Are police over-using tasers? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Are police over-using tasers?


In just five seconds an electronic control device, commonly known as a taser, fires electrical probes giving your body a shock.

While many law enforcement officers have it, some say it's over used.

However, Sgt. Cristy Hamblin with the Cedar Rapids Police Department says every officer carrying a taser has gone through extensive training and procedures to properly use it.

Every officer has also tased themselves, so they know exactly how that electric shock really feels.

"It's really just another tool that we carry on our belt," says Hamblin. "We can train every possible scenario, but unfortunately the police officers aren't in control of that scenario. It's the individual that has the other weapon."

Sgt. Hamblin says officers have many options when it comes to defusing a situation, from simply telling an individual to comply, to the use of a firearm.

Though she says it all depends on the person's compliance to the officers orders.

"Once they have either seen or heard about it being utilized, a lot of times you can see with our statistics, even just the deployment of it, that alone may be a deterrent in itself as well," says Hamblin. 

In 2013 the department deployed a taser as use of force 29 times and displayed the weapon 12, something they say shows even the non-use of it, is effective.

"With the use of the electronic controlled device, it is for five-second bursts and at the end of that five seconds, they make that determination whether they're going to comply with the officer's orders," says Hamblin.

The police department have internal mechanisms in place, that help them evaluate an officer's utilization of the taser as the best option, but that's measured on a case-by-case basis.

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