Police Credit New TASER with Saving 'A Very Bad Situation'
MUNCIE, IN - A new police weapon prevented a bad situation from getting worse last weekend when an officer shocked a man who had threatened to harm his children, officials said Monday.
The weapon, which became part of the Muncie police arsenal last spring, is an electric TASER that hits a target with 26 watts of electricity. On Saturday, Muncie police Sgt. Jay Turner used his TASER to stun Malcom Hayes after family members reported that Hayes was standing on the third-floor balcony of his Creekside apartment and was threatening to harm his children, ages 3 and 1.
"That had all of the ingredients to be a very bad situation," Muncie Deputy Police Chief James Peters said. "A lot of bad things could have happened on that balcony."
When police arrived at Creekside, Hayes refused to talk to them. Instead, he talked only to 911 dispatchers. One of the officers who was standing outside of the apartment distracted Hayes while Turner and two other patrolman sneaked into the apartment. Turner shot Hayes with a TASER. The incident was captured on videotape, which police released to The Star Press on Monday. "Everything turned out real well ... my boys are OK," said Hayes's wife, Tracy, who was at work during the hour-long standoff. "It's better than the days before the TASER guns ... when they would have come in and shot him," she added. "God only knows if my kids would be in the crossfire."
After the incident, Malcom Hayes, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was taken to Ball Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted to the psychiatric care ward. When he is released from the hospital, he will be preliminarily charged with neglect of a dependent, police said. According to police reports, when Hayes was shot with the TASER, he thought he was dead. He looked at Turner and asked him if he was God. "I told him no," Turner said. "If we didn't have a TASER we would had to have called the SWAT team, a hostage negotiator and several more police officers. We wanted this to end quickly. All of us out there were parents." In March, the Muncie Police Department, bought nine TASER guns at a cost of $700 each. All road supervisors are required to carry them. Peters said he would evaluate the program next spring and discuss plans to expand it. So far, the police department has used the TASERs twice. In April, a police officer fired and missed a man he was trying to subdue. TASERs generally are not used in hostage situations. The most common uses of TASERs are to prevent people from committing suicide and to gain control of violent people who are intoxicated, said Steve Tuttle of TASER International, the company that sold the devices to MPD. Of the 2,700 departments in the country that have TASERs, 200 of them require their officers to carry the weapon on their gun belts with conventional guns, Tuttle said.
Peters said he didn't know whether MPD would institute such a policy. "These TASERs are getting used an enormous amount of time [nationwide] because they are effective, they are not hurting individuals and the officers are not getting hurt," Tuttle said. "At the end of the day, a life is not lost and the department is saving dollars."
About TASER International, Inc.
TASER International, Inc. provides advanced less-lethal weapons for use in the law enforcement, private security and personal defense markets. Our flagship ADVANCED TASER® product has reduced officer injuries by over 80% in the Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office, and reduced suspect injuries by over 72% in the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department. The ADVANCED TASER is saving lives, reducing liability and creating safer jobs in over 2,400 law enforcement agencies worldwide.
For further information contact Steve Tuttle, Director of Government Affairs at Steve@TASER.com or call 800-978-2737 ext. 2006. Visit the company's website at www.TASER.com for facts and video and preview www.TASERX26.com for hints to the TASER X26 technology.