
In the 1990s only special supervisors or a designated SWAT team member used TASER devices. When we rolled out our TASER ECDs in 1998 we told law enforcement we would eventually have them on the belts of ALL patrol officers. That mighty bold statement received countless collective chuckles, smiles, laughter, and even some snide remarks. For us, it continued to fuel our passion here at TASER International.
FAST-forward to 2012 and there are now over 16,000 law enforcement agencies out of 18,000 in the U.S. that now have TASER ECDs. They are used in over 107 countries.
Revolutionary? By all means. But remember, to be revolutionary there must be pain points, learning curves and paradigm shifts. It also means controversy will necessarily come up, otherwise it wouldn’t be revolutionary.
Already, former critics, which two year ago said, “No way our officers will wear these,” are now saying, “It’s coming and may be faster than you think. There is nothing you can do to stop it.” Others are saying, it’s the “wave of the future” while others are saying, they don’t want to be one of the last agencies without it.
Who knows, this might be yet another tipping point for another law enforcement technology revolution.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., October 1, 2012 — TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), announced Saturday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation’s (IACP Foundation) Sixth Annual Fundraising Gala that it donated $300,000 in funds from its TASER Foundation to an IACP Foundation/TASER Fallen Officer Fund.
TASER also announced that the IACP Foundation will assume day-to-day management of the former TASER Foundation funds, including disbursement of grants to impacted families. The alliance is prompted by the organizations’ shared mission of supporting the law enforcement community and IACP’s deep global experience in foundation management.
“We are proud to entrust this significant donation to the IACP Foundation,” said Rick Smith, CEO and founder of TASER International, Inc., “because its leaders set the bar for effective, compassionate investing on behalf of officers around the world. The research, training and education provided by the IACP Foundation is best-in-class, and we believe that integrating our foundations will greatly enhance TASER’s ability to improve lives and promote officer safety within our professional community, across the globe. We felt that the IACP Foundation’s mission to support injured and fallen officers and their families, protect the safety of officers, and support the goals and programs of the IACP was a near perfect match for our own mission to protect life,” concluded Smith.
“We are thrilled to accept this generous donation from TASER and to align our philanthropic efforts going forward,” said Bart R. Johnson, IACP executive director and co-chair of the IACP Foundation. “For almost a decade, the TASER Foundation has honored the service and sacrifice of state, local and federal law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada, and IACP will continue TASER’s legacy. The significant funding provided by TASER today will help the IACP Foundation serve thousands of our colleagues, enabling them to stay safe, recover, retrain and be remembered.
TASER International, Inc. established the TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers in November 2004, to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada lost in the line of duty by providing financial support to their families.
The initial endowment of $1 million came from TASER International, Inc. and the direct contributions of TASER International employees. To date, the TASER Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to more than 1000 families of fallen law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada.
About International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation
The Mission of the IACP Foundation is to support injured and fallen officers and their families, protect the safety of officers, and support the goals and programs of the IACP. The Foundation is committed to creating a culture of officer safety, health and wellness by supporting IACP efforts that prevent officer injury and honoring the sacrifice made by the men and women of law enforcement.