Have you ever wondered what it felt like to be tased?
Maybe not, but a couple of participants of the Ottumwa Citizen's Police Academy found out firsthand Monday.
The brave volunteers, including our own Tess Hedrick, volunteered to be tased by Sergeant Chad Farrington. The taser can be a vital tool for police officers in certain situations.
"What the taser device does for us is it basically mimics the brain waves or electrical impulses that our bodies use just to move, talk, eat," Sgt. Farrington said. "The digital pulse that comes out of the taser is the exact same pulse that we use inside our bodies, it confuses or brain, in part the central nervous system. It causes it to lock up and get overloaded, that way it incapacitates the individual and they're unable to move or continue being violent with us."
The Police Academy volunteers were hooked up with clips, which delivers a similar shock as with a probe.
"Basically, what we did with [Tess], we used alligator clips, one alligator clip, you always want to split the hemispheres, the hemisphere being at the waistline. So if one of the probes can be inserted to the leg, one above the beltline, you get a better effect because you're affecting not only the legs of the individual, but also the upper torso. What happened with you us, they're just alligator clips, it still delivers the same shock as you would with a probe, and what you experienced is called NMI, or neuro muscular incapacitation."
Volunteers said the worst part was the anticipation, but was the actual shock as bad as they expected?
"It was worse," Tess said. "I never want to be tased, it was only for one second, I can't imagine being tased for five seconds, and I think that's usually what they do. One second was enough."
While the volunteers got only one second of shock, Lt. Tom McAndrew received the full five seconds, which is what an officer would usually use in a situation.
Sgt. Farrington said it all depends on the suspect and the situation in deciding whether the taser is the officer's best tool for that moment.