Monday, November 20, 2006

Editorial from an Officer

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It's like I was reading this cop's mind:

Taser was used as a defensive tool

I am a former full-time law enforcement officer and campus police officer.

As such, I have several points to make about the Taser incident at UCLA.

First of all, the student was unruly and uncooperative. "Get off me!" is not a response I will accept if I ask for identification on a college campus.

It shouldn't be an option to walk away from officers when asked for proof that you belong on campus.

Also, Tasers are defensive weapons, not necessarily compliance tools.

I was somewhat uncomfortable with the officers' use of the Taser. When faced with a subject who is restrained, but will not get up and come along, I usually just grab their ear and go to the car.

If that feels a little too strong at the time, I pick them up and carry them or drag them.

I don't beat them, pepper spray them, or use a Taser on them because they are not a danger to me.

However, given their presence on the scene, the officers may have decided that physically removing the student would have been dangerous to bystanders, the student or the officers themselves.

In addition, I would have told concerned bystanders to step away from what was happening or face arrest. This tends to work better than threatening them with a Taser. [My thoughts: Certainly, but it's important not to lie to the students, either. If a huge crowd of students are going to interfere directly with an officer while he is using a taser, there's nothing unjustified about the use of the taser as crowd control, IF the situation got to that.]

Soon after retiring from my job as campus officer, a female student was abducted from a parking lot, abused, and killed within a mile of the campus.

Having identification is the first thing you must do as a student.

The second is to not question when someone asks for it.

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