308.5 TASER GUIDELINES

When properly applied in accordance with this policy, the Taser is considered a non-deadly control device which is intended to temporarily incapacitate a violent or potentially violent individual without causing serious injury. It is anticipated that the appropriate use of such a device will result in fewer serious injuries to officers and suspects.

 

308.51 CARRYING THE TASER

Personnel who have completed approved training may be issued a Taser for use during their current assignment. Personnel leaving a particular assignment may be expected to return their issued Taser to the office’s inventory. Officers shall only use Tasers and cartridges that have been issued or approved by the Sheriff’s Office. The Taser will be carried as a part of a uniformed officer’s equipment in an approved holster.

(a) If the Taser is carried as a part of a uniformed officer’s equipment, the Taser shall not be carried on the same side as the officer’s duty weapon.

(b) All Taser devices shall be clearly and distinctly marked to differentiate them from the officer’s duty weapon and any other device.

(c) Whenever possible, officers shall carry a total of two or more Taser cartridges on their person at all times while carrying a Taser.

(d) Officers shall be responsible for insuring that the Taser is properly maintained and in good working order at all times.

(e) Officers should never hold both a firearm and a Taser at the same time unless lethal force is justified.

 

308.52 VERBAL AND VISUAL WARNINGS

Unless it would otherwise endanger officer safety or is impractical due to circumstances, a verbal announcement of the intended use of the Taser shall precede the application of a Taser device in order to:

(a) Provide the individual with a reasonable opportunity to voluntarily comply.

(b) Provide other officers and individuals with warning that a Taser device may be deployed.

If, after a verbal warning, an individual continues to express an unwillingness to voluntarily comply with an officer’s lawful orders and it appears both reasonable and practical under the circumstances, an officer may, but is not required to display the electrical arc (provided there is not a cartridge loaded into the Taser) or laser in a further attempt to gain compliance prior to the application of the Taser device. The aiming laser should never be intentionally directed into the eyes of another as it may permanently impair their vision. The fact that a verbal and/or other warning was given or reasons it was not given shall be documented in any related reports.

 

308.53 USE OF THE TASER

As with any law enforcement equipment, the Taser has limitations and restrictions requiring consideration before its use. The Taser should only be used when its operator can safely approach the subject within the operational range of the Taser. Although the Taser device rarely fails and is generally effective in subduing most individuals, officers should be aware of this potential and be prepared with other options in the unlikely event of such a failure.

Authorized personnel may use a Taser device when circumstances known to the individual officer at the time indicate that the application of the Taser is reasonable to subdue or control:

(a) A violent or physically resisting subject, or

(b) A potentially violent or physically resisting subject if:

1. The subject has verbally or physically demonstrated an intention to resist; and

2. The officer has given the subject a verbal warning of the intended use of the

Taser followed by a reasonable opportunity to voluntarily comply; and

3. Other available options reasonably appear ineffective or would present a greater danger to the officer or subject.

(c) Although not absolutely prohibited, officers should give additional consideration to the unique circumstances involved prior to applying the Taser to any of the following individuals:

1. Pregnant females;

2. Elderly individuals or obvious juveniles;

3. Individuals who are handcuffed or otherwise restrained;

4. Individuals who have been recently sprayed with alcohol based Pepper Spray or who are otherwise in close proximity to any combustible material;

5. Individuals whose position or activity may result in collateral injury (e.g. falls from height, operating vehicles, etc.)

The Taser device shall not be used to torture, psychologically torment or inflict undue pain on any individual.

 

308.54 REPORT OF USE

All Taser discharges shall be documented in the related arrest/crime report. Accidental discharges of a Taser cartridge will be documented on a memorandum and forwarded to the sheriff through the chain of command. Any report documenting the discharge of a Taser cartridge will include the Taser and cartridge serial number and an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the discharge.

Should a Taser cartridge be required to be retained as evidence or to document a malfunction, the entire cartridge (body, wires, probes) shall be booked into evidence and held pending the outcome and subsequent disposal.

The on-board Taser memory will be downloaded through the data port, and saved with the related arrest/crime report.

 

308.55 MEDICAL TREATMENT

Any person who has been subjected to the electric discharge of a Taser and/or struck by

Taser darts shall be medically cleared prior to being booked. Individuals who have been subjected to the electric discharge of a Taser and/or struck by Taser darts and who are also suspected of being under the influence of controlled substances and/or alcohol should also be examined by paramedics or other qualified medical personnel as soon as practicable.

Further, any person struck with Taser darts or injured by a probe shall be treated by medical personnel as soon as practical after the incident with only qualified medical personnel removing the Taser darts from a person’s body. Used Taser darts shall be considered a sharp biohazard, similar to a used hypodermic needle, and disposed of accordingly.

 

308.56 TRAINING

In addition to the initial approved training required to carry and use a Taser device personnel must be recertified by a Taser instructor annually prior to the continued use of the device.

Notification of recertification will be done by the Training Coordinator. Any personnel who have not carried a Taser as a part of their assignment for a period of six months or more shall be recertified by an approved Taser instructor prior to again carrying or using the device. A reassessment of an officer’s knowledge and/or practical skill may be required at any time if deemed appropriate by the Training Coordinator.

Officers shall only use Tasers and cartridges that have been issued or approved by the Sheriff’s Office. The Taser will be carried as a part of a uniformed officer’s equipment in an approved holster.

(a) If the Taser is carried as a part of a uniformed officer’s equipment, the Taser shall not be carried on the same side as the officer’s duty weapon.

(b) All Taser devices shall be clearly and distinctly marked to differentiate them from the officer’s duty weapon and any other device.

(c) Whenever possible, officers shall carry a total of two or more Taser cartridges on their person at all times while carrying a Taser.

(d) Officers shall be responsible for insuring that the Taser is properly maintained and in good working order at all times.

(e) Officers should never hold both a firearm and a Taser at the same time unless lethal force is justified.