cops

KN, p. 252 “Tasers and Stun Guns”

 

TASER devices and stun guns each have slightly different functions, but the common purpose is to shock the aggressor and allow time to move strategically for improved control over the situation, without using lethal force. A TASER can be shot from a distance, and a stun gun requires direct contact with the attacker.

 

Stun Gun

 

 

This stun gun has sharp points which might pierce clothing and will even set off an electric charge if somebody tries to grab it.

 

Other stun guns resemble cellphones, while another type looks just like a mag light. Neither has great power, so in order to get close enough to use it effectively, an attacker may be able to get the upper hand against an untrained civilian. Some stun guns are in the shape and length of a baton (12-19 inches) allowing the user to be a step or two away, rather than just at arm’s length.

 

In many states, law enforcement groups have been using stun guns to subdue targets for years. Pepper spray occasionally blows back at the user, so private citizens sometimes opt for using a stun gun as a self-defense tool.

 

Designed in the 1960s for use in tight spaces (inside airplanes) when firing a gun would be especially dangerous, a Taser is considered a safer (non-lethal) alternative to a handgun if used correctly. Concerned about a rise in gun-related injuries during arrests or captures, some law enforcement jurisdictions around the country have required that Tasers and/or stun guns be added to their officers’ equipment belts, giving the officer a choice in tense or escalating situations.

 

Taser and cartridge

 

How does a Taser work? The cartridge contains 15-20 foot wires with probes attached at the end. The wires shoot out when the weapon is used. When the probes reach the target, they deliver a shock as well as pain, but this will only happen if both probes insert into the person’s body. In general, the person loses muscle control when hit with the probes, making an arrest easier or allowing the officer to stop an ongoing attack.

 

There are a variety of Tasers on the market, some of which guarantee contact even through clothing. Some recent Taser models also include the stun gun feature so that the prongs don’t have to be fired during every use.

 

One criticism of some Tasers is that they can misfire, causing real problems for the officer during an attack. The LATimes ran an article about the issue, comparing effective use in successive years:

 

https://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-lapd-tasers-20160401-story.html?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR17l2SVeCW7idV6PJVIm3nzh-U-jkmIh0bqVSfcFi_UoZlIp7xFXTwtaKs

 

Less critical, but potentially disturbing to a civilian Taser owner, is that storage in the home might become an issue. A curious friend or neighbor happening upon the Taser might fire it ‘just to see what it does.’ If it happens to misfire accidentally, somebody could get hurt. Burn marks on floors and ceilings from mis-firing have been reported by Kerrian followers, even when the Tasers have been handled properly. (True story)

 

Expense is a factor. Stun guns usually cost between $10 and $30. TASER devices have a lot more power and are a lot pricier because of that – running anywhere between $450 to $1,100. If the department in a town of 100,00 people has 180 officers working in the field and the units cost a minimum of $450 each – do the math. That’s an initial hit to the city budget of $81,000 and that’s before the replacement cartridges, etc. Each time the Taser is fired, it needs to be recharged and in some cases, a new cartridge must be inserted – at a cost of between $25 to $35 each.

 

Need to replace the Kevlar vests this year (a necessity every five years) or get that new million dollar fire truck the city needs so badly? Even if the Taser (or stun gun) is a great idea, the budget may not be able to handle it. So, if your town’s officers would like to have that option available to them, grants and donations from local law enforcement supporters may need to be sought out.

 

Legality

As of 2018, four states required background checks for Taser ownership.

  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota


Two (2) states where Tasers and stun guns are completely banned for use for anyone other than law enforcement:

  • Hawaii
  • Rhode Island


But, most states do not regulate the purchase of Tasers or stun guns. That means no training requirements, background checks, or paperwork. Anyone in those states can buy and use them for self-defense. In many states, it is illegal to carry a concealed stun gun outside of your own home, and specifically illegal to carry it on school property. In some jurisdictions, stun guns are considered dangerous or deadly weapons, and as such, fall under those laws. Deadly weapons are generally banned from:

  • parades
  • funerals
  • public demonstrations
  • government buildings


It’s important to note about ownership of either a stun gun or a Taser or a combo of the two:

 

If someone falls and suffers a heart attack or other injury during the commission of a crime after being shocked with a stun gun or Taser, there are serious consequences. Instead of seeing its non-lethal purpose, the court may conclude that the tragic result came from the use, not the intent. i.e. the person might not have had the heart attack if not for being Tasered. If that happens, we now have a deadly weapon, and the legal concerns change under the law.

