What’s it like to be tased?

At one point in my career I was in charge of training for my department. When TASERs started to be available, we wanted to make sure all our officers were trained on how AND WHEN to use them before they were put out on the street.

So I went to the TASER instructor school, a 2 or 3 day course for certification. It was not mandatory, but the instructor asked if there were any volunteers to “take a ride” on the TASER for the class’s edification. I have a bad habit of volunteering. I figured if I was going to be using this thing on the street, and maybe have to TASE someone with it, I should know how it feels.

There was one guy at each elbow, my back was to the shooter, who was about 10 feet behind me. He asked me if I wanted a countdown, of if he should pull the trigger without warning. I opted for no warning.

I heard a loud POP, and then it felt like 60 plastic baseball bats where hitting me in the back 30 times a second. I never felt the barbs go into my skin. My limbs went stiff, and the guys at my elbows lowered me to the mat. The charge last 5 full seconds, each second felt like it lasted 10 minutes. I was totally aware of everything going on around me. At no time did I lose consciousness, as some people mistakenly believe. I kept thinking this is going to stop any second, but it just kept going.

When it finally ended, one of the guys pulled the barbs out of my back (again, no sensation of pain), and they helped me to my feet. I could feel my adrenaline flowing, but there were absolutely no after-effects of the TASER.

I do know if I was threatened by an officer I would do anything NOT to be TASED.

Rick Bruno, Former Police Commander, Illinois

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