Training also must review methods to help officers determine when the tool's use is justified and when it's necessary. The two don't always agree, Ijames explains, pointing to cases where uses were justified by policy but largely unnecessary. The mission should be to safely handcuff the subject with as little force as possible. "Departments want to create a line that says CED justification present, let's assess the actual necessity," he says.
He also promotes student exposure during training. Westminster, Springfield and Seattle encourage officer exposures but do not mandate them. They say experiencing the device firsthand helps students fully understand its effects. "I think you will use this force safely and more effectively if you've been exposed," Ijames says. "It makes you better able to appreciate the issue of restraint."
Sailor stresses he considers instructor exposure a must. A lack of this experience undermines an instructor's credibility, he says. Their credibility further plummets during court testimony. The fact they've never been exposed won't sit well with a judge or jury.
When it comes to these devices, the name game pales in comparison to the nuts and bolts of policy, training and community outreach. With these three things in place, a CED becomes a tool departments cannot live without.
Nine steps to effective CED deployment
"Electro-Muscular Disruption Technology: A Nine Step Strategy for Effective Deployment," a document from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), outlines the steps to follow as an agency selects, acquires and uses CEDs.
The IACP plan recommends the following:
Step 1: Build a leadership team. A CED leadership team comprised of command staff, trainers, legal counsel, a media liaison, and so on can address issues relative to acquisition, costs, policies, training, liability and evaluation.
Step 2: Place CEDs on the use-of-force continuum.
Step 3: Access the costs and benefits of using CEDs.
Step 4: Identify roles and responsibilities for CED deployment. Who will make procurement decisions, develop policy documents, establish a training curriculum, specify training requirements, handle post incident evaluations and engage the community?
Step 5: Organize community outreach. How will your department educate the community at large about these devices, how they work and why they're used?
Step 6: Develop policies and procedures for CED use. Here you write out decisions about operational considerations such as use, training, reporting requirements, medical evaluations and legal constraints.
Step 7: Create a comprehensive training program for CED deployment.
Step 8: Utilize a phased deployment/implementation approach for CEDs.
Step 9: Assess CED use and determine next steps. Departments should conduct follow up assessments of CED use to determine whether the technology is performing as expected, and if officers are complying with department policies.
The IACP report can be found at www.theiacp.org/research/RCDCuttingEdgeTech.htm.