It’s hard to imagine the time before Tasers. With the original Taser M26 having been introduced in 1999, an entire generation of cops has come onto the job working with or working around Taser technology. Younger police officers have little experience with the “polyester pile” of yesteryear. Those were the days when multiple police officers tackling and piling on violent criminal suspects or EDPs (emotionally disturbed persons) was a regular occurrence.

Far from being the “good old days,” the time before Tasers meant increased danger to officers because of the necessity to close the gap and go hands-on with very violent suspects, increasing the possibility of officer injury. Multiple officers in close proximity made the ultimate danger of an officer’s gun being taken away a real possibility. When you’re rolling around on the ground, biting, eye gouging, scratching and strikes from a criminal suspect are all-too-common occurrences. In addition, in the polyester pile, you risk a back strain or other injury or even an accidental blow from a brother or sister officer. Believe me, there’s nothing to romanticize or be nostalgic about. No, I’d much rather stand back—up to 35 feet away—from a bad actor and “Taze him.” So would the many other officers carrying an estimated 500,000 Tasers worldwide, according to the

According to Taser International, as of January 2013, over 1,794,000 field use/suspect applications with Tasers have been recorded by military and police forces throughout the world. In addition, according to Taser, applications in training or on a volunteer number over 1,351,891. To save you from doing the math, over 3.14 million folks have had the Taser “experience.” That’s an amazing number of applications with an incredible safety record.

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