What is an ETD? It is an electonic torture device, a cattle prod,a tazer. I have given this tazer dilemma a lot of thought. From the approximately one thousand questionairs I handed out I learned our citizens don't like tazers any more than I do, BUT they want an alternative less deadly than pulling the trigger on a 9mm Glock.
Let me set the scene: I go back here as a cop a long time. In the early 1960's I was a street cop here in PDX, before tazers, before mace, before bullet proof vests, and in a time when the only radio a cop had was in the police car they left parked at the curb. In the 60's we had riots here, a military recruiting station on Union (now MLK) and Shaver was bombed. The black panthers were active in Portland. One of our street cops was shot in the back and paralized for life. Does any one remember his name was Stan Harmon? One of our officers shot gunned a rioter trying to firebomb a furniture store on union avenue.
Bottom line here, I was a street cop in the 1960's. And how did I control suspects without ETD'S? We did a lot more talking and we didn't look like the Gestapo. When that didn't work I used the carotid hold shutting off blood to the head. In a matter of seconds the person loses consciousness, rolled them over and handcuffed them. That's how it was done and I used it dozens of times over the years.
Why was this technique discontinued? Because one man died after being choked at a convience store. How many people have died from an induced heart attack after being hit with 50,000 volts from a cattle prod. 74! Look up "tazer deaths" on the internet. Read the officer's comments on the deaths. They all say we are sorry the person died, "but he was high."
It is not OK to kill someone even if they are high, especially if you didn't intend to. And I find myself wondering,isn't there some kind of criminal negligence when a policeman kills someone he was not intending to kill?
Of course there is. Death happens because there is no way for the cop to tell if the victim has a heart pace maker, or a heart murmur and no way to tell just what the hell the victim might be high on. When the 50,000 volts hits the heart it is just a crap shot if they live or die!!
This is unacceptable. Tazers are mad science. They are a liability. They are in fact a loose cannon in the hands of cops too eager to use them to scare people by pulling the trigger and making the electric arc crackle and spark. Back to the future I say. Go back to something that just left the person unconscious for a few seconds, but didn't cause a heart attack.
Call Mayor Tom Potter and tell him to ditch the tazers. Potter was a street cop back in the day. Call Diane Linn the County Chair and tell her to ditch the tazers. Call the governor and tell him to ditch the tazers too.
Let's get together and retire old sparky