Tasers issued to local troopers

UNION GAP - Troopers from Yakima and Sunnyside were issued tasers Tuesday and Wednesday of this week during eight-hour courses taught by Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Tegard of the agency's training division.

The TASER X26 is a non-lethal weapon that can immediately stop a subject who poses a risk to law enforcement officers, citizens or themselves.

No long-term injury is caused by using this method of control. Only minor skin irritation may result, depending on the location of impact from the small probes of the device.

Recovery is quick and though the person may be dazed for several seconds, the electrical pulse emitted from the taser shuts off upon impact.

Therefore, the Washington State Patrol has chosen the weapon to enhance the ability to serve the public, as the agency is "...always looking at technological advances," according to patrol officials.

They state that the technology has been around for a while, and they feel the taser "...holds the benefit of reducing injury to both officers and suspects by providing a less lethal force option to overcome subjects who pose a combative, dangerous or high-risk to others."

The troopers are trained with five hours of classroom work and three hours of practical training. They must "...demonstrate knowledge and proficiency with the taser." Troopers are also required to be "tased" before using the taser, meaning they receive exposure to the TASER X26 to increase confidence in the weapon and develop empathy for the individuals whom they will use the device on, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The TASER X26 has not been blamed for any deaths and the manufacturer states that more than 60,000 persons in live fire scenarios and more than 100,000 volunteers have been exposed to the effects of the weapon.

The joules emitted by the TASER X26 are currently set at .36, "...well below the 10 to 50 joule threshold above which cardiac ventricular fibrillation can occur," according to Washington State Patrol officials.



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