Electronic Control Device (Taser)
The electronic control device (ECD) also known as a TASER ECD is a weapon that is widely used and recognized in the field of law enforcement. The ECD is considered a “non-deadly” use-of-force and is a tool that law enforcement officers can use to control a subject who is violent or is about to become violent. The Taser is a safe way to maintain control of a subject without causing serious injury.
The electronic control device is effective and helps to reduce injuries caused by the suspect and officer. With the use of the ECD, patrol officers have another option on their duty belt to prevent from going hands on and increasing the chance of injury.
This description is explained to new officers and individuals who are not familiar with the electronic control device.
The electronic control device is a little smaller than a handgun and is made up of two parts. The first part is the Taser cartridge which is the “ammo” for the ECD. The other part is the mechanism in which the cartridge is attached. The cartridge snaps into the front of the ECD.
The Taser has a safety switch on the side of mechanism. When the safe is on there is a green letter that says “S.” When the ECD is ready for use the safe must be turned off (by flipping the switch) and once the safe is off, there will be a red laser light that will turn on. The laser can then be pointed at the subject that needs to be controlled. Once the laser is on the suspect, the officer then pulls the trigger and two probes shoot out of the cartridge and attach to the suspect either by hooking onto the clothing or skin. The ECD sends an electric current through two copper wires that have a prong on each end. This causes a shock to the suspect and depending on where the probes land, it causes the subject to be “immobilized.” According to the makers of TASER,
The probes deployed from a TASER ECD carry fine wires that connect to the target and deliver the TASER into his neural network. These pulses delivered by the TASER ECD overwhelm the normal nerve traffic, causing involuntary muscle contractions and impairment of motor skills. (TASER, 2011)
“The TASER ECD pulses mimic the electrical signals used within the human body to communicate between the brain and the muscles. The TASER ECD simulates the pulsed communications used within the nerves, and interferes with communication – like static on the telephone lines within the body” (TASER, 2011).
The Taser ECD uses a cycle for each trigger pull that is approximately set for “five seconds.” The Taser ECD can be used for numerous cycles if the subject is not cooperating. Once the subject is controlled, it is important to remove the probes safely from the subject.
The TASER ECD is an effective tool to use to help prevent serious injuries to the officer and subject involved. The officer comes in contact with a resisting subject, and uses the TASER to control the subject. The officer turns the safe off, points the laser on the subject and avoids pointing it at the subject’s head. Once the trigger is pulled, two probes shoot out of the cartridge and attach to the subject, while the electrical current travels through the wires and causes “immobilization.”
TASER, (2011). How a TASER ECD works. Retrieved on August 22, 2011 from