Jemison Citizens Academy teaches facts about a Taser

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

During one of the last sessions held at the Jemison Municipal Complex, more than a dozen Jemison residents attending the class learned details about JPD's experience using the Taser.

Facts about when to deploy a Taser, who receives the deployment and the effects of the weapon were some of the items discussed during the Jemison Police Department’s Citizens Academy “Use of Force” class on Tuesday.

The Citizens Academy started on Feb. 19 with more than 20 enrolled to cover topics such as patrol operations, reports and citations, traffic stops and accident investigations, high-risk traffic stops, a mock crime scene, a Chilton County Jail and communications tour and several others.

McMinn said several in attendance had to drop out due to sports activities in the community, but he has been pleased with the steady attendance of residents showing up to find out more information about the police department.

“I think everyone has enjoyed the classes we have offered this year,” McMinn said. “We have a good group that asks a lot of questions and want to know more about the things we do which is good.”

The Citizens Academy will conclude on May 7 and McMinn said those participating in the class will provide feedback for JPD.

“Everyone has heard from us each week and now it is time for us to hear from them,” McMinn said. “We want to know what they have enjoyed or ways we could do things better and look forward to hearing the feedback from them.”

The JPD holds the Citizens Academy each year for 10 weeks and does not train an individual to be a police officer, but produces residents that are more informed about the inner workings of the police department.

During one of the last sessions held at the Jemison Municipal Complex, more than a dozen Jemison residents attending the class learned details about JPD’s experience using the Taser.

The Taser is a tool that helps control combative subjects by shooting an electrical current that temporarily disrupts voluntary control of muscles.

JPD police officers leading the class explained the Taser gun causes the muscles to lock up during a Taser cycle and the subject being tased is essentially unable to move for 5 seconds.

Although suspects hit by a Taser receive no significant injury, there are metal clips resembling fishhooks that attach to the body as the electrical currents stun the suspects.

Once a Taser cartridge is deployed on an individual, JPD officers have a paramedic team remove the metal clips from those tased.

JPD deputy chief Marc McMinn told the class on Tuesday that Taser guns are a great tool to have in the event someone is not complying with police. However, JPD does not deploy the Taser often.

McMinn said eight Taser cartridges can last the department an entire year before having to purchase more and the city does have a Taser policy for all police officers to adhere to.

“We aren’t going to just tase anyone,” McMinn said. “Our officers are trained to know what to do and when they need to deploy the Taser.”

JPD Sgt. Brandon Wright, police officer Freeman Ellison, JPD reserve director Floyd Glass and police officer Stephen Blaylock led the class discussion and deployed a taser to a piece of cardboard for everyone to have a firsthand glimpse of how the weapon works.

McMinn explained that volunteers in the class who wanted to be tased would not be able to until a certified Taser instructor was on scene.

“All of our police officers carry a Taser gun on them and they are certified to do so,” McMinn said.