Tasers will be issued to all Louisville Metro Police officers and sergeants–1,000 in all– beginning this week, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. The weapons should increase officers’ options in dealing with aggressive or combative people and perhaps reduce the need for deadly force, said Lt. Kevin DeSpain. Tasers fire two probes attached to 21-foot wires that send 50,000 volts of electricity into a person. The shock causes the person to lose muscle control during the 5-second jolt.
Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 19, Tasers have been used in 23 incidents, with officers firing them 26 times. Four of those firings were accidental, while officers checked their equipment. The Tasers did not work properly seven times, either because the probes did not connect or the weapon malfunctioned. In the remaining 15 firings, the Taser worked as expected. These cases included incidents involving suicidal people with knives, combative suspects resisting arrest, and emotionally disturbed people who fought with officers. One Taser was used on a pit bull that was chasing people.