TWO former Orange police officers trained in the use of Tasers have weighed into the debate over the appropriate use of the stun guns, following the death of a man this week.
As part of his police training Greg Pringle, who is a former inspector, experienced firsthand the effects of the Taser during training.
“You don’t feel any pain, but it just renders you completely motionless - you can’t move,” he said.
Far worse he says, is the effects of capsicum spray in the face.
“I can honestly say it was the worst pain I have ever experienced.
“Its like putting your face on a hot plate and then not being able to get any relief until you can keep water on it - it’s horrendous - far worse than the taser,” he said.
A former Orange police officer who did not wish to be named said although trained in the use of Tasers and experiencing the effects during training, he saw it as a last resort.
“I just don’t like them, because I think there are other alternatives.
“Nine times out of 10 a guy can be going off at you, threatening to kill you and you put your hand firmly on his shoulder and tell him he’s arrested, and he goes to water,” he said.
Mr Pringle said he believes Tasers have their place as an alternative to using a weapon to bring a violent offender down.
“Using physical strength these days too is an issue because many police officers are much smaller these days,” he said.
Mr Pringle said he believes the next generation of officers will have far less ability to negotiate with violent offenders.
“I think they’ve [police] grown up in a world of technology, texting and Facebook and they will lack those important face-to-face negotiating skills in the future.
“I would say it is my mouth that has got me out of more trouble in my police career than a baton or weapon of any kind.”
Acting Inspector Mick White of Orange police said only first response officers working in pairs were authorised to use Tasers, with only sergeants, inspectors and commanders able to use them if working alone.
“The probationary constables are all issued with them now as they are receiving training at the academy now,” he said.