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WSP gets on the Taser bandwagon

Washington State Patrol Trooper Bryan Spurling, left, fires his Taser X26 gun at Trooper Kevin Forrester during a training exercise in Shelton on Thursday. The WSP  is putting the Tasers into limited use as troopers are trained to use them and as state funding allows. Washington State Patrol Trooper Bryan Spurling, left, fires his Taser X26 gun at Trooper Kevin Forrester during a training exercise in Shelton on Thursday. The WSP  is putting the Tasers into limited use as troopers are trained to use them and as state funding allows. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Washington State Patrol Trooper Bryan Spurling, left, fires his Taser X26 gun at Trooper Kevin Forrester during a training exercise in Shelton on Thursday. The WSP is putting the Tasers into limited use as troopers are trained to use them and as state funding allows. Washington State Patrol Trooper Bryan Spurling, left, fires his Taser X26 gun at Trooper Kevin Forrester during a training exercise in Shelton on Thursday. The WSP is putting the Tasers into limited use as troopers are trained to use them and as state funding allows.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

SHELTON — Pulled over by a Washington State Patrol Trooper for a DUI and becoming increasingly noncompliant and agressive screaming “Come on, you want to fight me?” the driver was tased and apprehended without the use of force.

Although this was just a scenario and the “driver” was actually Trooper Kevin Forrester, an instructor at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Shelton, it’s a common situation.

In an effort to reduce injuries to officers as well as to non-compliant citizens, WSP is distributing 118 Taser X26 models, initially, to its belt weapons instructors throughout the state. Similar models are already used by Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies.

In the last two years, 166 officers have been injured due to use of force, according to WSP.

“It’s anything from breaking a finger to cuts and bruises to breaking an arm,” said WSP Capt. Fred Fakkema. “You have to remember we’re not in grass, we’re on the roadside.”

The Taser has an electrical current of .36 joules. According to Taser International, the weapon’s manufacturer, that current is far below the 10 to 50 joule threshold which can cause a person to suffer from cardiac arrest. The Taser has an automatic cycle of five seconds and records how many times it is used. That data must then be downloaded by the Trooper’s supervisor and is recorded and tracked.

“The Taser is a technology that has been around for a while, and is proven to be safe and effective in bringing

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