Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Police & Fire

Shock and 'ah!' of a Taser

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    WSPD host Scott Sands is helped by Toledo Police officers John Winger, left, and Kevin Dumas, right, after being tased during the Toledo Citizen Police Academy Class for Action Response, Less Lethal Options, and Taser training Wednesday at the Toledo Police Academy in Walbridge.

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  • CTY-RESPONSE11-2

    John Weisenburger is helped by Toledo Police Officers John Winger, left, and Kevin Dumas, right, after being tased during the Toledo Citizen Police Academy Class for Action Response, Less Lethal Options, and Taser training Wednesday at the Toledo Police Academy in Walbridge.

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  • CTY-RESPONSE11

    Schylar Meadows is helped by Toledo Police Officer Kevin Dumas, right, after being tased by Officer Dave Cichocki, left, during the Toledo Citizen Police Academy Class for Action Response, Less Lethal Options, and Taser training Wednesday at the Toledo Police Academy in Walbridge.

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  • CTY-RESPONSE11-3

    Toledo Police Officer Kevin Dumas holds a Taser dart during the class.

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  • CTY-RESPONSE11-6

    Robert Worthington holds a Taser during the training session.

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  • CTY-RESPONSE11-4

    oledo Police Officer Kevin Dumas speaks during the training class.

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Some shrieked in pain, some made little noise, and some rolled on the floor to try to get away from the electric current flowing into their bodies as they took turns being shocked with Tasers by Toledo police.

“Dear God, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” Scott Sands, afternoon radio host of 1370 WSPD, said as he stepped on a padded mat.

The volunteers locked their arms to their chests as a police officer stood on each side.

“Spotters ready? Volunteer ready?” master instructor Dave Cichocki asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Mr. Sands replied, sounding unsure.

WATCH: Blade reporter Allison Dunn gets tased

“Taser, Taser, Taser!” Mr. Cichocki said.

Then the familiar electrifying sound rang out. Probes sprang from the device and stuck into Mr. Sands’ skin as he screamed in pain and called for Mr. Cichocki to stop. Mr. Sands was slowly lowered to the ground.

“I think I went down in part because I wanted it to end,” he said. “It was certainly not a pleasant experience.”

Mr. Sands volunteered to be stunned during this week’s Toledo Citizens Police Academy class, which focused on action response and less lethal options such as Tasers. Mr. Sands said he decided to undergo the five seconds of pain so he could better understand what it felt like to be stunned.

“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do this, with the media, especially, there’s not a lot of knowledge about this thing. Some of the knowledge that’s out there is just way over the top — a lot of rumors,” Mr. Cichocki said. 

One of those rumors is how much power the device gives off. Tasers deliver .0012 of an amp — less than an electrical socket or Christmas light — Mr. Cichocki said. He also reviewed how it works along with why and when police use it. 

A common question Mr. Cichocki hears is why officers opt to shoot someone instead of deploying their stun gun.

While each incident is different, officers have to be very close to a suspect to properly deploy their Tasers. Police may only get a partial connection or miss entirely, he said.

In 2017, Toledo police had 55 Taser deployments compared with 40 instances where an officer used deadly force — 37 of those were for a wounded animal. In September, 2017, Shane Marsh was fatally shot during a domestic violence call after he threatened Officer Jonathan Curtis with a knife.

Richard Morris, Jr., and Jayvon Wynne, 22, were also shot in a December shoot-out with undercover detectives.

While teaching new recruits, training officer Kevin Dumas tells them, “actions will always be faster than reaction," and officers must be prepared for the unexpected.

Contact Allison Dunn at adunn@theblade.com, 419-213-2134, or on Twitter @AllisonDBlade.

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