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Sun, Sept. 19

WPD receives shocking new equipment<br>

Williams Police Department Volunteer Roxen Cureton — being assisted by Forest Service officers and overseen by WPD detective and firearms instructor, Robert McCarty — gets a feel for what it’s like to be hit by a tazer gun. The WPD recently acquired tazers for all its officers and as part of the training, users are required to experience at least a two-second jolt for themselves.

“I believe all agencies and officers everywhere should be armed with these devices to prevent both officer and suspect injuries,” said WPD Detective and Firearms Instructor Robert McCarty. “No cop should leave home without one.”

The WPD has 14 tazers and has now outfitted all its officers. Volunteers of the department will be given the devices for certain situations, such as prisoner transport.

The tazers take the shape of a handgun, but without the bullets. Instead, a firing cartridge is placed on the end of the lithium battery-powered gun, which deploys two darts (or probes) attached to insulated steel wires when the trigger is pulled. The probes — powerful enough to penetrate up to two inches of clothing — then transmit a 50,000-volt intermittent charge using a small four-miliamp current for up to five seconds. A four-miliamp current translates to only 0.4 joules of energy and in comparison, a typical hospital defibrillator uses about 150-400 joules.

Since the current is so small, it isn’t strong enough to penetrate the ribcage or deep into the body, leaving the heart and other internal organs completely untouched. It is even safe for those with pacemakers, affecting only the skeletal muscles lining the outside of the body. Make no mistake, however — the affect is strong enough to bring down a buffalo.

What occurs is called electromuscular disruption, meaning the device interrupts the brain and spinal cord’s transmission of signals to the musculature. The device has no lasting side effects and usually, the only injuries that occur are from the suspect falling down after being hit.

Once the firing cartridge has been deployed, it is discarded, but the tazer can still be applied directly to the subject and used if need be. The device’s lithium battery has a shelf life of 10 years and can be fully discharged 300 times. The guns have a price tag of $804 while the deployment cartridges cost $18 each.

McCarty reports that in agencies where use of tazers has been implemented, injuries to officers and suspects, use of deadly force, insurance claims and so on, have all decreased by about 70-80 percent.

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