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Officers equipped with new high-tech tasers

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POLSON — Imagine using the same cell phone today that you were using in 2001. 

The Polson Police Department’s tasers are that old, but thanks to a $11,568.97 grant from the Lake County DUI Task Force, ten patrol officers have new updated tasers with advanced technology that will increase safety for officers and citizens.

Tasers incapacitate threatening subjects by emitting an electrical charge that targets the motor nerves controlling movement. The charge lasts about 5 seconds, long enough for an officer to subdue and handcuff a suspect.

This is necessary because suspects are unpredictable when under the influence of alcohol, or drugs like methamphetamine. 

The tasing experience generally changes the suspect’s attitude to one of compliance, and they don’t want to go through it again, according to Corporal George Simpson of the Polson Police Department.

Situations can turn violent, but Polson Police policy is to use only the degree of force “reasonable and necessary” to make an arrest or to “protect themselves or others from personal attack, physical resistance, harm or death,” according to the request proposal written by Simpson.

The new X2 Defender taser has a two-shot option rather than just one in the old X26 model, allowing a second fire if the officer misses, or in rare instances where the suspect isn’t compliant on the first charge. 

There are also two red laser dots rather than one, giving officers a better read on where the probes will land.

If the probe attaches to the suspect’s heavy jacket causing a break in the flow of electricity, the new taser will automatically adjust to a location that will allow the taser to deliver its charge.

The X2 can fire probes up to 25 feet and capture data for diagnostics and analysis. It’s also capable of producing warning arcs to deter and change the subject’s behavior without actually firing. And an upgrade to the new taser will sync it with the officers’ body camera as soon as it’s pulled from the holster.

While the DUI Task Force funded the cost of 10 tasers, the Polson Police Department chipped in the remaining $793.31 necessary for training to certify officers in the use of the X2, plus holsters, battery packs and cartridges.

When a driving under the influence arrest is made, the person must pay $200 to get his or her driver’s license back. Half of that fee goes to the state, the other half goes to the DUI Task Force. 

Last year the DUI Task Force purchased a dozen $400 body cameras that clip on the front of officers’ shirts.

“They are a great evidence tool for court,” Simpson said. “It eliminates allegations of misconduct or fabricating with evidence.”

Simpson acknowledged that the new tasers are expensive and they would not have been able to purchase them without the DUI Task Force’s help.

“We are extremely appreciative of the organization,” Simpson said.

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