A private grant of $5,400, which was recently received by the Boone Police Department, will soon equip Boone police officers with tasers. Boone Police Chief Bill Skare said three new Taser X26 models, manufactured by Taser International Inc., have been received by the police force and are intended to prevent physical injuries to both law officers and suspects. "The purpose is to reduce injuries to officers and citizens," Skare said. "The taser is designed to, and has proven to, reduce injuries to officers and suspects." With three tasers being purchased, on-duty officers will be equipped with the less-lethal weaponry. Officers began training last week and will finish the 6- to 7-hour training program this week, which includes a video outlining the proper use of the equipment. Prior to certification, officers must qualify by successfully firing the taser at a target. "In that training (officers) are required to certify by shooting it," Skare said. When fired, Skare said the Taser X26 affects both the sensory and motor functions of an individual. "Basically the Taser X26 is an electronic-controlled device that affects sensory and motor functions of the nervous system to cause incapacitation," Skare said. "It fires two probes with wires attached that attach to the suspect and allow for energy to transfer to the body which is the electrical shock." While it can be a highly-effective approach to subduing a suspect, Skare said his hopes are that the tasers never have to be used. "I hope that we never have to use them" Skare said. "The taser is a less-lethal piece of police equipment. It's not a substitute for legal force." The Taser X26 comes fully equipped with a laser sight and a mounted digital video camera that can record both audio and video. "They have taser cams on them so that when we use it it will be able to record audio and video of what happened," Skare said." Although tasers are not always effective, Skare said it should greatly reduce physical altercations between officers and suspects. "It should greatly reduce the need for my officers to have any physical contact," Skare said. "You're not going to eliminate it 100 percent, obviously. But it certainly should reduce the need for physical altercation." Skare said many law enforcement agencies have purchased the same model as the Taser X26 and the Taser M26 are the two main police models currently offered by Taser International Inc. "Other police chiefs that I have received information from say it has reduced injuries to officers and suspects," Skare said. "I think it's important to let the public know that we're going to be carrying these. And again, I certainly hope we never have to use them."
Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.