Now when I get on the soap box, I will preface it with a sentence like this: This is my opinion, not the opinion of anyone at work or home with the exception of Roxy, my Rottweiler, born of Satan and who stalks her portly victims at night in order to bring them to our weekly satanic rituals—okay, enough—after all, she’s finally learned whose yards to poop in so my revenge is sweeeeett! Anyway, like I said, this is my opinion — so go fish.
The U.S. population in 2008 is said to be 303,824,640. According to the 2007 FBI UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting) reports, (2008 stats are still preliminary), there were 14,831 homicides in the U.S. Of that, 11,618 were men, 3,177 were women and 36 were considered unknown. Obviously women spend a great deal more time solving problems and learning some degree of restraint.
That year there were 855,856 aggravated assaults in the U.S. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines aggravated assault as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. The Program further specifies that this type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
The big picture here is that this is a violent county, like it or not. It’s the way it is. Whether or not you are for gun control, the fact is guns are easy to acquire, especially illegally. We take guns from people who we arrest every single night. In almost all drug arrests where a significant amount of drugs are confiscated, guns are also seized—not pea shooters, serious weapons. Robberies in the metro area are so common it’s rare that you watch the news and not see a report where someone pulled a semi-auto pistol and robbed a convenient store or pedestrian or even the pizza deliver driver—sometimes just for the pizza.
In 2007, fifty-seven police officers were killed by felonious acts in 51 separate states.
Texas alone saw nine police officers killed that year. This is a dangerous business and violence is a daily occurrence. Most metro-area police officers, in the course of a career, have either had a deadly force incident where they had to use a firearm or have been on the brink of one. You would be surprised at how many times an officer, during a confrontation, has had white knuckles on the trigger — meaning at the brink of firing the weapon because a directed threat at them was in the “deadly” category. In other words, if there were stats on “close calls,” it would surprise you. The picture I’m painting here is that this job is very, very dangerous. It’s interesting and it’s at time fun and bizarre and crazy but above all it’s dangerous. I don’t know any veteran officers who haven’t had the trip to the hospital with cuts, gunshot wounds or broken bones at one point or another in their career. Spend a few years in this business and you’ll bury a friend. It goes on and on and it seems there’s no end to violence.
I know, I know—get to the point.
The Cobb County Commission has voted to purchase tasers for their police officers.
My response: Good for them!
Like them or not, tasers are one of the greatest law enforcement tool—not counting spell-check, that I’ve seen in the 245 years that I’ve been in the business.
Tasers kept many an idiot—I’m talking stupid, bottom dwelling, no-good filthy scum-sucking criminals (you get the picture?) alive because that officer had that option, opposed to the .45 caliber on the other side of the gunbelt.
Ever been in a fight where you knew the other guy really, really wanted to hurt you bad—as in kill you?
Deadly force is the last straw. It’s you-or-me-time. It’s when talking, ordering, trying to reason, and all that is out the window and that person is still trying to kill you, then its time to reach for Mister Glock. When you have the opportunity to stop something before it gets to that point, the taser is by far the most effective option.
I have one. Our officers carry one. Two of the officers on my squad had to utilize them on back to back days a couple of months ago.
In one case, a man was being arrested by an officer. He refused commands and made a couple of threatening moves towards the officer while she was trying to handcuff him. She backed off and repeated the commands a couple of times but he continued to move in towards her. Finally she pulled the taser and told the man she would use it but he continued toward her. She shot the taser and he went down. The threat ended.
The following day, an officer was answering a call where a meth-head had been evicted but was stealing electricity from the apartment next door. As the officer approached the door, the apartment employee told him the man had a very aggressive pit bull that he believed to be in the apartment. The officer pulled the taser and then opened the door. Sure enough, the dog was there and immediately lunged at the officer, biting his left hand that he raised to protect himself with. As the dog lunged, the officer shot the dog in the belly with the taser. The dog immediately let go and fell.
During the fall, he broke the prongs so the taser’s connection was broken. The dog ran back into the apartment. He had just managed to get his teeth on the officer’s hand when he was hit with the taser prongs. The officer ended up with minor bite injuries. The dog was not injured. The dog was turned over to the animal control officers and the meth-head went to jail.
The dog would have severely injured that officer’s hand and arm had he not used that taser. He would have been fully justified to use his Glock since that dog was big and immediately tried to attack him.
The taser is a tool that comes with the training and responsibility associated with it. Used as it is intended, it is a great officer-safety tool.
Training, responsibility, and discipline are required for all police officers who are given the responsibility of doing that job. You can Youtube taser incidents and see some pretty poor judgment and believe me, not using any tool, including a taser, in the way it is designed to be used, will get you fired and justly so. What you don’t find on Youtube however, are the hundreds and hundreds of incidents where the taser was deployed effectively, causing the bad guy to disengage. If you’ve ever been in a fight where you had a lot to lose—like your LIFE, the magic word is “disengage.”
When a 300-pound man refuses commands during an arrest or a drug-saturated man goes crazy in the middle of the road or someone decides that they’re ready for a fight, the taser will end it. They will “disengage.” They can sometimes fight through pepper spray but you cannot fight through the taser hit. The perp disengages. That’s the bottom line.
Like all officers who carry it in our department, I got shot with the taser during the training rounds. Oddly enough, I found I could make sounds that I never knew possible—something between Chewbacca and Slim Whitman. There was no way though, that I could fight through it.
The critics go on and on and personally for me, they can bark until they turn blue given that most have no first-hand experience, the old seat at the table if you will, but if you’re in the fight and that’s the way to end it without deadly force and without getting yourself seriously hurt or killed, then that’s what you’re going to want on your belt.