Soldiers with the 89th Military Police Brigade felt firsthand the power of their equipment after Taser training at Fort Hood as part of a 12-day course March 5.
The course focused on the basic policies and procedures used for force escalation at Fort Hood.
“Today, they are concentrating on Taser certification,” said Capt. Jonathan Caylor, a civilian police officer and supervisor for the training section of Directorate of Emergency’s Special Reaction Team. “Part of our certification process to this level of force is that they get exposed to the Taser.”
The Taser portion of this course was taught in two sections: classroom environment and hands-on portion. During the class, instructors used the Tasers on the MPs and taught them how to gain the upperhand on situations by getting the person under control and secured. There were two types of Tasers used during the class: cartilages (two small, dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductive wire) and dry stunt (contact with the actual Taser).
“We think that it is important because if you don’t understand the effects that a Taser has then you won’t have confidence in using it, so it builds confidence in the system,” Caylor said. “Secondly, you won’t know how it impacts an individual when it happens to them; the officer has a better understanding of what they are going through and how to get past the initial shock.”
Caylor said some of the questions MPs have before instructors shock them are: What is it like and how long will it hurt?
With a loud popping noise, two classmates calmly laid the trainee on the ground after his body went stiff as a board and was left paralyzed for about five seconds while a jolt of electricity from the Taser surged through his body during class.
“I was tased on my left leg and the pain was localized on that group of muscles; it feels like running a 10-mile marathon with one leg,” said Sgt. Nim Nguyen, with the 89th Military Police Brigade.
Sgt. Joseph D. Schwartz, with the brigade’s 410th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, also took the course.
“People say that being tased is like touching an electrical fence with the full body lock up not being able to move one single muscle, but the experience is completely indescribable,” he said.
Learning how to use the Taser gave the MPs another level of force option.
“We want to make sure that our officers have choices and use good discretion on when to use different levels of force. This is one more option to ensure they go home safe at the end of the night,” Caylor said.
For the trainees this class is not only useful in understanding how to use a Taser, but also when a Taser should be used as an intermediate level of force.
“This training will not only give me the certifications needed for my job, but it will also help me have a better understanding of how this level of force will help me on the job,” Nguyen said.