Richmond Police give inside look at TASER training

Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 11:17 PM EDT
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Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Police opened it's "TASER training" to the media on Wednesday to show why TASERs are so important and could wind up saving lives.

Officers say they need these tools to serve and protect.

"It feels like the world's worst Charlie horse," said one officer.

The face says it all.

"Started out with severe pain, locked up solid, couldn't do anything, couldn't control anything."

That's what officers are counting on. TASER is a name brand for a conducted electrical weapon, or CEW. More than 18,000 departments carry TASER. The models purchased most recently in Richmond shock a target for up to five seconds per hit.

"It gives you that five-second window, where you can go hands on, hopefully restrain that person," Richmond Police Officer Deltoro said.

Sergeant Jean-Guy LeGouffe led Wednesday's TASER training course and remembered a recent incident when TASER saved a life.

"We had an officer that used the TASER with an individual that came at them with a knife. That's lethal force. He tased that individual, he dropped to the ground, and he was able to be disarmed and handcuffed. So that individual's life was saved."

That's the story LeGouffe wants people to know. It's why RPD invited NBC12 to take this course. This was the first time media has ever completed TASER training.

"What's being reported from time to time is when there's a death involved with the TASER, but I've TASER'd almost 700 police officers, and there's never been a fatality here at the Richmond Police Department," LeGouffe told NBC12.

That's why Sergeant LeGouffe wanted a few local reporters to learn how to use a CEW - and also how difficult it is to make pressure situations in the field.

An NBC12 reporter engaged in a four-hour class on Wednesday, learning about TASER, how and why it's used and what it does to the body. After that, reporters were put through two training situations and needed to decide whether to use TASER or a firearm on a target.

"The decisions that we make are in a split second, so we have to analyze a situation and make a decision and use the appropriate tools that we have in our belt," Officer Chris Cirino said.

"The CEW is just another great tool that prevents officer injury and citizen injury, really," added Deltoro.

Not every Richmond Officer carries a TASER. Richmond's police chief says he hopes that day isn't far off.

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