 


What are your thoughts about the use of Tasers and/or stun guns? Let us know in the comments below.

 

*Photos from Amazon

 

 

KN, p. 194 “Training for An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police”

 

Thinking of moving to Ireland?

And you think joining the Garda might be a good idea?

And you think you’re in great physical shape?

 

Consider this: before any candidate can be included in the final group of applicants, he/she must pass a test for physical endurance, known as The Physical Competence Test, in addition to the Shuttle Test. As I mentioned in the previous article, “An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police,” there were recently over 60,000 applicants, so competition is tough. To give you an idea of the requirements, the Garda website provides this chart for the Shuttle (also called Beep test) so that you can compare your capabilities to the expected norms:

 

MINIMUM Standards for the Shuttle Test (running back and forth in a gym – 20 meters (about 65 feet) in each direction – the levels indicating how many round trips you should make within a set time)

Age Males Females
18-25yrs Level 8.8 Level 7.6
26-35yrs Level 8.1 Level 6.6

 

MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Sit Up’ Test (one minute) 

Age Males Females
18-25yrs 35 30
26-35yrs 32 27

 

MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Push Up’ Test (no time restriction)

Age Males Females
18-25yrs 25 20
26-35yrs 22 18

 

Physical Competence Tests –

This part of the physical test demonstrates whether the candidate is capable of chasing after a suspect, and then, once the suspect is caught, struggle with him/her in order to make the arrest. Because, trust me, if you can’t do this part of the test, you won’t make it as a street cop.

 

Part 1 – the Obstacle Course

You have three minutes and 20 seconds to get around the course three times. Go!

After a running start,

  1. Weave through cones
  2. Walk along a balance beam
  3. Lift a car wheel and carry it 3 meters (about 9 feet)
  4. Go underneath a barrier
  5. Jump over a mat
  6. Drag a 45kg (about 100 pounds) mannequin 2 meters (about 6 feet)
  7. Run up and down stairs
  8. Climb over a gate
  9. Sprint 10 meters (about 30 feet)

Slower than 3:20? You fail.

 

Part 2 – the Push-Pull Machine Test

What’s the maximum force you can muster? This test indicates how strong you are when you’re battling against a suspect who doesn’t want to be caught – after you’ve chased him/her for several minutes through the alleys.

  1. Stand on platform, gripping handlebars at chest height, with feet apart and one foot in front of the other
  2. Push and pull the handlebars through the required stroke continuously for 20 secs using entire body to push and pull as hard as you can.
  3. The force you exert is measured and recorded on the computer system


A video detailing the Physical Competence Test can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXo3roYoCUw&feature=youtu.be

 

Assessment Process

Get past this pre-screening stage and there are a number of tests to eliminate the possibility of the unqualified becoming a Garda Trainee. If you pass each of the interviews, psych evaluations, personality questionnaire, language proficiency assessment, report writing tasks, written tests, medical exam, and physical tests, (and anything else the powers-that-be deem necessary) and rank high enough on the list of qualified applicants, you might become a Garda trainee. If so, you would attend the Garda college to complete the first 34 weeks of your training. After that, you will have both supervised and unsupervised field training, with periodic rigorous testing along the way. It will take about two years to finish, but at the end, you will attain a BA in Applied Policing.

Garda College

The Garda College is the national center for police training, development and education within the Irish State. The coursework is divided into two major sections, Operational Training and Crime Training.

 

Operational Training consists partly of: 

Driver Training

Candidates learn to drive the official vehicles and based on operation needs, may also learn to drive vans, 4×4 vehicles, motorcycles, and H.G.V.s

Firearms Training

After initial firearms training, if hired, the candidates permitted to carry  firearms must take refresher firearms training three times a year. They are checked for Range Safety, Weapon Safety and accuracy. They also receive tactical training, as well as how to use non-lethal weapons such a tasers.

 

Constitutional, Human Rights & Diversity Office

Candidates become familiar with the proper way to handle incidents that may involve human rights, diversity as well as any possible constitutional violations.

  

Communications and Information Technology Training

Candidates study:

      A.F.I.S. (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)

      A.V.P.L.S. Automatic Vehicle Personnel Location System)

      C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch)

      CCTV

      I.C.C.S. (Integrated Communications Control System)

      MOS computer Program skills

  

Rannóg na Gaeilge

If needed, candidates learn and become proficient in the Irish language.

