Recently I wrote an article “LEO: Top 5 Less Lethal Tools”. This article covered OC spray, collapsible baton, Taser, blunt force projectiles, and sting/stun grenades. For this article we are going to take a closer look at some products from Taser; the X2, and X26P. Before we get into this product I think it’s important to wade back into the legal justification for utilizing less lethal tools.
There are two governing/guiding cases that LEO’s use when determining using less lethal, and lethal force. Tennessee v. Garner: “Under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others” (1985).
Graham v. Connor: “The Court determined that an objective reasonableness standard should apply to a civilian’s claim that law enforcement officials used excessive force in the course of making an arrest, investigatory stop, or other “seizure” of his person” (1989).
So Tennessee v. Garner ensured that a suspect would not be shot while fleeing, and Graham v. Connor boils down to using the necessary amount of force which is “reasonable” while making an arrest. So how can an LEO, reasonably arrest a suspect where deadly force isn’t a viable option? Enter the Taser.
Why use a Taser? First, it’s an effective way to subdue a violent/dangerous subject. Second, it keeps LEO’s safer because they have a larger stand-off distance than other less lethal tools. Third, there is far less damage than lethal force. The Taser is a great example of technology adapting to real-world needs. See the video below to see how effective the Taser really is. The Taser used in this video is the X26 an older version of the X26P/X2.
A Taser induces Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI). According to Taser some of the effects of NMI may include:
- Falls immediately to the ground and be unable to catch oneself;
- Risk of drowning if ability to move in water or wet environments is restricted;
- Yelling or screaming;
- Involuntary strong muscle contractions;
- Freezing in place with legs locked;
- Dazed feeling for several seconds or minutes;
- Potential vertigo;
- Temporary tingling sensation; or
- May experience critical stress amnesia (may not remember any pain).
So we know what happens when someone is has NMI induced, but how does the system work? According to Taser:
- Electricity must be able to flow between the probes to deliver an electrical charge and will generally follow the path of least resistance between the probes.
- The greater the spread between the probes on the target, generally the greater the effectiveness.
- Electricity will generally not pass to others in contact with the subject unless contact is made directly between or on the probes, or the wires are touched.
- Electricity can arc through most clothing, and even some bullet-resistant materials.
- Exposure to water will not cause electrocution or increase the power to the subject (the electrical charge is fixed inside the TASER ECD, and will not increase significantly even with environmental changes).
- The Current Metering technology is designed to deliver optimal charge.
The first thing I noticed about the X26P was it’s sleek ,compact design. I also noticed how different it felt from firearms I have handled. I think this aspect is worth a mention because of mistakes LEO’s have made in the past. I just don’t see how I could mistake my duty weapon for a taser. This Taser is a single shot (cartridge with two prongs and wires), with a magazine feed battery unit, and an overall range of between 15’ and 25’ (wire length over 15’ are restricted to LEO’s).
This is probable what most people think of, when they think of a taser. It comes with a holster which allows many different wear options for a LEO. The X26P also has a light, and red laser built-in. This is great for accuracy, and further disorienting a subject.
The X2 is slightly larger than the X2, but comes with an important innovation-a second shot (backup shot). The cartridges used for the X2 are thin and two can be loaded at once. A major concern when using a Taser is that you traditionally only got one shot, and then you needed to transition to a different tool, the backup shot allows LEO’s another chance at NMI. There isn’t anything complicated about the second shot, just pull the trigger again. Like the X26P, the X2 also has an LED light and red laser.
A major difference between the X2 and X26P is the prong size (the actual prong). The X26P has a slightly longer, and larger cylinder attached to a shorter prong. Think of it as a shorter barbed needle, but with more weight pushing it. Conversely, the X2 has a longer needle (good for penetrating clothes), but a shorter cylinder pushing it. Looking at these two prongs I’d say the X2 has a better chance at penetrating clothes, and making a better connection. It also comes with the bonus of a second shot.
Now for the bad. What some people may not know is when you use less lethal tools you are responsible for what happens after their application. If you are using a Taser odds are you are not at a lethal encounter (or you would be using your firearm). So lets say you use your X26P on a subject and that subject falls down a flight of stairs and dies. You would have to justify using deadly force even though you didn’t use your firearm. When inducing NMI the subject will almost always be in an uncontrolled fall (doesn’t use hands/arms to reduce impact) resulting in some injury. So although this technology can save lives LEO’s need to consider the totality of the situation before using them.
Do you have any questions about the products listed above, or about the use of less lethal force? Please leave a comment below or contact us via the Comms Check.