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TASER tip: Be ready for inmate countermeasures

Inmates who have experience with the TASER may attempt to defeat it in a number of ways. Covering up works in cell extractions, but is less effective when they are out in the open. Another technique they have tried is whirling towels or clothing in front of them like a propeller in an effort to deflect the darts and wires. Attempt to flank the inmate with a second TASER in this situation. But even if one is not immediately available, while an inmate is spinning his makeshift propeller he is not aggressing you and other staff can respond to your aid.

After a good dart hit is made every effort should be made to end an inmate’s aggressive behavior while the TASER is still activated. This is referred to as handcuffing under power. When the trigger on an M26 or X26 is pulled the weapon launches the darts and the device is activated for a five second cycle.

Bad guys have learned this, too. Many have learned to tough out those five seconds and then attempt to defeat the device by breaking the wires either by rolling or grabbing them before the TASER can be reactivated. The best way to prevent this is to control/cuff the inmate during the 5 -second cycle, if possible. However, unless you and your partners are calf roping champions, this is highly unlikely.

Keeping the trigger depressed past the 5-second cycle extends the cycle until the trigger is released. This should thwart the inmate’s efforts to attempt this countermeasure, be prepared to justify this non-standard longer cycle in your force documentation.

Submit your tip. We all have tricks of the trade that help us do our jobs better and more safely. We encourage your to share yours here.

Lieutenant John J. Stanley, M.A., is a twenty-seven year veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He has worked a variety of assignments including, custody, patrol, training and administrative support. He is considered an expert on less lethal weapons and tactics. He provided corrections scenarios for the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University and contributed to its on-line Less Lethal Weapons class. John spent over a decade at LASD’s Custody Training Unit teaching classes such as Tactical Communications, Jail Intelligence Gathering, Tactical Weapons, Squad Tactics and Cell Extractions. John also was the lead instructor for LASD’s Custody Incident Command School (CICS) a class designed for sergeants and lieutenants and the Executive Incident Command School (EICS) for captains and above. He is a member of the California Tactical Officers Association and has published almost forty articles on law enforcement tactics and legal history.