Should law enforcement use tasers?

A taser incident in Camden County has prompted our viewers to ask us to dig deeper into the issue of taser safety.

So what is the death risk when law enforcement uses a taser on suspect?

KRCG's Facebook Crew talked with local authorities Wednesday to get some answers.

Tasers are billed as a non-lethal alternative to guns for law enforcement officers.

A recent study by the Police Executive Research Forum showed that tasers have saved 75,000 lives.

The study also found that police officer injuries drop 76% when a taser was used for protection.

But the jolt of electricity coming from a taser has been tied to a small number of deaths.

Recent estimates put the number of people who have died between 100 and 200.

One of those deaths happened in Mid-Missouri.

In August 2008, Stanley Harlan died after being tased by a Moberly police officer.

The officer fired the taser three times in a row for a total of 31-seconds, which is six times longer than what's recommended in typical police training sessions.

The 23-year-old, new father went into cardiac arrest and died at the scene.

Cole County Sheriff Greg White said the proper use of tasers is very important.

That's why they're cameras on the tasers used by his deputies.

"So when the safety comes off the camera comes on. On a fully charged taser, that camera is recording audio and video for up to 3/12 hours, Cole County Sheriff Greg White said.

Sheriff White told me that tasers don't kill people. If someone dies after being tased it's usually caused by something else not a taser.

"Taser themselves, would contend that you don't die from being tased. There's been extensive testing down on that. When you defibrillate someone you are using somewhere between 250 to 400 joules of electricity, White said. A taser produces one half of one joule. So it cannot affect heart rhythm."

White said once a person is tased they will immediatly fall to the ground and will be unable to doing anything for at least 5 seconds.

He tells me it's not painful, but very uncomfortable.

"I've taught baton over the years to a variety of groups. In all honesty I would much rather be tased than hit with a baton, White said.

White said the best way not to be tased is to simply comply with police if you are under arrest.

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What is the death risk when law enforcement uses a taser on a suspect?

KRCG's Facebook Crew is talking with local authorities today to find out the risks in using a stun gun.

So tell us what you think.

Should authorities have the right to use a taser when someone is out of control?