Tasers added

to cops’ tool kit

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LIVERMORE FALLS – Police underwent a six-hour training course Tuesday to add Taser stun guns to their cache of law enforcement tools. Two officers went on the road with them that evening.

They join a growing number of police departments around the state and country using Tasers, an electronic stun device.

Livermore Falls police Chief Ernest Steward Jr. said he was one of four officers who volunteered to be tasered.

The device, shaped somewhat like a gun, shoots an electrical current made to disrupt muscle control. It tightens the muscles, preventing suspects from acting hostile.

He said it didn’t hurt, but learned afterward that his legs were banging together.

Tasers are used to quell a potentially dangerous situation without a physical altercation between an officer and a suspect.

Guidelines for use of the Tasers have been developed as part of the department’s use-of-force policy, which also covers the use of pepper spray, Steward said.

“It’s going to be a better tool to use than pepper spray,” he said.

When pepper spray is used, Steward said, the suspect as well as the officer are affected due to the spray spreading through the air.

Training will be provided annually on use of the Tasers, he said.

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