Shepherdsville, Ky., police officer Kenneth Proffitt volunteered to be shot with a Taser, which sends a 50,000-volt electrical charge through the body. The Louisville Courier-Journal says the 6-foot, 179 pound Proffitt fell to the floor like a dumbbell thrown out a window when he was hit in the back with the Taser’s two probes. “I couldn’t move,” Proffitt said. “I felt it, and I wanted it to stop. It was a long five seconds.” By mid-March, Shepherdsville police will become the second Louisville-area department to equip officers with Tasers.
Jeffersontown Chief Fred Roemele said the weapons can mean the difference between life and death for officers and suspects. Instead of firing a handgun at a combative person, his officers can temporarily debilitate that person with the Taser. At $800 apiece, they’re not cheap. Last week’s Shepherdsville demonstration was to allow the public and City Council to see how the weapons work.
Police officers nationwide say the electric jolt is an effective way to prevent fatal shootings. They’re typically used when police encounter combative people or suicidal people who may try to provoke an officer into shooting them with a handgun. More than 3,500 departments in North America use Tasers, according to Taser International, the Arizona manufacturer.