Although the use of Taser stun guns has been adopted by many law enforcement agencies, disagreements exist about how officers should be educated.
The stun gun’s maker, Taser International, offers a training program that recommends that officers experience first-hand how a Taser feels prior to professional use. This is to ensure that officers become more knowledgeable about “safety and survival during field use,” says Taser International’s Steve Tuttle, director of government and law enforcement affairs. Moreover, the act of stunning removes misconceptions regarding Tasers, such as that stunning can impair heart functions.
Meanwhile, in the case of pepper spray, also known as OC, many officers in the United States believe that getting sprayed is necessary to know its characteristics and to validate the use of extra force when OC is ineffective.
Portland, Ore., Police Bureau train Officer Tom Forsyth says “Officers who have been exposed to the Taser can formulate quickly what to do if their Taser falls into a suspect’s hands.”
If an agency opts to use a Taser in training, it must determine how it will be used. Taser International recommends that a training session last four hours, with Taser shootings applied in the second hour, says Chris Lamberger, senior training officer for the Beaverton, Ore., Police Department.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Police (01/04) Vol. 28, No. 1, P. 24; Janin, Michael L.