October 25, 2004
Human Effects Center of Excellence (HECOE) Report Concludes TASER® Technology is Generally Safe and Effective
Report shows TASER technology reduces injury rates for police officers and suspects
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), a market leader in advanced non-lethal weapons, announced today that a Department of Defense (DoD) study by the Human Effects Center of Excellence (HECOE) concludes that TASER technology is generally effective without significant risk of unintended results. HECOE, established by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, conducted a Human Effectiveness and Risk Characterization (HERC) of TASER Electromuscular Disruption (EMD) devices.
"The HECOE study is the latest chapter in a series of comprehensive medical and scientific studies which conclude that TASER technology is safe and effective," said Rick Smith, CEO of TASER International, Inc. "This study re-affirms the life-saving value of TASER technology and is consistent with the recent independent findings of researchers in the United Kingdom and Canada," stated Mr. Smith.
The HECOE report summary concludes that TASER technology is not likely the primary factor in the cause of in-custody fatalities. "Based on the documentation and research reviewed, this report concludes that EMI is likely not the primary causative factor in reported fatalities." Comparison of instances where TASER devices were not used versus those involving TASER device usage shows no significant relationship between the use of TASER technology and death. Furthermore, ventricular fibrillation (VF) is not expected to occur in otherwise healthy adult populations, although data are too limited to evaluate probabilities for potentially sensitive populations or for alternative patterns of exposure. However, the report states no cases of VF have been reported in thousands of training or field exposure conditions.
Additionally, the study indicates that increased use of TASER devices has decreased the overall injury rate of both police officers and suspects in conflict situations when compared to alternative uses of force.
The research was the culmination of a multi-faceted scientific approach, consistent with the National Academy of Sciences and the Society for Risk Analysis recommendations and standards.
Three workshops were conducted as part of the risk characterization. The first, a data-sharing workshop, identified possible sources of relevant data and determined any insufficiencies in effectively evaluating TASER devices. The second, a peer consultation workshop, outlined potential data gaps, identified additional sources of data, and provided feedback on preliminary strategies for completing dose-response and exposure assessments. At the third workshop, an Independent External Review Panel submitted comments and recommendations that were incorporated into the formal HECOE document.
According to the report summary, "Overall, the results indicate that the use of the TASER M26 and X26, as intended, will generally be effective in inducing the desired temporarily incapacitating effect without presenting a significant risk of unintended severe effects."
As it relates to the issue of in custody deaths, the report also states:
"The occurrence of in-custody deaths has been reported in conjunction with use of TASER devices. However, there are several arguments against any predominant role of EMI in arrest-related deaths. In previous epidemiological reports, deaths were often attributed to illicit drug intoxication in suspects. Although these reports address incidents involving EMI waveforms different from those of the M26 and X26, drug intoxication has been associated with in-custody deaths under a number of circumstances, regardless of how the subjects were subdued. Contemporary medical opinion supports the view that the drug intoxication itself may cause or predispose one to underlying vulnerability. Based on the documentation and research reviewed, this report concludes that EMI is likely not the primary causative factor in reported fatalities. It does recommend further research on EMI exposure in sensitive populations and EMI-drug interactions."
"This comprehensive independent study further supports the safety of TASER conducted energy devices," commented Mr. Smith. "The HECOE report adds to the growing number of government and medical studies that have validated the safety and effectiveness of this impressive new technology".
About TASER International, Inc.
TASER International, Inc. provides advanced non-lethal weapons for use in the law enforcement, private security, and personal defense markets. Its flagship ADVANCED TASER® M26 product uses proprietary technology to incapacitate dangerous, combative, or high-risk subjects that may be impervious to other non-lethal means. Its latest product, the TASER X26 is 60% smaller and lighter than the ADVANCED TASER M26 and reduces injury rates to suspects and officers, thereby lowering liability risk and improving officer safety. TASER® technology is currently in testing or deployment at over 5,500 law enforcement and correctional agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Call 480-991-0797 or visit our website at www.TASER.com to learn more about the new standard in non-lethal weapons.