Officers talk Taser safety and its effectiveness with suspects
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SAVANNAH, Tenn. — Officers from across the state trained Friday with what they said is one of the most successful tools they keep around their belt. “They are very effective tools for us to use to accomplish our job while protecting the officer and the suspect,” Savannah Police Chief Gary Will Jr. said. Officers take the course every two years to stay up to date on the most effective and current Taser technology. This training allows them to be instructors with this always evolving use of force. “Laws change, there’s new research that comes out, and equipment changes,” Will said. “The first Tasers look nothing like what is out there today, and the capabilities today are so much more improved.” In a two-day training course, Master Instructor Thomas Ehret said the Taser is a life-saving tool. “Our business in law enforcement is to safely take someone into custody without hurting them or the officer and protect the public at the same time,” said Ehret, who also is an officer with the Columbia Police Department in Middle Tennessee. Sometimes the effects of a Taser can be deadly. “Maybe they have some sort of substance on board,” Ehret said. “They may be excited to be fighting, maybe fleeing, maybe going — different types of things with heart or body.” But instructors said the amount of electricity going through a person’s body is equal to that of a Christmas light bulb. After five seconds, with the exception of muscle soreness, the pain is over. “Life is the No. 1 importance to us,” Ehret said. “We’re trying to keep people from not being injured. We’re not the judge, jury or executioner.” Officers who went through the training are now able to continue as certified instructors and can train other officers in their own departments and across the state.