Potomac Institute for Policy Studies Affirms the Relative Safety and Effectiveness of Electrical Stun Devices
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), a market leader in advanced non-lethal devices announced the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies report concerning the efficacy and safety of electrical stun devices.
The independent study, sponsored by the not-for-profit public policy research institute analyzed issues related to stun devices, including TASER(tm) brand devices brought together experts in medical, industry, policy, military, and law enforcement fields. The report concluded that while further medical testing should continue, when used appropriately, stun technology is relatively safe and clearly effective.
"We are encouraged by the findings of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies," said Rick Smith, CEO of TASER International. "The report is consistent with the results that we continue to see every day in reports from field uses and clearly supports the overall view that TASER technology is relatively safe and effective."
"TASER technology is a revolutionary, paradigm-shifting technology. As such, it has drawn much attention as its use in law enforcement has expanded rapidly over the past few years. Given its rapid adoption and dramatic impact, it has drawn significant public attention, and many questions have been raised by law enforcement 'watch-dog' groups. Studies such as this week's Potomac Institute report, last week's release of extensive test results from the Home Office in the United Kingdom, and the 2004 report from the United States Department of Defense's Human Effects Center of Excellence are providing valuable, independently validated answers to these concerns. These findings clearly indicate why TASER technology has been adopted so widely - because it saves lives and reduces injuries compared to more traditional use of force options. We continue to encourage additional independent testing and welcome further review," concluded Smith.
- "Overall, currently available information supports the view that when used appropriately stun technology is relatively safe. However, the Potomac Institute strongly recommends that additional research be conducted at the organism, organ, tissue, and cell levels. The community needs to better understand the specific effects of varying electrical wave forms on organic matter in the immediate time frame of stun application, and in the downstream time course as well, to include possible psychiatric and other non-lethal effects.
- The Potomac Institute adopted the FDA philosophy to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of stun devices. The FDA model considers the risks associated with a device relative to its efficacy, and considers no product to be completely free of risk.
- The last, and only, federal level regulatory type review of stun device safety was conducted in 1976, by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The available technology at that time was found not likely to cause death in normally healthy adults.
- Odds for stunning to contribute to (this does not imply "cause") death are, at worst, one in one thousand. The ratio of lives saved to lives lost exceeds 70:1. By comparison, the similar ratio for air bags in automobiles is approximately 50:1.
- Upon examining the 72 mortality cases appearing in the Amnesty International 2004 report on stun device use, in no instance was stun employment implicated singularly as the cause of death, although the application of stun devices could not be ruled out as a possible contributing factor. These cases showed that other contributing factors, including pre-existing morbidity (such as heart disease), excessive drug ingestion, and multiple force applications (baton, wrestling, stunning) could have also led to the deaths.
- Available animal modeling conducted by a government laboratory offers indirect evidence of the relative safety of currently available stun devices.
- There are no industry standards, regulatory agencies, or federal restrictions or guidelines, for stun devices. The Potomac Institute recommends establishing government-endorsed standards that will contribute significantly to better understanding of this technology domain.
- Although some law enforcement organizations offer exemplary use of force rules, there is no agreed upon point for placement of stun devices on a use of force continuum.
- The report shows that there is no universally accepted terminology or definition for non-lethal weapons within the stun device industry or among users of the technology. The Potomac Institute suggests the adoption of the Department of Defense definition for non-lethal technology, which focuses on the intent of the technology and not the outcome of the use of the device.
- Direct evidence of safety can be drawn from law enforcement agency reports, which provide statistics on situational use and employment results
- Indirect evidence of efficacy of stun devices can be determined from the increased acquisition of stun devices by law enforcement agencies. Some organizations other than law enforcement agencies have actively voiced support for stun device use as a non-lethal force option."
About Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society, providing in particular, an academic forum for the study of related policy issues. From these discussions and forums, the Institute develops meaningful science and technology policy options and ensures their implementation at the intersection of business and government. The Institute's current endeavors have required the formation of special efforts in:
TASER International, Inc. provides advanced non-lethal devices for use in the law enforcement, military, private security and personal defense markets. TASER devices use proprietary technology to safely incapacitate dangerous, combative or high-risk subjects who pose a risk to law enforcement officers, innocent citizens or themselves. TASER technology saves lives every day, and the use of TASER devices dramatically reduces injury rates for police officers and suspects and reduces litigation costs. For more information on TASER life-saving technology, please call TASER International at (800) 978-2737 or visit our website at www.TASER.com.