The second week of the Covington Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy included education on how patrol units function and a hands-on Taser demonstration for willing participants.
Sergeant Asher Dozier began the evening with an in depth explanation of how the Police Department utilizes its officers for patrol, breaking the city into four zones and dedicating a certain number of officers to each zone. Dozier also explained the gear that each officer wears including a recording device.
The second portion of the program included a demonstration by Sergeant Allen Martin of the Taser X2 carried by Covington Officers. The Taser delivers a current that replicates brain waves used to control muscle movements, essentially jamming the nervous system and rendering the person getting tTased alert, but unable to move.
The biggest advantage to using a non-lethal Taser is the reduced number of injuries to both officers and those they are trying to detain.
“Tasers give officers the greatest compliance from a non-lethal weapon we have ever had,” Police Chief Stacey Cotton said. “It has greatly reduced the injuries sustained to both officers and citizens because it takes the physicality of subduing someone almost entirely out of the equation.
“Unfortunately, there are myths about the Taser being lethal that just aren’t true. Fortunately, we can use tools like the Citizen’s Academy to help us dispel those myths. Every Covington officer must be tased before they are permitted to carry a Taser.”
The Taser delivers approximately 10,000 to 15,000 volts but an extremely low amperage, which is what can cause fatalities. Immediately after the current from the taser is stopped, the recipient is essentially unphased physically, but typically has a different mental outlook on the situation.
“A 110 volt outlet delivers 16 amps,” Lieutenant Mike Tinsley said. “A Christmas light delivers 1 amp, which can actually be fatal. The Taser only delivers .0036 amps so it is essentially harmless to the human body.
“As far as the voltage goes, the Taser delivers approximately 10,000 volts, but to put that number in perspective, the static electricity you get from walking on carpet can produce more than 15,000 volts.”
Approximately 8 people in the 20-person class volunteered to be tased or ‘take a ride’ as it is affectionately known as by law enforcement officers.
“It was probably the longest three seconds of my life,” participant Trey Sanders said. “It got worse with every passing second, but after the experience I can certainly see why it is such an effective tool for officers. Your muscles lock up but you are very aware and you can’t do anything but wait for the seconds to pass. Immediately after the first tase is over, you feel completely normal, but I can’t imagine anyone not complying with the officer’s requests.”
The Covington Police Department has been equipping officers with Tasers for nearly 10 years and just upgraded from the Taser X26 to the Taser X2. The Taser X2 provides the ability to tase two people at once and relies on a computer in the Taser to deliver differing amounts of voltage depending on numerous variables. A Taser X2 with cartridges and battery costs approximately $1,200.