10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief
TASER X3 is good to go (three times)
Scottsdale-based TASER International kicked off its annual Conference and Master Instructor Training event yesterday by announcing the X3, a new ECD capable of firing up to three sets of probes without being reloaded. At an event held near the company’s headquarters, CEO Rick Smith and his brother Tom (who serves as the company’s Chairman), showed the new device to hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the county. According to everything we’ve heard, the launch of TASER’s latest product was met with near-universal praise.
Lt. Dan Marcou, a Master Trainer for the State of Wisconsin and also a PoliceOne Columnist says, "I can not understand the stance the pro-criminal lobby has taken against TASER. It clearly is a safer control alternative for officers, who have the authority and need to control potentially dangerous suspects. Studies show TASER is saving lives and preventing injuries. The X3 appears to be the next logical step in the developing technology that makes the difficult job of policing safer for officers, the community and suspects.”
Street Survival Instructor and PoliceOne Columnist Betsy Brantner Smith was at the unveiling and tells us, “As Rick explained to me, the X3 is designed to provide increased officer safety by giving a single user three cartridges in one devise with no reloading necessary. The cartridges can be deployed one at a time or simultaneously to incapacitate three combatants at once.”
But this “semi-automatic” capacity is only part of the X3 story. The X3 boasts additional new features such as the Warning Arc, which gives an officer the ability to display a visual warning to a suspect without having to remove the cartridge. According to some research, an estimated 80 percent of combatants will comply without a TASER deployment when a warning arc or a laser display is combined with strong verbal commands from the TASER user.
To that point, Marcou adds, “What has always impressed me about the TASER is the change of attitude of potentially combative suspects who choose to comply rather than to have the TASER deployed. The X3 now allows for the promise of deployment for multiple adversaries. That is welcome advance in technology for any officer in a tight spot with back-up a long way away."
“TASER has definitely caught my interest with their latest innovation, and it looks like it won't disappoint,” said John Bennett, a lieutenant with the Charleston (IL) Police Department. “I'm glad to see that they're not simply satisfied with what they currently have, but are constantly working on improvement and innovation.”
The new Taser X3 is a new multi shot electronic control device that can engage multiple targets. It also has the ability to deliver calibrated Neuro Muscular Incapacitation which improves the devices over all safety features. The X3 also includes the Trilogy Log System, which enhances the data that can be retrieved after an event, such as whether or not the probes missed, the wires broke, or only a warning arc (and therefore no suspect contact) was used to gain compliance. The X3 comes with an environmentally-hardened chassis, a display window that, among other things, indicates which cartridge did (or did not) make contact, and a Magnesium Transport Holster that takes up no more space on an officer’s belt that an X26.
Glenn French, a Sergeant with the Sterling Heights (Mich.) Police Department, says, “Since the introduction of the TASER officers all over the country have responded to aggression and resistance with a tool that has become a favorite for effecting arrests in these types of situations. The TASER has been responsible for decreasing injuries to officers as well as the adversaries they encounter on the streets. Until now the only drawbacks were that the TASER was a single use weapon until the officer had a chance to reload a new cartridge and using a single TASER to control multiple suspects wasn’t an option. Leave it to TASER to develop another industry first with a breakthrough multi-shot product. The new X3 provides the ability to deploy a second and third cartridge immediately and can even simultaneously incapacitate up to three subjects with a single X3 unit.”
“I’ll admit it, I was impressed,” says Brantner Smith. “What’s more impressive is Smith’s commitment to the law enforcement community. He and the entire TASER International team are truly all about cops, and it shows in everything they do, say, and manufacture. TASER listens closely to their clients and to their law enforcement instructor cadre, most of them still working cops, and uses that valuable input when designing new products.”
Bennet, who is also a black belt martial artist and PoliceOne columnist on matters related to use of force, defensive tactics, and tactical firearms instruction, cautions, “The one down-side I see to this, especially in these economic times, is that the 'powers-that-be’ at some departments may say it’s cost-prohibitive. But we believe in the TASER and as such, have made the time and financial commitments necessary to properly train and equip our officers.”
Costing about $1,800 — compared with about $800 for an X26 — TASER has given some thought to helping officers and agencies get over that cost hurdle. For departments that already use the X26, TASER offers a generous trade-in program worth between $300 and $800, according to reports.
Brantner Smith concludes, “There are some great perks involved in working for PoliceOne, and one of my favorites is the privilege of covering the this event every year. The TASER team puts on a great multi-media show during the first day of the event, complete with a fog machine, rock music, flashing lights, great guest speakers, and the introduction of even more cutting edge technology designed to help make cops safer, more efficient, and better-protected both tactically and legally.”
“The X3 has just significantly improved the safety of every Blue Warrior working the streets across America,” says French, who is president of the Detroit Special Operations Group tactical training company and, yes, also a PoliceOne columnist. “TASER should be commended for their continued commitment for their support of law enforcement.
The TASER Conference — which continues through the remainder of the week — will also highlight the TASER X12 shotgun, the Shockwave area denial device, the AXON personal video system, Evidence.com (TASER’s new web-based data storage and retrieval solution), and the TASER Foundation. But the star of the show, at least for day one, was definitely the X3, which has a range of about 35 feet and weighs less than two pounds. X3 will be available to law enforcement agencies in late August.