140th SFS conducts TASER training
By Senior Airman Darren Scott, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 28, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 140th Security Forces Squadron held TASER training for security forces members at their facility on Buckley, which included a classroom portion, voluntary exposures and a new training component designed to train members to think on their feet in stressful situations.
Tasers, or Conducted Electrical Weapons, are the most common form of non-lethal force used by law enforcement today. Master Sgt. Gregory Elrod, 140th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of training, says the CEW training is critical for security forces members.
"It's important for our guys to be certified so they know the correct method of employing this force and also that they know the correct time to employ that force," Elrod said. "That's what these scenarios were about."
"The TASER system itself is what officers are starting to rely on as a bridge between verbal confrontation or verbal control and lethal force," said Master Sgt. Joshua Thornton, 140th SFS TASER master instructor. "It gives us the ability to bridge between the two without actually having to get into a physical fight."
During the training, members volunteered to be safely exposed to a CEW, with spotters and instructors present. One of the main reasons voluntary exposures are recommended is to familiarize members with what getting exposed feels like, so when they deploy the CEW on someone else they can understand its effects and use it with confidence. Voluntary exposure also has benefits in courtroom proceedings when law enforcement members need to justify using a CEW on a suspect.
"It gives you the ability to testify in court that you know what you did," Thornton said. "If a defense attorney stands up and says, 'Do you have any idea of the stress you put my client through by tasing them with that horrible system,' you can say, yes, [I] know exactly what it did. You know how quick the recovery was and you know what the after effects were."
The training ended with a series of scenarios where security forces members were called to a simulated disturbance inside a "box" or small blocked off area. The scenarios involved a role player that did everything from yelling to threatening with a simulated weapon. Members were then evaluated on how they reacted to the scenario and how they deployed the CEW. The "box" training is designed to teach members to react in a stressful, close-proximity situation.
"This training was important because it allowed, in a safe environment, our personnel to engage the role player with the Taser or firearm," Elrod said. "It was making a rapid decision of what's the correct use of force in this scenario."
"A lot of the training today was performing under simulated stress. It helps you think on your feet, and be able to act," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Coover, 140th SFS flight operations.
Thornton recently trained nine members from the 460th Security Forces Squadron to be TASER instructors as well, and believes in the importance of the certification.
"Taser is probably one of the most controversial, less-lethal weapons systems in use today," he said. "It's a less-lethal weapon system that has saved more lives than any other less-lethal weapon system available."