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.
TASER International, through the TASER Training Academy, offers several courses of instruction involving the TASER® X2™, TASER X26™ & the new TASER X26P™ Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs). These courses are presented at our headquarters facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, & at numerous locations throughout the United States & abroad. Courses currently being offered include the TASER Instructor Course, the TASER Technician Course & the TASER Evidence Collection & Analysis Course.
TASER Instructor Course
This course certifies students to instruct & certify end users on the X26 & X2 TASER conducted electrical weapons (CEWs). This class is taught online, lectures & demonstrations, plus practice & scenario-based training. Certification is valid for two years.
This course focuses on preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, downloads, & several other topics. Students will be shown how to make external repairs as well as troubleshooting procedures & preventative maintenance. Topics covered in this course include electrical output, data downloads, repair procedures & tracking & maintenance among others.
TASER Evidence Collection & Analysis
This course focuses on collecting & analyzing the physical & digital evidence associated with a TASER deployment. Students learn to have a thorough understanding of techniques for the proper identification & evaluation of the physical & digital evidence associated with a TASER device following a deployment.
TASER Use of Force, Risk Management & Legal Strategies Seminar
This course addresses issues of importance to law enforcement executives, command staff, medical experts & directors, risk managers, press information officers, & government legal counsels. This class is conducted in conjunction with the FBI National Academy Association. Attendees receive substantial factual information as to how TASER CEWs incapacitate individuals, how these devices fit into law enforcement use‐of‐force deployment strategies, training considerations, various policy recommendations (including IACP, PERF & others), updates on medical studies & the current findings, the effects of TASER devices on liability exposures & on reducing officers’ & suspects’ injuries. This course also discusses how to approach key stakeholders such as community leaders with outreach and encourages interaction with the media to keep reporters in the loop and knowledgeable about TASER CEWs.
To learn more about the schedule of training events, please visit: http://www.taser.com/training/training-events/all-events.
TASER International, Inc. unveiled the TASER® X26P™ Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW) as its newest innovation in the 2013 line of TASER Smart weapons. The single-shot X26P uses the same standard TASER cartridge as the X26 and includes new enhancements and safety features that integrate core elements of the Smart TASER platform from the TASER X2.
The new TASER X26P
“The new X26P will feel familiar to many law enforcement officers, combining the form factor and cartridge from the original X26 with improved ergonomics, weatherproofing, and updated Smart technology features,” said CEO and founder Rick Smith. “Smart technology adds enhanced safety and performance, improved data and analytics together with superior quality, reliability and durability.”
“The X26P is a result of 10 years of technological advancements and the ‘TASER Experience,’ incorporating the voice of our customers and their needs with our world class research and support teams. The voice of the customer is critical to our success and based on this feedback we know there is a continuing market need for a cost effective single-shot device similar to the X26 which does not require substantial new training or changing inventories of cartridges. We found in our testing that some of our customers wanted the feature-rich improvements from the X2, but delivered in the X26 form factor. The X26 was our most popular model but had not seen any major change in nearly a decade — until now.”
“The TASER X26P reaches back to the basics of what makes TASER great in the hands of officers. Details about every deployment can now be traced back to the unit, making the X26P easier to use and ultimately easier to trust,” concluded Smith.
Smart Technology Details
The New TASER X26P with TASER CAM HD Record Accesssory
Quality and Reliability Improvements
Dr. Douglas Zipes recently had a case series publish in one of the American Heart Association’s journals called, Circulation.
Zipes’ article is not a position paper by the American Heart Association. A case study or even a case series should report interesting associations and novel curiosities of medicine based on uncontrolled and anecdotal observations. His article provides observational data from a series of 8 cases provided to him in his disclosed role as a plaintiff’s expert during litigation of these cases. He does not conclude that these cases reveal a fundamental flaw in the design of the devices.
The American Medical Association issued a White (Position) Paper on TASER safety in June 2009 that states:
Clearly Dr. Zipes has a strong financial incentive based on his career as an expert witness, which might help explain why he disagrees with the findings of independent medical examiners with no pecuniary interest in these cases as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s independent study that concluded:
There are critical statements in this three-year study called, Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption, in which a panel of experts examined why individuals died after exposure to a TASER device (aka CED) during encounters with law enforcement. The panel, selected in collaboration with the College of American Pathologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Association of Medical Examiners, reviewed nearly 300 cases to determine whether CEDs contributed to or were the primary cause of death.
