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TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECD / ECW) Town Meeting Article 34 (Id 67) May 2011 “Protecting Life”

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Presentation on theme: "TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECD / ECW) Town Meeting Article 34 (Id 67) May 2011 “Protecting Life”"— Presentation transcript:

1 TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECD / ECW) Town Meeting Article 34 (Id 67) May 2011 “Protecting Life”

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3 Justification for Taser No evidence that other law enforcement force option is safer than a normal use of a 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 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 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 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 Tasers are saving lives, reducing injuries to officers and suspects, and reducing excessive force claims

4 2011 – Society’s View of Force Police Officers should: Use the least amount of force Use the least amount of force Use the least injurious force option Use the least injurious force option Be patient and understanding Be patient and understanding Be tolerant of people acting out Be tolerant of people acting out Know the difference between a person who: Know the difference between a person who: –Presents an intentional immediate threat of harm. –Is fleeing from serious physical harm –Needs medical or mental health crisis assistance

5 2011 – Society’s View of Force Officers are often judged on outcomes of force used (death, serious injury) Officers are often judged on outcomes of force used (death, serious injury) Officers should not hurt a person whose intentions are not immediately threatening 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: 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

6 Common Quotes The news has several ready made quotes for Officers’ use of deadly force 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”

7 What is our objective for using force? Defensive Force – Subject reasonably perceived by the officer as an immediate threat of harm 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 Capture Force – Subject fleeing from serious (physical harm) crime & officer is justified in subduing subject Restraint Force – Force to facilitate restraint Restraint Force – Force to facilitate restraint Compliance Force – Force to gain compliance to commands Compliance Force – Force to gain compliance to commands

8 ECW how it works It captures skeletal muscles 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 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 uses per week in the US.

9 ECW Deployment Probe deployment Probe deployment –Taser,generally, is more than a non- serious or trivial use of force but less than deadly force –Taser is higher force than OC and baton Drive Stun Deployment (not recommended) Drive Stun Deployment (not recommended) –Less than the probe deployment –Amount of force more on par with pain compliance techniques

10 ECW Force – Probe Deployment Pain: excruciating, intense pain felt throughout entire body Pain: excruciating, intense pain felt throughout entire body Probes penetrate up to ½” into body Probes penetrate up to ½” into body Causes Neuro Muscular Interference (NMI) Causes Neuro Muscular Interference (NMI) Taser “Commandeers” muscles and nerves Taser “Commandeers” muscles and nerves Causes temporary paralysis (seconds) Causes temporary paralysis (seconds) Causes uncontrolled fall Causes uncontrolled fall Immediate relief occurs after application ends Immediate relief occurs after application ends

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12 Drive Stun Deployment Drive Stun Deployment (Not Recommended) Drive Stun Deployment (Not Recommended) Pain: only transitory, localized Pain: only transitory, localized No NMI No NMI Non-incapacitating effect Non-incapacitating effect Without incapacitating muscle contractions Without incapacitating muscle contractions

13 ECW Safety Points

14 50,000 volts NEVER goes through the body- actually 600 volts 50,000 volts NEVER goes through the body- actually 600 volts The pulse has less peak current than a strong static shock The pulse has less peak current than a strong static shock The skeletal muscles tend to shield the heart from current 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 % 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

15 ECW Safety Points The pulse is times too short to efficiently stimulate the heart The pulse is 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 than HALF of the current allowed by the electric fence standards It has less current than some pain blocking stimulators It has less current than some pain blocking stimulators

16 Dept Officer Injuries Suspect Injuries Lethal Force Force Complaints Orlando, FL  60%  50% ** Austin, TX  53%  80% *  32% Phoenix, AZ *  67%  54% * Columbus, OH  23%  24% 14 “saves”  25% Charlotte- Mecklenburg, NC  59%  79% 19 “saves” * Orange County FL  80% *  78% *

17 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. 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 are usually safer force options and less injurious to suspects and officers. ECW’s can reduce the use of deadly force ECW’s can reduce the use of deadly force

18 ECW Smart Use Guidelines Policy must be approved by EOPSS Policy must be approved by EOPSS Clearly delineated force standards insure proper use and accountability Clearly delineated force standards insure proper use and accountability Accomplishes the lawful objective of the minimum (least amount of) force goal Accomplishes the lawful objective of the minimum (least amount of) force goal

19 ECW’s have more accountability features than other force options Records every safety activation, trigger pull, arc, etc. Records every safety activation, trigger pull, arc, etc. Taser cam records video and audio Taser cam records video and audio Records pulse by pulse determination of electrical discharges Records pulse by pulse determination of electrical discharges Data download and AFID evidence Data download and AFID evidence MASH Test to determine causes of in custody deaths where taser was deployed 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

20 Taser Cam

21 Cost Savings Fewer officer-hours lost to injury Fewer officer-hours lost to injury Fewer investigations of injuries to subjects Fewer investigations of injuries to subjects Fewer excessive force claims 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 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

22 Taser in Action

23 Supporters of ECW's U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Director Bernard K. Melekian U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Director Bernard K. Melekian Police Executive Research Forum, Executive Director Chuck Wexler Police Executive Research Forum, Executive Director Chuck Wexler Dr. Alex Eastman, M.D. Trauma Surgeon and reserve officer with Dallas PD 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. ACLU Atty. Scott Greenwood, National Expert on Police Use of Force cases and authority on Taser related legal issues.

24 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 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) The only Constitutional Lawyer present at creation of 2011 ECW guidelines (PERF, DOJ) Studied policies and implementation in almost all jurisdictions in the country Studied policies and implementation in almost all jurisdictions in the country

25 ACLU Atty. Greenwoods Opinions ECW’s are less injurious than less lethal and O.C. 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 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. They decrease and eliminate confrontations that can escalate to deadly force.

26 ACLU – Atty. Greenwood “I am convinced they present the IDEAL compromise when having to resort force.” “I am convinced they present the IDEAL compromise when having to resort force.” ECW’s offer the lowest risk vs. highest reward. 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.” “In the future, suits may come from departments not using Tasers when they would have been appropriate.”

27 ACLU – Atty. Scott Greenwood Addressed the concerns of injuries and death as a result of ECW’s; Addressed the concerns of injuries and death as a result of ECW’s; –In his research 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.

28 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)

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30 I’m a Believer! May 7, 2011


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