I am sure you thought you had heard the last of my thoughts and rants about CEWs however I have to address an issue that has bothered me for a while and was sparked by a recent incident.
My question is why are we taking CEWs to gun fights? Why are we using CEWs on subjects that:
- have firearms,
- are threatening us or someone else with a gun,
- subjects that have shot at us and are reloading or attempting to fix a malfunction with their guns
- subjects that are threatening us with an edged weapon
- subjects that are attacking us or others with an edged weapon
Where are officers learning that a CEW is an alternative to the use of deadly force? Is it in your training program? If so then you need to change your training before an officer gets seriously injured or killed. A subject with a gun can raise and fire that gun in about a half a second or less. An officer that is going to get within range to use a CEW and expose themselves to a lethal threat to use a less lethal tool is taking an unnecessary risk that has, and will continue to get officers hurt.
Is it in the media when some high ranking police official makes a comment that we got CEWs so officers do not have to shoot subjects with a knife? If so then educate your personnel about the realities of action versus reaction and time and distance. The average human being can cover about 11 to 15 ft. in a second. Therefore the subject theoretically has the ability to cover the distance between themselves and the officer with the CEW and attack them with the edged weapon before that officer, or their cover officer can react. The officers can still win the fight but now they may have to win it after one or more of them have been cut.
CEWs are a tool. A tool that has a time and a place. A tool that is a great asset to officers when used appropriately. A tool, that like any other tool fails.
Have a look at your training programs and your press releases. If either is setting up for officers to fail then take care.