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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Still No TASERs in Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan)

June 25, 2009

Discover Moose Jaw

Its a controversial tool that most police departments around the world use to try and prevent death and injury. But in Moose Jaw and across the province, its affect on the human body are still being investigated.

Some officers swear by it, others refuse to carry it.

Its been 35 years since the first TASER was developed and 15 years since its modern counterpart hit the market and yet the affects of the "non-lethal" weapon have not yet been fully verified.

More investigation needs to be done before local police begin using TAZSERs. The Saskatchewan Police Commission has been reviewing the issue over the last few years and is now looking for input from stakeholders.

The commission wants to make sure all safety and public policy implications have been evaluated and that the technology is fully understood before coming to a conclusion according to Chair Mitchell Holash.

"We're committed to making a quality decision here with the best information available. We won't compromise the quality of the decision with some artificial time line. Its my hope that we can work through this process in this calendar year but we'll know better after we see these submissions."

Here in Moose Jaw, the TASER has been sitting on the shelf for a number of years as the local police service has been waiting for an official decision from the commission before bringing the device into active service.

1 comment:

Excited-Delirium.com said...

The "tasers" over the years are not a constant. Taser International and their predecessor companies have slowly been turning up the juice.

Although the latest X26 taser (2003) is, at first glance, lower power than the older M26 taser (1999), in fact the opposite may well be true. They certainly claim that the effective stopping power is up from the previous model.

Question is, what are they stopping?

Taser International claimed (at the time) that the M26 taser was safe because its waveform was (safer) high frequency and (much safer) very very low duty cycle. Real world results more-or-less appeared to match these claims. The M26-associated death rate was much less than one per month.

The new X26 taser has a waveform that carries the opposite characteristics. They added a DC pulse to the taser pulse that results in a significant spectral component at the PRF of 19 Hz. This is very very low frequency and is in itself a large reduction in safety.

Also, the low frequency components are 100% continuous duty cycle. This is another effect that reduces safety. The ratio of duty cycles is huge (~10,000?).

The taser-associated death is now about 7 per month. It started rising with the introduction of the X26 in 2003.

One explanation is that it's all just a nasty coincidence.

The other explanation is that it all makes perfect sense.

(do not forget the dash)