Safety and injury profile of conducted electrical weapons used by law enforcement officers against criminal suspects

Annals of Emergency Medicine
William P BozemanJ E Winslow

Abstract

Conducted electrical weapons such as the Taser are commonly used by law enforcement agencies. The safety of these weapons has been the subject of scrutiny and controversy; previous controlled studies in animals and healthy humans may not accurately reflect the risks of conducted electrical weapons used in actual conditions. We seek to determine the safety and injury profile of conducted electrical weapons used against criminal suspects in a field setting. This prospective, multicenter, observational trial tracked a consecutive case series of all conducted electrical weapon uses against criminal suspects at 6 US law enforcement agencies. Mandatory review of each conducted electrical weapon use incorporated physician review of police and medical records. Injuries were classified as mild, moderate, or severe according to a priori definitions. The primary outcome was a composite of moderate and severe injuries, termed significant injuries. Conducted electrical weapons were used against 1,201 subjects during 36 months. One thousand one hundred twenty-five subjects (94%) were men; the median age was 30 years (range 13 to 80 years). Mild or no injuries were observed after conducted electrical weapon use in 1,198 subjects (99.75%; 95% ...Continue Reading

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