Police officers receive Taser training

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Conductive energy weapons see minimal use, but ‘a very important tool’

Subduing someone with electricity is normally preferable to shooting someone with a bullet.

AMHERST – Police officers would rather do neither, but this week updated their training on the latter. Several members of the Amherst Police Department received a refresher on using a conductive energy weapon, known commonly by the brand name Taser.

“It’s another tool on the tool belt that police officers have to do their job,” said Const. Chris Jobe, who was instructing several fellow officers with Const. Tim Hunter. “I’ve been involved in a number of situations where the Taser has been very effective in gaining compliance over somebody potentially dangerous, with knives or whatnot.”

Officers must be trained on using the weapons once every two years.

Conductive energy weapons have not seen a lot of use in Cumberland County, but there have been situations where they were useful, according to Jobe. The last time he used one on the job was as a member of the county’s street crime unit, in subduing a barricaded suspect wielding a sword in Springhill last summer.

Sometimes the weapons can be helpful even without firing them, he explained.

“There are situations where an officer may draw a Taser and turn it on, then give verbal commands, and that gains compliance right away from the subject,” said Jobe. “Just the officer’s presence, displaying it, and letting them know, is enough for somebody to say they don’t want to do this.”

Over a period of a few days, the Amherst officers came off their street duty for the eight-hour training sessions, which included shooting a non-electrical line into a heavily clothed officer posing as a “bad guy.” Training then moved upstairs in the former town hall building, where several scenarios with moving targets were arranged.

At the end of the day, officers are trained on what Jobe described as a valuable piece of equipment.

“If not for that tool being available to us, different results may occur,” he said. “We may have to use a higher level of force, when you never want to use any more force than is necessary. It’s a very important tool to have on our tool belts.”

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Amherst Police Department

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Springhill

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  • Tyler
    March 25, 2014 - 14:17

    Even though it is "non-lethal" it is still dangerous. Use this tool wisely ladies gentleman...