Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hayley Got Herself Tasered

There I was in the back of the prisoner transport unit fighting another inmate with tooth and nail. He grabbed me in a head lock. I clawed at his face. Then unbelievable pain coursed through both our bodies. We were left stunned and without fight left in us.

No. I didn’t actually get into a fight. Last night at Citizen Police Academy we learned about Use of Force, which included taser guns. For the demonstration, I (as the only female volunteer!) was positioned beside a classmate. He put me in a headlock and the taser wires were split—one on my shoulder and one on his opposite shoulder. We both felt the full glory of this device.

It was my first (and hopefully last) experience with a taser gun and at the capable hands of a police academy instructor that tasers a lot of cadets and officers requalifying to carry the weapon. (Not to mention his history of tasering criminals while a patrol officer)

Let me tell you in all honesty, it hurt. (That’s big shocker (haha) to hear, right?) I have accidentally electrocuted myself through means of light sockets, dismantled appliances, and damaged cords, but I’d take all of those over another taser gun hit. If I hear that taser gun sound again I might curl up into a ball of fear and pain.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I might only cringe at the sound of a tasering, then laugh gleefully while the bad guy spasms. It certainly hurt but the moment the trigger was released, the “dear god stop the police officer from doing this” pain went completely away.

Unlike in novels and movies, I did not pass out. I did not lose memory. I did not pee myself. The shock clenches every muscle in your body. But your heart and brain will continue about their daily, normal operation. (With the added “holy shit this hurts” memo from your brain, kindly asking you to stop whatever it is that causes such pain.)

Have you ever pulled on your fuzziest pair of socks, danced across some carpet, and tapped the shoulder of a friend? That static shock leaves a tingle in your fingertip for a moment, right? (If you haven’t done this in a dry climate in the winter, I highly suggest a trip to NM in January to experience this because it’s fairly amazing in my opinion. Despite my static-self shocking everything I come in contact with all winter, I still think it’s cool.) My hand had rested on the back of my partner during the shock and had the tingle of a static shock well after the demonstration had ended.

I also got a welt on my shoulder where the instructor taped the wire to me. (The wire is usually attached to the body by a point that stabs into you, but luckily that was not part of this learning experience. Those points have to be removed by trained EMTs.)  The welt went away completely by the time I got home so I have no lasting signs from a taser gun.

A big thank you for the officers volunteering to stay late and talk to the students of the Citizen Police Academy! I wouldn’t have allowed myself to be tasered if it wasn’t at the hand of a profession while other professionals stood nearby.

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