Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

December 17, 2009
PrintCommentRSS

Opinions vary on stun gun use at hospitals

More than 53 percent of hospital security officers do not carry lethal or less-lethal weapons

By Jacqueline Koch
Chattanooga Times Free Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Opinions about TASER use in hospitals are mixed, but most law enforcement and mental health advocates agree that maintaining safety is essential during volatile situations.

Two men were shocked with TASERs in local hospitals during the past month. Edward Buckner, 53, died Nov. 27, shortly after he was shocked in Erlanger hospital. An autopsy revealed he died of natural causes, specifically blood clots.

Expert Perspective

There can be a temptation to let your guard down in a hospital emergency room, but if you bring a suspect in for treatment and find yourself falling prey to relaxed tactical thinking, keep these things in mind:

Availability and accessibility of weapons: What you should notice are loads of readily available things that can be used as improvised weapons; scalpels, needles, glass containers, potentially caustic liquids, IV poles and other skewering implements, etc. Don’t think that just because a “patient” is unarmed when you bring him in he’ll stay that way.

Make sure doctors and nurses aren’t the only ones monitoring your “patient.” It’s probably safe to say that most hospital personnel aren’t thoroughly (if at all) trained in weapons awareness, threat assessment, subject control, defensive tactics, etc. Be sure you’re watching closely for signs that things are about to get combative.

Keep an eye on who’s coming and going: If you’re dealing with a gang member — particularly one who’s been targeted by rival gang members — don’t think that the battle is over just because you’re in the hospital.

Security trumps sympathy: Just because an injured suspect may appear harmless, vulnerable and maybe even completely helpless doesn’t mean that he is. If you find yourself tempted to skip taking appropriate security measures — like cuffing — in the interest of being nice, don’t. Remember the lessons learned by those officers who lost their lives after deciding to loosen cuffs, cuff in the front and even remove cuffs from their transports in the interest of comfort and kindness. Never let your guard down. Never.


Read more: Tips for dealing with incidents and suspects in hospitals

Full story: Opinions vary on stun gun use at hospitals






PoliceOne Offers

P1 on Facebook

Connect with PoliceOne

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google

Get the #1 Police eNewsletter

Police Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
See Sample