Sunday, March 30, 2008

Question Of The Week, 3/30/08

Good morning. I came real close to being real late with this weeks question. I had it in my head that this was Saturday. I think I am late on some other stuff. This weeks question of the week once again comes from my local paper but I've heard about problems with the subject in other areas. Until just over a month ago tasers had not been issued to the Saint Joseph, Missouri Police Department. There have been articles about the police putting them to use in the paper two days in a row now.This is the second one.



Taser use remains controversial nationwide
by Ahmad Safi
Sunday, March 30, 2008



As police Tasers become more common — consider a new term for your vocabulary: excited delirium.

Excited delirium can lead to confrontations with police.

“It’s generally a medical-related condition due to a variety of things, but it’s usually through drug use,” said Sgt. Eric Protzman of the St. Joseph Police Department. “It’s just the unfortunate fact that we then end up having intervention with them.”

A spokesman for Taser International, which currently has its weapon on police belts in 4,300 law enforcement agencies, said the so-called “deadly cocktail” — drug mixing with the natural brain chemical dopamine and high levels of adrenaline — has generally already mixed before officers get on scene.

“Wanting to fight six or seven officers for 10 to 15 minutes is very erratic behavior,” said Steve Tuttle, the spokesman. “The baton strikes, the blows to the face don’t register to the person because pain is no longer a factor. Those normal signals that you would get are shutting down and being disregarded.”

With the addition in early March of the St. Joseph Police Department, now all local law enforcement — from your courthouse deputy to the county deputy — carry these guns that emit an initial 50,000 sparking volts and follow with about 1,200 volts in a five-second spurt.

Mr. Protzman, a certified Taser

trainer, said part of the training includes watching for the series of abnormal behaviors, such as excited delirium. Five officer injuries last year prompted top police brass to go before the City Council and ask for the $30,000 Taser purchase.

Police said in the first month on the street, nine suspects have been Tased and about 30 others threatened with the weapon before they complied.

Police Chief Chris Connally said officers are seeing increased compliance on the street just by having the Taser.

There have been no officer injuries and fewer serious injuries to suspects, he said.

“If you figure we used it nine times and 30 times we didn’t have to deploy it, that’s potentially 39 fights that nobody was seriously injured in — officer or suspect,” he said. “I’d be willing to bet within this first year, we’ll see the same results that other cities have seen with the Taser, where their uses of force have gone down.”

The most high-profile case was the first Tasing incident by officers on March 3. The label excited delirium was bandied about, but police cannot confirm it.

Late that night, two officers tried to put handcuffs on a 26-year-old man with active warrants. He resisted — the fight was on and the three brawled on the floor of a doughnut shop.

According to police, Kory May was Tased “multiple times” as he struggled to run away and kick at officers.

Mr. May thinks he was Tased eight times. Police confirm he was Tased once after he had been placed in handcuffs because he continued to thrash with his legs.

Mr. May hired an attorney and expressed plans to sue the department for excessive force.

“He had to be Tased multiple times to be brought under control,” Mr. Connally said.

Ahmad Safi can be reached at ahmadsafi@npgco.com.

Taser rules

Under police deployment rules:

* Officers cannot draw or display the Taser other than for a justified use of force or for training purposes.

* If an officer decides to shoot the Taser, the officer must give a proper warning to other officers and to the targeted subject.

* The optimal location is the subject’s back, where there is less likelihood to serious injury.



I have read about law suits being filed over taser usage in other areas so I'm going to assume that most police departments have them. Maybe you can remember when they first got them in your area. This weeks Question Of The Week is. Are nine tasings in the first thirty days a bit much?

I'll post my answer in the Comment Section Monday night.

Thanks go to,
The St. Joe. News-Press


God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

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