Depts adopting new TASER X2; SF still waits for ECDs
While Newport News Sheriff’s Office gets cutting-edge TASER X2s, cops in San Francisco still await decision on ECDs
Last week came news from TASER International that the company began shipping the first of its highly anticipated new TASER X2 ECDs for agency review. Well, as I had fully expected would happen, it didn’t take long for customers to begin placing orders. Today I got an email from the Scottsdale-based company with news that Newport News (Va.) Sheriff's Office will deploy TASER X2s to 77 of its sworn law officers. The order provides the Newport News Sheriffs Office with TASER X2 ECDs and TASER Cam HD units, as well as the various related accessories.
The TASER X2 is very similar in size and grip ergonomics to the well-known X26, but packs some really compelling new features. For example, the X2 offers a dual-shot semi-automatic capability because, as the TASER website puts it, “Sometimes you need a second chance.”
I spoke this afternoon with my friend Steve Tuttle over at TASER International. “The dual-shot capability is something we clearly hear from the voice of the customer,” Tuttle told me. “As it turns out, if you really deliver what the customer is looking for — if you truly listen to the voice of the customer — you’re going to have this kind of positive market response.”
Other features you’ll find in the new X2 are dual aiming lasers for improved accuracy, an enhanced power magazine, and a “warning arc that helps prevents conflict from escalating.” Oh, and those TASER Cam HD units are the first high-definition color TASER camera units in the company’s history. Those things offer 720p resolution and record 30 frames per second.
According to TASER, the upgrade package is valued at about $1,500 and includes:
“The X2 is starting to take off — we’re extremely encouraged by the interest from new customers as well as agencies that are looking to move up from the X26,” Tuttle said. “We’ve heard interest from agencies that have new X26s who are looking to upgrade to the X2s and agencies that we’ve never worked with before, so I think that shows you something about the appeal.”
Room to Grow
The opposing citizens’ groups, city councils, mayors, and others who are putting political agendas ahead of officer — and citizen — safety just have the whole argument wrong.
Frequent readers of this space know that I want the cops who patrol the streets of my city to have TASERs on their belts.
A couple of years ago, the San Francisco Police Department released a comprehensive report — available for download on the SFPD website — on Officer-Involved Shootings in that city over the past five years. The report is filled with all manner of charts and graphs and observations and recommendations — most notable were the factors of mental health and toxicology of the subjects who were either injured or killed, as well as the near proximity of the subjects to the officers involved. From these three factors, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the 2,300+ sworn officers of SFPD should have TASERs on their duty belts.
When that study came out, I spoke with then Assistant Chief Morris Tabak — who helped conduct the abovementioned study and is now retired — he told me, “The results of this study ...was the need for us to look at TASER, or a TASER-like weapon, as an option.”
By the Numbers
Another four shootings involved subjects “who were either not injured, or who sustained injuries prior to, or during the shooting event, however the injuries could not be attributed to police gun fire. These cases were originally investigated as officer-involved shootings out of an abundance of caution, however due to the indeterminate cause of the injuries involved they did not fit the criteria of this study.”
So, we’ve got 15 cases in a five-year period “in which San Francisco police officers discharged a firearm in the performance of their duties that resulted in an injury to, or the death of a person.” When the results of the study were presented to the San Francisco Police Commission, it fell on deaf ears.
Earlier this year, after what was characterized as “a lively, six-hour debate,” the Commission did the right thing, and green-lit SFPD to conduct studies into how it would deploy these invaluable devices. Still, considerable local resistance continues. I’d like to think that with the advent of the X2, the opposition will pull back, but that’s just dreamtime thinking.
The X2 has features that will likely be “scary” to those who already oppose ECDs. That warning arc, for example, may be viewed by the uninformed and unwashed masses as unnecessary and threatening display. We might hear opponents say things like, “I opposed the thing when it had one shot, what makes you think I’ll favor it now that it has two?” We shall see, we shall see...
I understand that my constant coverage of TASER International might come across as shilling for TASER, but the fact is, I truly believe in what they do. I read the statement that leads all their press announcements — “a provider of safety technologies that prevent conflict, protect life, and resolve disputes” — and I believe it.
I wish more people did.
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