The panel found that while in some cases the possibility that the direct effects of a CED can be lethal cannot be excluded, the risk of death due to the electrical effects of a CED has not been conclusively demonstrated and that caution should be used when interpreting the inclusion of a CED on a death certificate or the classification of the manner of death as a homicide as an absolute indictment of the CED as the sole or primary reason for the death.
The panel found that from a medical perspective, law enforcement need not refrain from using CEDs, provided the devices are used in accordance with accepted national guidelines and appropriate policy. The use of a CED on potentially at-risk individuals should be minimized or avoided unless the situation excludes other reasonable options. It is critical to minimize or avoid multiple or prolonged activations of CEDs to subdue an individual. However, there may be circumstances where this is required.
The panel members included a cardiologist, an emergency medicine doctor, five medical examiners, and a toxicologist. Consulting specialists were available to the panel as needed and included an anesthesiologist, clinical pathologist, epidemiologist, electrical engineer, neurologist, and psychiatrist.
What does one do with more TASER Kills, TASER Death Headline Fails? Perhaps these errors could serve as a classic case study in bias & speculation. It might provide insight on how perceptions become reality.
To begin, the tragic death of a Brazilian named Roberto Laudisio Curti in Australia story continues its challenge with incorrect headlines. For example, read the original headline: “21-Year-Old Brazilian Tasered To Death By Australian Police.” That’s incorrect, yes? Nope. The autopsy results & cause of death have not been concluded. Headlines are meant to entice readers, so clearly this article won’t make the same mistake? Nope. The article states in an opening lead, “That’s right: Laudisio Curti was tasered to death.” The story made no bones about it and firmly convinced readers that a cause of death is known. Yet, this is not true & thus the news organization had to make correct these libelous statements on April 12.
The damage was done and if you had read the original article, you might have concluded that the TASER ECD was the cause of death. You would most likely then form an opinion about this issue. Your perceptions – not based on fact or science – then become your reality.
Now imagine an opinion poll at the end of that original story that asks, “Should the New South Wales Police be held accountable for this death?” When you read the uncorrected version, do you think that those incorrect words had any influence on the poll? It did.
Even in today’s Daily Telegraph, the media incorrectly states, “Officers positioned a mannequin of Mr Curti’s body… where the fatal stun gun shot was fired.” The fatal stun gun shot? So much for the cause of death not determined yet. That came, “Police in Taser death re-enactment after Brazilian man Roberto Laudisio Curti died in Sydney’s CBD.” Note the “TASER death” use in the headline & other hyperlinked stories on that samepage. Interestingly, there’s also no mention of the pepper spray use.
Pepper Spray? Do a Google search with these key words & you get a lot of results in 26 days since Mr. Curti’s March 18 death:
• Curti + TASER + Killed: 416,000 results
In 386 days since the death of Dominic Chiodo on March 18, 2012, there have been very few stories relative to Mr. Curti. Last week, this story, Coroners Court probes death of a man after he was sprayed with capsicum by police, provoked some research on comparing TASER vs pepper spray bias. Note the results:
• Dominic Chiodo + Capsicum + Killed: 515 results (using “pepper spray” vs. “capsicum” nets even less results: 246 results)
Why compare this to Dominic Chiodo?
There are many similarities but what’s interesting is the bias when a death occurs involving a TASER ECD. There is very little outcry when someone dies in custody when other products are used. In fact, how many of you knew that police said they used pepper spray to try to subdue Mr. Curti? Why aren’t the headlines “Pepper Spray Killed?”
The interesting aspect to this comparison of these two similar situations is in the numbers:
“Curti” + “pepper spray” + “killed” gets 3,360 results vs 416,000 replacing “pepper spray” with “TASER.”
So how did a story involving both pepper spray & TASER ECDs fail to mention the pepper spray in 99.9 percent of the stories? How does the media continue to state TASER Kills when causes of death aren’t known?
This is certainly a case that makes you go, “Hmmmm.”