High School Kids, Resource Officers and a Tasers, oh my!

03 Dec

Uncle linked to a story about a TN High School resource officer who used a taser to break up a fight.  We seem to hear about taser insidents more and more often in the news.

I have an issue with tasers.  As I view it, the level of force increases as the threat level increases.  However, using “less-lethal” force distorts the force level to threat level ratio.  Let’s use this story as an example.  Two HS kids get into a fight.  Are weapons present?  No.  One kid dominating the other and about to kill the other?  No.  So rather than jumping in and physically separating the two, which I think is the proper level of force given the threat, the resource officer escalates his force to lethal (yes, less-lethal is still LETHAL!). 

No, the student didn’t die, but that’s not the point.  The officer used excessive force to stop the threat, in my opinion.  What do you think?


Posted by on December 3, 2009 in Needless Deaths, People, Tech


2 responses to “High School Kids, Resource Officers and a Tasers, oh my!

  1. Jann

    December 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Should it be investigated? Yes. Anything involving discharge of a weapon by a police officer (and in Utah, SROs are sworn officers assigned to a police department) should be investigated by a neutral party, whether that's the DA or an outside police agency. Is it concerning? Eh. I would have to see the results of the investigation first. There is no indication from the article given about whether the kids were armed (even though one is called a "juvenile", that simply means they were under 18, right? They could be 17.9 for all we know.); whether the kids at this school are commonly armed-even with a pocket knife; how they were responding to commands; the level of physicality involved in the fight. We weren't there, and simply don't know if these kids were bigger than the officer or if the officer couldn't find an "in" to get between them without injuring him/herself. My guess is that only three people know what happened. I personally don't find taser use all that disconcerting most of the time. The officers I know are level-headed guys who have consistently used proper levels of force, including tasers and more. That includes the SROs. However, you'll find me coming down on the officer's side in 99% of things like this — call it an occupational hazard.

  2. Jim and Sherri

    December 4, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Tasers are very dangerous, but certainly have their place in subduing suspects or quelling serious disturbances. The use of tasers requires training and judgment. Everything depends in this case on the circumstances faced by the resource officer. Jumping in and attempting to stop fights isn't always the best approach especially if the students are physically large and extremely antagonistic. Once again, it all depends on circumstances and good judgment.


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