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Sherman police say taser guns are a vital part of law enforcement, and are a proven to be safe. Tasers have come under fire in recent months, especially after a man died this weekend in Ft Worth, moments after officers stunned him 3 times.
Sherman police say when used properly, the guns protect officers, and in the end result in fewer injuries for the suspect, who is spared the use of lethal force.
The Grayson County Sheriff's Office is outfitting their deputies with tasers this month. Sherman uses 10 of the guns while Denison uses 4.
Below is a study by an independent researcher that found tasers are relatively safe.
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
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
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
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."
To download a full copy of the Potomac Institute's report "Efficacy and
Safety of Electrical Stun Devices," visit www.PotomacInstitute.org.
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.