I’ve never been a fan of the Taser stun gun. They are a public relations nightmare in too many cases. The Westwood, CA, November 2006 UCLA library incident is an example where an 18-year veteran officer is battling the threat of unwarranted civil litigation. This in a land where the jury pool is polluted with extreme, Liberal cop haters. As for the UCLA officer’s continued employment, I suspect that’s shaky too in an academic institution top-heavy with the Liberal elite. The Taser carries the reputation with it of an ugly American past where cops used cattle prods on African-Americans to gain compliance in Southern states.
Personally, I would not have used the Taser in that UCLA incident only because I fear the predictable outcry and circus especially when applied to an unruly minority group member. Nobody seems to care that the UCLA case like so many others only injured the pride of the so-called victim.
At the Orlando, FL 2007 SHOT SHOW, I met with Taser representative, Jay Keyhoe who is a Connecticut cop. Keyhoe showed me a somewhat new accessory for that Taser device. The Taser Cam is a small digital video camera that captures all of the behavior and sound from the suspect. Because of the built-in microphone the entire verbal exchange is fully recorded too. This device will would perhaps end any and all questions as to how and why the Taser was used.
I knew that Taser intended to offer the camera nearly two years ago but I have not seen that concept materialize until now. The Taser International website does not yet show this offering. Taser does have a full-page photo ad featuring this on the back cover of this months POLICE magazine.
I suspect that California’s goofy law against surreptitious audio recording even when it’s your own conversation will interfere with deployment of this accessory in that state. The device can be altered to collect only the video if necessary. There is a law enforcement exception to the law that may well allow that audio recording. Security people would not be exempt from that law.
I think that this camera apparatus will go a long way to defuse incendiary and misleading descriptions of the use of the Tasers in the future. I anticipate this will save officer’s reputations, jobs and taxpayer dollars used for defending bogus lawsuits.