Horsing around and weapons retention
by Greg Meyer
Recent headlines about unfortunate Taser incidents remind me of an incident in 1981, just after the Los Angeles Police Department began widespread issuance of Tasers after successful field tests.
Three sergeants were on their way to "Code-7," meaning "lunch break." The sergeant in the backseat was fiddling around with the newly issued Taser. A "negligent" discharge occurred. (In those days we called them "accidental.") The Taser darts struck the driver in the back of the head and the neck. He immediately went down, lost control of the police car, and it crashed into several parked vehicles.
Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, although the backseat sergeant's subsequent paychecks were a little short after the disciplinary system extracted its toll.
Tasers are no different than pepper spray, batons, and other devices in the sense that (1) cops can use them on other cops, and (2) suspects can take them away and use them on cops.
Clearly you have a duty to maintain control of your weapons. And make sure they are not used negligently. And make sure that the bad guys don't get to use them on the good guys. Control of suspects and retention of weapons . . . gotta do it!
Consider the following recent events, reported in the media:
Mounties Tasered with own weapon
Officer Resigns Following Taser Incident
Obviously these short clips from media stories don't provide the entire picture of what happened. Still, there are some "weapons truisms" in this business.
All of us who carry weapons of any type need to prevent these types of incidents. Respect your nonlethal weapons just as you do your firearms.
No horsing around. No pointing or raising them against anyone you don't intend to use them on for legitimate control purposes. No nonlethal weapons ending up in the hands of your suspect.
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