I wish we could all put this to rest, already. TASERs work. The Thomas A. Swift Electronic Rifle (named by the inventor, who was a fan of the children’s books) sends electricity through the body and incapacitates the recipient. In doing so, it saves lives — cops’ lives and suspects’ lives. Period.
However as a Canadian officer correctly points out, the alternative is often the use of a firearm — deadly force to be sure. Taser’s own website (admittedly a for-profit company) indicates numbers that are so drastically in favor of TASER deployment, that argument is difficult.
If you don’t trust the company that makes them, how about the departments that use them. In almost all major police departments, the TASER is considered “intermediate” force. That means it can be used when someone is fighting, charging, threatening to injure or kill, or displaying a non-deadly weapon at the police. With the TASER, that individual is immediately and effectively incapacitated. I was “TASERED” in the police academy. It hurt. But one minute later I was fine. The same could not be said of a steel baton to the knee (guaranteed lifetime injury), a bite by a police dog (arrgh), or a gunshot (duh!).
Watch the video here, and ask yourself the single, key, and only question about TASERS: Would I rather get hit with this, or one of the alternatives. The dog in the background of this video is ready to take care of business. I think the suspect himself explains the benefits of the TASER better than I ever could. That should settle the argument.
Sometimes police work is ugly. That is the suspects’ fault, not the cops’. Remember my favorite quote:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
I have a bunch of “dumb criminal” stories milling about smartly in my head. Once in a while I see one that just makes the ‘A’ list. Check out the genius who left his pants at the scene of a burglary. But wait, there’s more. He didn’t limit the idiocy to depositing his pants at the scene (possibly forgivable, since he was fighting with the homeowner / victim.) He left them there with pockets full of stolen property from other crimes in the same neighborhood.
Every so often during my tenure as a detective, I would sit on the witness stand and describe for the jury what the suspect had done. As I heard the words come out of my mouth I would think to myself, “thank god they are still dumb, or we might not catch anyone!”
One of my pet peeves has always been the genius who refuses to listen to a uniformed officer giving a simple, lawful, and clear order (see this post for an example.)
Without judging the specific tactics, I think my point is well made in the video below. That drunk should have listened.
I have to admit that sometimes I just don’t get it. I have spent over ten years squarely on the “cop side” of most every dispute. When the union wants to pressure the management, I have their back. When the city offers a terrible contract, I write letters. I am, pardon the cliche, a cop’s cop.
But I have to call B.S. when I see it. The Associated Press is reporting in this article that the New York City police union is suing to prevent mandatory alcohol breath testing after an officer fires their weapon. The union representative apparently sees no reason to subject his constituents to, “the humiliation and psychological trauma” of a mandatory breath test.
I have probably administered 500 of those things and I assure you the humiliation and trauma is no more than that experienced when blowing up a balloon. Arguably less, since balloons make you look so silly. I simply cannot fathom why a police officer who just shot or shot at someone would want to hide their sobriety status. Continue Reading
I certainly hope I am wrong, but I think we might be looking at the next “incident” in police work coming to us soon from Florida. See this article and video for the details, but in summary, here is what happened:
A young girl was being arrested for stealing things. That is because stealing is wrong. Then she resisted lawful efforts to handcuff her. That is wrong, too. Then she bit the police officer. Still wrong. Eventually the police officer grew tired of all this malarkey and punched the suspect once, pepper sprayed and arrested her. That is allowed.
The cop did right, the suspect did wrong. So that’s the end of this post, right?
Not so fast.
You see, there is a problem in this video; one that is clear as day, but many of you might have missed it. In this video, the cop is white and the suspect is not. That will make this arrest an “issue.” It shouldn’t, but it will. Note the interview in the news video. She is concerned that the cop did not explain what he was doing, and that he did not read the girl her rights. What? Her rights? Should he have done that before or after the bite? Continue Reading
It never ceases to amaze me. From time to time I stand at a critical or dangerous incident and think, “what on earth are you thinking?” I started this as a young patrol officer when suspects would continue to fight with 3, 4, or 5 police officers who were subduing them. Sometimes I would say out-loud, “Dude, do you think you can actually win this…knock it off!” Of course that was generally ineffective.
Anyhow, last shift the officers who work for me had to arrest a guy for beating up his wife. Nothing too serious on the injuries, but he was going to jail for certain. Who is there to arrest him? Count with me here, folks: three armed police officers (guns drawn), one police sergeant, one police canine (sounding quite hungry) and the Philosophical Cop.