Taser Training: A KAKE News Special Report

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fifty thousand volts of electricity shot through the body.

Law enforcement officers use the Taser to subdue suspects. Many of those officers have been tased themselves, but because of dozens of injuries during training, many departments have stopped the practice.

However, Wichita and Sedgwick County still have their officers get the Taser training despite the risks.

It is often called "taking a ride" or "riding the lighting." It's a right of passage, say law enforcement recruits being hit with 50,000 volts of electricity from a Taser.

"If we are going to be using this, I want to know the effects," said Sedgwick County Sheriff recruit Matt Trelow. "I'm nervous, but I know I got to do it to do the job, so I want to do it."

A majority of Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputies and Wichita Police Officers carry the Taser, a device that locks up the body and allows the officer to control the suspect.

"Ours is voluntary," said an instructor. "None of them is told they have to do it. It's all voluntary."

However, many law enforcement departments across the country have chosen to stop tasing their recruits altogether. That move was made after Taser CEO Patrick Smith admitted during a deposition there have been several dozen major injuries.

A Taser fractured the vertebrae of a Dallas Police officer during training. He is one of many suing the company.

However, local law enforcement continues the practice, saying it advises everyone of the risks beforehand and gives each and everyone of their trainees a choice.

Wichita Police started using the Taser in 2006, reporting 10 very minor injuries to officers and recruits while training. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says it has had no injuries to officers while training.


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