Murfreesboro Police implement Taser guns

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2006

MURFREESBORO – Criminals who make the choice to not cooperate with the Murfreesboro Police Department may be in for a shock.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darryl Rowe was eager to show off his department’s new equipment here Tuesday.

Chief Rowe and all of his officers were recently trained and certified in the use of Taser guns purchased by the City of Murfreesboro.

&uot;The introduction of this equipment further allows our law enforcement officers to serve the community in a safer, more efficient manner,&uot; Rowe explained. &uot;Police agencies are always concerned with risk management. The Tasers allow us to safely bring many potentially dangerous events to a positive conclusion.&uot;

Rowe explained the new technology that allows Tasers to be such an effective tool in police work.

&uot;This Taser is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessors as well as the units that are sold to the general public.&uot; Rowe said.

The X-26, manufactured by Taser International, is smaller than the units formerly used by law enforcement agencies and its digital features have made it the top choice among law enforcement officers according to &uot;Police&uot; magazine.

&uot;This unit has a an infrared sighting as well connectivity to computers so that agencies can monitor the usage of the unit in the field.&uot; Rowe continued. &uot;Coupled with the fact that all of our patrol cars have cameras, we have moved our police work into the digital era and reduced the risk of collateral damage to citizens, officers and even criminal suspects.&uot;

The Tasers can connect to most desktops computers A chip installed in the unit will give the officer a readout of how many times the Taser has been used and the duration of electrical charges inflicted on a suspect.

A far cry from the days where officers were forced to use brute strength or chemical agents to subdue a suspect, the Tasers will immediately incapacitate an individual without causing serious injury or death.

&uot;When situations that may require the use of force unfold, there has always been the concern of injuries to officers on the scene or innocent bystanders,&uot; Chief Rowe explained. &uot;My job as Police Chief is to protect the citizens, the officers and even criminal suspects in the most efficient way possible. This equipment moves us in the right direction to address those concerns.&uot;

The City of Murfreesboro has joined other local agencies in the implementation of the X-26 units. Currently, police departments in Ahoskie, Woodland and Rich Square, as well Bertie and Hertford county deputies use the updated Tasers. Rowe said the delay in his department securing the units was strictly budgetary.

&uot;The units are not cheap,&uot; Rowe said.

The X-26 retails for about $800 each and the cartridges for the unit, which are only good for one use, run about $20.

Each member of the Murfreesboro P.D. went through six hours of instruction on the proper use of the Taser. Each officer was forced to endure a Taser shot themselves.

&uot;It took one example for me to appreciate the effectiveness of this unit,&uot; Rowe joked. &uot;I was immediately unable to move even though I was coherent of everything going on around me. There is a videotape somewhere with me getting a jolt, but I’ll try to make sure that it doesn’t surface anywhere.&uot;

Rowe said the best way he can describe the feeling is for a person to imagine having a cramp from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet.

The units do not present any further hazard when used in wet conditions such as rain or a suspect fleeing in water.

Murfreesboro citizens will notice police officers wearing what appears to be two gun holsters from now on, one for the traditional firearm, the other for the Taser.

&uot;If a Taser is used in a situation, it really is the decision of the suspect, not the officer,&uot; Rowe stated. &uot;The lowest level of force used by my officers is their presence. Only a suspect can force the officer to escalate his methods of control.&uot;