 

Crime Training consists of:

Foundation Training

Students learn in small groups with realistic policing re-enactments and must use the group discussions to solve the problems, just as would be done in actual policing.

 

During this basic training, candidates would:

 

  • Improve overall knowledge of the crimes committed in their jurisdictions.
  • Gain practical skills to manage crime and policing incidents.
  • Learn to police a diverse bilingual community

Develop skills needed for traffic issues (checkpoints, drink/drug driving etc.)

  • Train in Garda station duties, including prisoner management
  • Learn practical skills with retractable baton, hinge handcuffs, pepper spray, and self-defense tactics

 

Crime Training

Crime Training used to be known as the Detective Training School. These days it incorporates the Garda Technical Bureau, the Forensic Science Laboratory, and even some outside agencies. Also studied: Basic Fire and Arson, Money Laundering, Financial Crime, and Drug Awareness.

 

Additional course work or refresher courses are available for the police after they have served in the field for three years (or if the local station has a need for it) in: Fingerprints, Photography, Forensics, Ballistics, Documents, Mapping, and Forensic Law.   

 

Investigative Training

Special Investigative Training is handled here for Family Liaison Officers as well as for the Road Security Criminal Interdiction Awareness Program.

 

Interview Training

The Garda Síochana Interview Model has four different levels, ranging from basic questions of witnesses, to serious and complex investigations, including those involving sex crimes. 

 

After a fairly rigorous combination of classwork, supervised and unsupervised field work, along with continuous testing during the two years, graduating candidates are able to work in Community Policing, Traffic Control, Public Order, Detective Duties, investigating Organized Crime, Fraud and Drugs Offenses.

 

 

“Crime prevention is everybody’s business,” a quote from the Garda site, is a motto they promote to all the candidates, as well as the community at large.

 

How does this training compare with that of your local law enforcement agency?

 

 

*All photos from www.garda.ie

 

 

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KN, p. 206 “Top Ten Fan Favorites – 2017”

 

Krav Maga class, Wichita Falls, Texas

More than ever, it seems as if readers and professional writers that follow the Notebook most enjoy learning about the nuts and bolts of crime as well as the crime fighters that take care of the bad guys. It was fun to see that two of our (always taste-tested) recipes made the list this year as well.

 

Here are the Top Ten Fan Favorites for 2017, listed in reverse order. Click on the links to re-read the articles (or enjoy them for the first time) and let us know in the comments whether your faves made the list.  Happy sleuthing, one and all.  🙂

 

  1. “Sheila’s Chick Pea Dip” https://bit.ly/2k1v4lf created originally for last year’s Super Bowl party, it has become our family favorite as well as for many of you.

 

  1. “The Blue Flu” https://bit.ly/2nVeKC4 my own bout with the flu caused me to write this one. The research behind this historically accurate piece was fascinating.

 

  1. “An Garda, Irish National Police” https://bit.ly/2mhg6WL After the wildly successful series of articles about the Texas Rangers, it seemed that Kerrian followers wanted more information about law enforcement groups, even in other countries.

 

  1. “Bodies on the Golf Course” https://bit.ly/2prGhKX  I keep saying that golf courses are lousy places to hide bodies, but the bad guys aren’t listening. 😉

 

  1. “Training for An Garda, Irish National Police” https://bit.ly/2mLqAzz Rigorous and getting more so as the competition for a limited number of spots increases.

 

  1. “Kerrian’s Mac & Cheese” https://bit.ly/2kXv0Vg Yummy. We guarantee it. Made and enjoyed by numerous followers.

 

  1. “Is he/she a serial killer?” https://bit.ly/2lhXE1P I kept alllll the lights on while doing the research for this one.

 

  1. “Deadly poisons in the house.” https://bit.ly/2l6cHZH Inspired by an accidental combining of cleaning products.

 

  1. “Krav Maga, self-defense for the real world.” https://bit.ly/2wFwOnT A real-world way for people of all shapes, sizes, and ages to defend themselves.

 

And the most read new post of 2017?

1.   “200 ways to die an unnatural death.” https://bit.ly/2jmDIeE


Take a look at “Kerrian’s Notebook, Volume 2: Fun, facts, and a few dead bodies,” just released. Download to your e-reader and enjoy!  🙂


Happy New Year, everyone!

 

 

 

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