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Canajoharie, NY ,

Linda Kellett - Herkimer Police Sgt. Steven Long, left, demonstrates the proper way to remove the dart-like electrodes of a Taser after deployment.

Linda Kellett - Fort Plain Police Officer Pat Cechnicki, center, spotted by fellow officers, waits to get Tasered by certified instructor Steven Long, a sergeant with the Herkimer Police Department during a training session at the Harry Hoag School on Monday.

Linda Kellett - Officers from Fort Plain, Canajoharie, St. Johnsville and Mohawk Police Departments gather around a Tasered colleague to learn how to properly remove the dart-like electrodes during a training session at the Harry Hoag School on Monday.

Linda Kellett - Spotted by Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden and Fort Plain Police Chief Robert Thomas III during Taser training at the Harry Hoag School on Monday, Fort Plain Officer Raymond Renzi reacts as he’s struck by the dart-like electrodes.


No pain, no gain: Officers get Taser tagged

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - Updated: 9:50 AM


C-S-E News Staff

FORT PLAIN — Time seemed to crawl.

That was the assessment of the half dozen or so area law enforcement personnel who submitted to the painful and temporarily incapacitating effects of a CED (conductive energy device) during Taser training for local police departments on Monday.

The day-long instruction at the Harry Hoag School drew members of Fort Plain, St. Johnsville, Canajoharie and Mohawk Police Departments, who learned not only how the devices work, but also under what circumstances they might use them.

Instructor Steven Long, a sergeant with the Herkimer Police Department, said the “primary focus of the CED should be on overcoming subject resistance.”

The goal is to control and take the subject into custody. Among the advantages of CED use is the potential reduction of officer and offender injury rates, he said.

“[The subject] can’t fight it; and after an exposure, they don’t want to fight it. It works on people on drugs too. It controls the muscle groups, so it’s an involuntary response. As soon as it’s over, there are no aftereffects.”

In the instances in which Tasered subjects have died, he said it’s been demonstrated that the deaths were usually due to “secondary causes.”

Long said in a less-than-lethal situation with Tasers and pepper spray, “It’s good for officers to know the effect of the Taser on the subject. It also helps us in court to know the effect of what we were afflicting.”

For those braving the firing of the dart-like probes that sent upwards of 50,000 volts of electricity to their sensitized flesh, that five-second count felt like it took minutes.

Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden was among those volunteering to get Tasered. “Once is enough. It’s very incapacitating,” he said. “I could feel it going up and down my spine. It was painful.

“I was ready for it to stop,” he added.

A Fort Plain Police Officer who was Tasered echoed that, saying, “It’s the longest five seconds of your life. It’s like a time lapse. It slows everything down.”

The Canajoharie Police Department has had Tasers just shy of a year, MacFadden said, noting that they have not yet had a Taser deployment.

Canajoharie officers taking part in Monday’s training were new to the department. Existing officers had prior training.

“We have annual training and interdepartmental training,” MacFadden added.

Fort Plain Police Chief Robert Thomas III, who coordinated the joint training session, said, “This is certification and recertification.”

With funding provided by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office through “asset forfeiture” (that is, assets from drug dealers) the Fort Plain department was recently able to purchase three Tasers.

“We’ve had them about a month,” said Thomas.

The St. Johnsville Police Department has had CED’s for several years, he said.

During the morning classroom training session, Long explained that a Taser is a “high voltage device with low amperage ... High voltage is generally safe if the amperage is low,” Long added.

However, Tasers shouldn’t be used indiscriminately.

Long told the officers, “Every time you pull the trigger, it has to be justified and reasonable.”

Guidelines that law enforcement personnel should follow when considering the use of a Taser on a subject are spelled out in Graham versus Connor (which is used to analyze what constitutes excessive force) and Article 35 of New York State Penal Law, Long said.


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