In the News

News | June 9, 2009

Taze Me Bro

By Capt. Kevin Heineman 185th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Sioux City, Iowa – It was definitely not another boring day in the classroom for law enforcement at the 185th Air Refueling Wing as local area law enforcement officers and security police personnel from the 185th participated in a Taser training session. The goal of the instruction was to train individuals in the use and deployment of Taser, so that members of the class could go back to their agencies and instruct others in Taser use.

The Taser is a nonlethal, self-defense weapon that shoots probes into a person to deliver an electric shock. The Taser incapacitates the neuromuscular system so the person loses almost complete control of his motor skills. ""The weapon incapacitates you by shutting down your motor functions," said Staff Sergeant Sarah Hinrichs, a traditional member of the Iowa Air Guard's 185th Security forces who works full time as a correctional officer with the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office.

The Taser Training Academy is designed to provide training on the use of TASER electronic control devices and other forms of non-lethal force. "This training will allow these people to go back to their agencies and teach users how to deploy the taser into the field," said instructor Chandler Garrett of the Taser Training Academy.

The Taser training is geared toward the special needs of law enforcement officers, correctional officers, medical personnel, the military, security professionals and private citizens. Force options and decision making, medical issues, weapon maintenance, reporting and personal safety are just a few of the topics covered in the offered courses.

Tasers are now being used worldwide by over 14,500 law enforcement and military agencies to provide users with a less than lethal method of getting a subject or situation under control with as little force as necessary to get the subject or situation under control.

"The main key is to do less than lethal," said Hinrichs. "You never want to shoot somebody. This is a fantastic tool, without getting too close to somebody, you can still incapacitate them and gain control over the situation, whether it's someone fighting to on base here at the 185th, or somewhere overseas. You get the 21 feet of safety the Taser provides."

As part of the training, Hinrichs had to be tased so she would better understand how people react when the taser is deployed in real life situations. She has earned a much greater respect for the taser. ""You know it hurts. It's the longest five seconds of your life. I forgot how badly it hurts from the last time I was tased," said Hinrichs. "However, it's a great tool. It's a great compliance technique without having to physically go hands on with someone and risk hurting yourself. You are minimizing the situation at a distance."

Staff Sergeant Casey Floyd of the 185th Security Forces Squadron also gained a greater respect for the taser. "I learned you have to have respect for the device and know you will get compliance," said Floyd after he was tased for the standard five second jolt. "Five seconds felt like twenty. Afterward you understand you are going to get compliance without having to take out your gun. The taser is used to preserve life."

After being certified these students will become teachers and be able to pass the knowledge they've gained to instruct others develop there skills needed in the proper use of and deploying the taser.

For Floyd, Hinrichs, and rest of the students valuable training was gained for the future in their day to day jobs that someday might be the difference between life and death.