Matt Arntzen, a police officer at St. Paul, Mn.’s Arlington High School, now wears a Taser as he makes his rounds, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. All St. Paul officers stationed in middle schools and high schools added Tasers to their belts this week, making St. Paul police the first in Minnesota to use the devices in schools.
The school officers already carry guns and a chemical irritant. “You want to be able to use a force that minimizes the risk of injury,” said Paul Schnell, a police spokesman. “When you first hear about it, before you give it any thought, it really kind of scares you a little bit,” said Bill Dunn, principal at Arlington. “The whole sense is they’re out there zapping people like Captain Kirk – holy smokes. But it’s not like that at all.” In his two and one half years on the force, Arntzen has used his chemical irritant maybe four times, usually to break up fights between students. A Taser could have been used in some of those situations, he said, including an incident at a junior high where an eighth-grade girl bit him. With a Taser, “it would never have gotten to the biting point,” he said.