The Taser essay
The Taser, or the Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle, has been one of the latest breakthroughs in police officer safety and security. The main purpose of the weapon is to subdue be able to subdue individuals without the use of lethal force. Case 12 discusses several incidents where the use of the Taser has been deemed unnecessary.
The implementation of the use of the Taser for the working police force has been one of the problems that the managers have been facing. The main argument between the use of the Taser is police discretion. There have already been several cases where police officers have used the Taser in situations that have been deemed by the general public as unnecessary or unreasonable. Examples from Case 12 are the use of the Taser on children and the elderly. Because of this, people believe that police officers should not be allowed to use the Taser at their own discretion.
The counter-argument for this has been that the Taser allows police officers to quickly subdue any offender without the use of lethal force. It allows officers to avoid unnecessary confrontations that may lead to a worse situation. Again, the Taser presents itself as a choice for the officers. The use of the weapon is left to the officers’ discretion. Officers are left to assess and determine whether the use of the Taser is necessary for certain situations.
Given the choice on whether or not to equip the NYPD Police Force with Tasers, I would allow them to carry such weapons. The main reason behind this is that the benefits of these officers being ready and equipped with the weapons far outweighs the cons. The problem that comes with the drafting of Tasers into the police arsenal is the misuse of the weapon.
In order to counter-act or prevent such events from happening, a firm set of rules must be set regarding the use of the Taser for the officers to follow. I believe that the use of the Taser must be limited to individuals who are either mentally challenged, attempting to harm themselves, or those who threaten the safety of others but whose actions do not require lethal force to halt. However, I believe that the officers still have the choice to use it when the individual cannot be coerced thru negotiations and talks, when the situation calls for the use of non-lethal force, or when officers are unable to use lethal force in situations when it is needed. Although the rules remain arbitrary, I believe that the officers are trained well enough to recognize such situations.
However, the problem of organizational failure applies here. Even though officers are given a set of rules and guidelines to follow regarding Taser use, there will still be cases where it is used inappropriately. We must recognize the fallacy of organizational machines, that police officers are not machines and are susceptible to emotion. To subvert this problem, police officers should undergo training which places them under similar stress or emotional levels to situations in order to teach them when and when not to use the Taser. Though it may not fully address the problem, the officers will be less affected by factors that may cause them to not act accordingly to the set rules.
I believe that elected officials should have a small, yet significant, effect on the decision making process on police policy for the purchase and use of guns. This is because of the presence of executive failure. Elected officials may not be able to fully grasp the needs of the police officers and may not have perfect information in deciding for them. I believe that elected officials may be the ones to dictate such rules if extensive research is done in order to assure that the right decisions are made. Without such research, a misinformed decision may turn into a law that implements rules that may do more harm than good. The fallacy of executive comprehensiveness is shown here, that our elected leaders may not have the same knowledge that the individuals who are affected by the laws or rules have.
I believe that specific Tasers should not be made available to individuals who do not possess the same training that police officers have. The rules that govern individuals’ possession and use of Tasers are different from trained police officers. If Tasers will be released to the general populace, the process of acquiring one must be very strict in order to ensure that the weapon is not abused. In addition to that, the Tasers that will be sold in the market must be significantly less powerful than those that police officers use. This is because allowing individuals the same level of armament that officers use is dangerous for other individuals because they do not possess the same training that police officers have. Allowing individuals the same level of weaponry will also decrease the potential power of the police force because the general populace has access to their same weapons.
The problem present here is a civil failure. The general populace believes that they should be allowed to protect themselves using such weapons. However, this idea is very dangerous and has several consequences that affect the safety of others. The fallacy of civic engagement, where the general public can affect the decision making process, should be avoided by giving our decision-makers relevant information which will allow them to decide without public bias. Decision-makers should be able to address this problem act accordingly in order to make informed decisions.