Police to start using Tasers Monday

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will begin deploying Taser electric shock weapons starting Monday, 28 January, in both armed and unarmed units within the service, police announced Friday.

The RCIPS purchased 36 of the weapons from USA-based Taser International in September 2012 after receiving close to $5 million in additional funding from the Cayman Islands government in October 2011. The weapons, including mounted video cameras for each Taser weapon, cost about US$71,000.

The weapon, which is considered by US police forces and Taser International to be “less-than-lethal” in terms of the force it can administer, fires two wires charged with 50,000 volt shocks at targets – incapacitating them for a brief period.

Police forces in the US and UK use Taser weapons typically in close-range encounters with criminal suspects where the use of a firearm would be considered excessive. They are also often used to subdue violent or mentally-ill individuals who might do harm to themselves and others.

“It is incumbent upon us to offer less-than-lethal options [to our officers],” said RCIPS Inspector Ian Brellisford. “All officers are routinely issued with baton, pepper spray, handcuffs, but there’s nothing…for want of a better word…the gap that allows for close-quarter dealing with individuals who are violent.

“Taser is designed to give instant incapacitation, and afterwards, instant relief,” Mr. Brellisford said.

A total of 59 police officers from the Uniform Support Group [armed officers], as well as the police Operational Support Group and police officers at the Cayman Brac station have been trained in the use of the devices. Police Commissioner David Baines said they will be used as a specialist weapon, much like firearms, within the police service and that there is no current plan to arm all RCIPS officers with Tasers.

“There’s no immediate plan for that and there’s no funding for that,” Mr. Baines said.

Each Taser weapon records every time it is fired into a computer system which is monitored by police and the records for which are kept by the RCIPS Professional Standards Unit and the Cayman Islands Governor’s Office. Mr. Brellisford said each Taser use is recorded by cameras attached to the weapons to show how they were used in every situation. The computer records cannot be altered, he said.

To demonstrate how the Tasers are used, RCIPS officer Gabe Rabess was used in a demonstration Friday where he acted as a criminal suspect armed with a knife and approached another officer armed with a Taser.

After a series of voice commands, which he ignored as part of the demonstration exercise, Officer Rabess was shot in the back with a 50,000 volt charge from the weapon.

“The only way I can really describe it is experiencing a cramp, imagine that times 1,000 – over your whole body,” Mr. Rabess said.

There have been incidents recorded in the US where individuals have died after being shocked with a Taser, however none of those deaths have been determined to be from direct electrical shock. Rather, those deaths have resulted from heart attacks or respiratory issues, according to coroner’s reports done on the incident.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Dangerous… these things have been known to catch people on fire. You are talking about electricity. Officers will have to understand the dynamics and science of this energy and its dangers.

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  2. The police have responded to the ever increasing crime rate by introducing new tools like bulletproof vests and tasers to protect the RCIPS officers.

    Does anybody know what new tools/options have been provided to the average resident /or business owner who is also at the frontline of the ever increasing crime situation in the Cayman Islands?

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  3. Social disorder caused by social services and bleeding hearts psychologist breaching the age old understanding that if you spare the rod you spoil the child.

    The various institution with their seemly enlightened perspective of the rights of the child had no idea of the cause and effects of an undisciplined child. So governments all over the world jumped on the ban-wagon to save the child from the parents.. Child abuse!. thankfully I was abused by my dad who instilled disciplined with a tamarind switch, and thankfully that discipline taught me consequences for misdeeds at an early age. What do we do now? Take away the video game for a week, and leave it up to the police to use their 50,000 volt switch instead. With early intervention these adults would have learned respect for authority their elders and one-another..

    Remember when you did something wrong at school, up to the principal office you went and and discipline you got. What do they do now, send the kid home to play video games. End result of the new and improved model, jails full, killings, and parents afraid to look at their ignorant child the wrong way. Spare the rod and spoil the child, then expect to build bigger jails and hire more big game hunters and and wardens..

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  4. these things have been known to catch people on fire

    Yes, if you are sniffing gasoline and run towards a police officer in a threatening manner with a can of gasoline in one hand and a burning lighter in the other, I would taser you! The fact that this peculiar case in Australia resulted in burns to the officer as he successfully outed the fire (while having rocks thrown at his head) suggests to me that he had good intent. Google it.

    Truthseeker

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