Monday, March 1, 2004

Cleves officers test two new Taser guns

They got to feel the jolt themselves

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLEVES - The Taser's "50,000 volts of pure joy," as police officers here put it, don't feel too great, they learned Sunday.

Corporal John Shumate with the Cleves Police Department runs a training session at the Cleves Municipal Building Sunday morning.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
In a training session for the two Tasers recently purchased by this small western Hamilton County village, officers learned exactly what Tasers do - make whoever it hit feel like his brain is rattling around and render him dizzy and weak.

Every Cleves officer got a short zap by the Taser in the training. Two officers - Chief Mark Demeropolis and Cpl. Chris Masminster - held onto the electric shock for four seconds.

"I couldn't get up and fight after that, no way," Masminster said afterward, showing off the burn mark on his shoulder. "This isn't fun and games. It absolutely incapacitates the subject. It's better than striking someone with our stick. It's just one more less-than-lethal form of force we can use."

The village is the first western Hamilton County community to get Tasers, which they purchased for $350 apiece. Cincinnati police bought 1,100 of the guns after Nathaniel Jones' death in police custody in November.

Several other area police departments, including, Dayton, Ky., Hamilton, and Springfield Township have the stun guns.

But Cleves, with a population of less than 3,000, is the smallest community in the region with Tasers.

"Our little village has U.S. 50 going through it, which is basically just a corridor of trouble," Demeropolis said. Cpl. John Shumate, a Cleves officer, put on the four-hour training session.

He told officers what Tasers do - they contract muscles, give small surface burns, inflict eye injuries if shot too high, and can cause injuries from falling.

Then he told officers what the Tasers don't do - they don't kill people, damage nerve tissue, cause electrocution in a wet environment, or make a person urinate or defecate.



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