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S’ville Citizens Police Academy Electrifying class for some, painful for others

  • Friday, November 1, 2013

A.M. Sheehan/Journal Scene PFC Jennifer Dias is held steady by Sgt. Tim Jones and Cpl. Nick Morella as she is hit with a Taser by Detective Corporal Robert Shingler.

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Class 5 – Part 2

Back inside we are ready for the Taser demonstration. The boys, however, want to see it so we wait for a while.

The Taser will be demonstrated on a young female officer. This is part of her training regimen. Every officer issued a Taser must experience a Taser so they will know how it feels and only use it to protect themselves and others and gain control of a situation. The officer – Jennifer Dias – was pregnant when she would normally have gone through this training. Having had her baby (a healthy little girl) she is now cleared for the Taser.

With a bit of bravado, she gets in place on the mat, her arms held by two of the instructors. (This is because once the Taser hits she will have no control of her muscles and could fall face first.)

Shingler aims the Taser. There is a laser indicator for the purpose of aiming and his objective is to get the two probes on both hemispheres of her body (above and below the waist) from the back. This, he explains, is because the body’s strongest muscles are at the back.

He fires.

Dias stiffens and an expletive or two come spitting out of her mouth. Five seconds later it is over and she is laid gently on the mat as the probes are removed. Although only five seconds long, it seems much longer to the subject being tased and it is long enough for handcuffs to be placed on a subject.

She jumps up completely back to normal and apologizes for her mouth.

She gets a round of applause.

It is now about 45 minutes since the pepper spray demonstration and the door finally opens to a red-eyed, blotchy faced Johnson. A cheer for him goes up. He immediately puts his face in front of the portable air conditioner to get the cold air.

He is a bit sheepish and clearly fully respectful of the impact of pepper spray.

Closing the class, Shingler points out that every use of force – be it pepper spray, the Taser or the baton – is reviewed by the department and every officer has to justify his use of whatever level of force he has employed.

“We use the minimum amount of force necessary to accomplish the objective,” said Shingler. “Common sense is the best tool an officer has.”

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