Things you see at 4:00 am

Like many of my friends I work nights and thus I have the misfortune of being awake for a lot more hours than most people and get time to think and write accodingly. These are just reflections on the curent state of everything I have an opinion about.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Police and use of force.

My friend and shooting mentor James posted about the tools that police forces have adopted over the years MACE, Batons, stunguns/ tasers ect. To sum up his post he talked about the fact that many of these innovations have come as a result of lawsuits of people claiming excessive force that resulted in the death of someone while in police custody. I have just a few thoughts on this matter. The first being the fact that a police officers job is to protect the public from those that would do innocent civilians harm for whatever reasons criminals commit crimes. This puts police officers in a situation where they are dealing with the worst elements of society on a regular basis and they need tools to defend themselves from the people would would hurt them and us. A little ground work for the rest of my rant. We live in a society of laws, by living in this society we agree to play by the rules. If we don't play by these rules and start doing what we please the society breaks down in to anarchy and not the kind that Greek philosophers dreamed of. So we bring in a group of people who will protect us by enforcing these laws we agreed to live by enter judges, lawyers, legislators, and Law enforcement officers. The law enforcement officers have to have tools in order to fulfill their duties if criminals have guns the officer needs a gun as well. Now not every criminal has a gun and since we are not living in Mega City the officer is not Judge Dredd, so officers need intermediary weapons, enter the baton. The baton is a useful tool and all new officers are trained in proper use and have diagrams that show different zones in a color coding red being areas that a baton strike could cause serious or lethal injury like the head or joints. Officers are not allowed to strike in the red zones unless their life or the life of another is in danger. A well placed strike to the nerve group just above the knee on the outside of the leg will cause both legs to temporarily collapse it is a sympathetic reaction, I have had this demonstrated on myself and can tell you that full use of my legs returned in around 30 seconds more than enough time for an officer to have the suspect on the ground and hand cuffed. So what if the baton can not be deployed quickly enough or the suspect is wrestling with another officer or civilian and there is no clean strike? This is where Mace or a Taser comes into play. Most major urban police departments have both these days. The department I know best uses a a mace that has a combination of OC and CS. Every officer on the Department has been through what is known as sympathy training they get maced by their instructor to let them know what it feels like so they can use good judgment when employing their mace on others. Fatalities from the mace are rare but not unheard of, the most common source of these deaths is from the combinations sprays, because they contain both upper and lower respiratory irritants, which can lead to suffocation if the suspect is left with out medical attention for too long. It is also conceivable that a person could have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the mace. This leads me into Tasers; this nifty little invention shoots two metal hooks into the target, with the normal effective range being between 15 and 30 feet, the taser then gives a debilitating shock to the target for either a preset amount of time like 5 seconds or for as long as the Officer holds the trigger. However aside from some muscle pain after the shock is over the target is able to move normally again until they receive another shock. Death can occur with these Taser due to rare circumstances in which the suspects heart stops due to the shock. These deaths are very rare. Big D once went on a rant about how he thought that tasers were too dangerous and that they should not have been issued to the local Police Department. However when I asked him if he would rather be shot by the .45 that the police carry he said no. Which gets me to my final point. The members of the law enforcement community are trying to preserve life that is why they have employed these intermediary weapons but still accidental deaths do occur. There is a very simple solution to these deaths though DON'T BREAK THE LAW AND PUT YOURSELF IN A SITUATION WHERE AN OFFICER HAS TO USE ANY FORM OF FORCE. I know that this will never happen though I guess I just dream too much of an ideal society. I am going to get off of my soap box now and go to bed sorry to rant at you for so long.


Blogger Shane said...

As we talked about a few weeks ago, when it is proper for an officer to used mace or a taser? I think we both expressed some concern about the use of these items too soon. Is there a certain time identified within the police protocol when they are supposed to use them or is left up to the officers own discretion? These tools are obviously of great use to any enforcers of the law, fuck what DT says even my very liberal mind can support them, I just worry about them being used too readily. When I visited my parents and watched an episode of COPS with my dad it seemed as if the officers shot them off before the suposed criminal had a chance to do anything. But again perhaps that is the point.
I suggest some beer and a lenghty conversation.

1:14 AM  
Blogger kenjihara said...

Nice blog. Dude, your blog would be a lot easier to read if you used separate paragraphs. I hope that helps.

9:49 PM  

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