Set Tasers to stun!

No, it's not a line from Star Trek, the Sioux Falls police aren't carrying some new fangled laser weapon, but there are a group of officers on the force now armed with this new non-lethal weapon, besides the expandable batons and pepper spray already use.

The Sioux Falls police department recently purchased 116 Tasers and thirty-five officers have already been trained as instructors and will continue to get the rest of the force up to speed with the newly employed weapon during the next few months.

Police Chief Doug Barthel said officers have used the new Tasers already, one was activated after a disorderly man began fighting with officers on Sunday.

Police received a call on Sunday March 8, about a disorderly man in the 1300 block of East Fifth Street near Lincoln High School. When officers approached the 37-year-old man, he became defensive and told officers he did not want to speak with them, according to police spokesman Sam Clemens. As police attempted to grab him, Clemens said he began fighting with them. During the incident another officer arrived and used his Taser on the man.


Two officers received minor injuries during the scuffle.

The Sioux Falls police department spent several months researching and training with Tasers, before they decided to employ them into service last week.

Police Chief Doug Barthel said, "Tasers reduce the risk of injury to both officers and suspects."

During the Taser training process, some police officers were given the opportunity to experience a tasing themselves. One of those officers was, Sgt. Jon Thum.

According to Thum, "It just locks you up, you're simply not able to respond in an aggressive manner."

The Taser deployment lasts roughly five seconds and incapacitates the person for that period of time. The person still is able to think and understand what is happening around them, but verbal and physical communication is not possible.

Barthel said it's not the departments goal to start using Tasers more often than other forms of defense available to police. But, the use of Tasers does provide officers with additional ways to reduce injuries.

The ultimate goal is compliance, said Barthel.

You should be able to tell if an officer is packing a Taser quite easily however. They're fairly big and bright yellow.

Source: Argus Leader 

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