Taser Bridges Gap Between Officer Vulnerability And Lethal Force


I would like to respond to the article on Tuesday's front page regarding the police using a taser on a handcuffed suspect.

Onecember 14 of 2000, I was working as a police officer for the town of Payson when I responded to a call involving a subject possibly threatening suicide.he events that unfolded over the next few minutes were life-changing for me.


Charlene Hunt

What began as anttempt to prevent someone from possibly taking their own life turned into my ownedical nightmare.
The call quickly escalated from someone in need of help to a suspect trying to hurt as many of us as he could.

In an instant, the suspect went from having a calm conversation to violent confrontation.

Substance abuse has that effect on people. Luckily we had six officers, including two supervisors. Handcuffed and surrounded by a half-dozen officers, he began to kick and kick and kick. It took all six of us to finally restrain him after he began his attack.

In the battle to restrain him I was kicked in my right knee. We had to put him in leg restraints, and even then he tried biting and butting heads with anyone he could. By the next morning my knee had swollen to twice its size.

I was placed on light duty and in January 2001 underwent surgery, followed by months of physical therapy. The end result: I was no longer fit for duty.

I was "medically retired" as of June 30, 2001. The depressionhat followed losing my career was much greater than the pain from surgery or the ongoing medical treatment I continue to receive.

The taser gun was a great gift to law enforcement. It is designed to encourage "compliance" and keep the officers and the suspects safer so theyon't have to go "hands on" with a suspect, risking injury or death.

Compliance means to obey orders. I am sure when the Payson Police Department finishes its review of the arrest, they will conclude that the suspect was not complying with their demands, and deployment of the taser was proper.

The criminal histories of the person who injured me, and the suspect Officer Varga and the other patrol officers walked away from are parallel. But the technology over the last five years is what has changed.

I only wish that on Dec. 14, 2000ne of my fellow officers would have been armed with the taser.ossibly I would not be carrying a badge with the words "retired" on it.

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