USC prof studies taser use by law enforcement

The results of a three-and-a-half year study into the use of Conducted Electrical Devices (CEDs), such as tasers, were released today. Dr. Geoff Alpert, a criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina, was the study’s lead author and says the study “provides a much-needed picture of police use of force in America”. Dr. Alpert says tasers, used properly, limits injuries to both police officers and suspects.
“First, we found the proper use of a Conducted Electrical Device is a very positive tool for law enforcement in that it reduces the likelihood of injury to both suspects and officers,” said Alpert. “We found it to be a very good tool for officers to control suspects and to do so effectively.”
Though Dr. Alpert believes CEDs to be an effective tool, he says it is crucial for officers to use them responsibility. “We found that police department and officers need to be trained, supervised, and held accountable, because of the potential for abuse.
“Sometimes officers can use the CED too many times, can use it against suspects who really shouldn’t have it used against them, and can use them because they are basically lazy.”
The CED, according to Alpert, has been very helpful in helping officers avoid confrontation. “The use of the CED can be very helpful for law enforcement in that now we are seeing many suspects who see that red light on their chest and know it’s a CED–may well give up before there has to be any kind of physical confrontation,” he said. “It is becoming a known deterrent out in the criminal suspect community.”
There were over 24,000 cases reviewed in the study.

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