Law enforcement officials say Taser training is important

A bill which would require a safety course and rules for the use of stun guns for law enforcement made its way to the Iowa House after being passed by the state Senate Monday.

The unanimously-approved bill would make sure that officers receive standardized training provided by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

The bill would include the user of Tasers, which several area law enforcement agencies use.

Although he was not familiar with the bill itself, Fort Dodge Police Chief Tim Carmody said having established rules for Taser use are important.

“It’s important for a policy on use of force, and that includes Taser training and decision-making under stress,” he said. “It’s also important that you practice that policy.”

A good policy, according to Carmody, should also include “clear guidance for officers on when to deploy.”

He said they are a very helpful tool for law enforcement.

“They help us de-escalate or interrupt fights or end confrontations sooner, hopefully with less force than we would have to use without them,” he said. “When deployed effectively they can be very helpful in preventing or minimizing injuries.”

Hamilton County Sheriff Denny Hagenson agreed that training is very important.

“We make sure they have complete training on all the liabilities plus the medical part of them,” Hagenson said. “That training all comes through the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, plus there’s follow-up training they have to go through.”

Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger said he’s also a supporter of the Taser.

“It’s the least-lethal way of apprehending somebody,” Kruger said. “Instead of having to shoot our duty weapons, we can use the Tasers. We’ve used them a few times in different situations.”