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Imperial police undergo Taser training

December 20, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — The Police Department here recently purchased two Taser guns to help capture suspects.

And, after a training exercise Wednesday, officers will know how it feels to be hit by a Taser, as officers were administered the powerful jolts.

Imperial police Investigator Tim Ramos said, "Research has shown it is effective and an alternative to lethal force."

"It implements an overpowering jolt on the inside of the body," said Ramos.

Each shot has 50,000 watts, or 26 volts, of electricity to jolt the target for five seconds, enough to bring any person to his or her knees.

On Wednesday, Imperial police officers trained using the Taser guns. Each officer was allowed to shot at a target consisting of a piece of cardboard.


The Taser gun uses cartridges inserted into the front end of the gun. Each cartridge contains two small metal spear-like rods attached to wires. The spear-like rods stab into the subject while the gun delivers the jolts through the wires.

The training ended with each officer being jolted by the Taser guns to know what a suspect will feel if hit. Each officer had the spear-like rods taped to his body, one on his chest and the other on his leg.

The first to get "tased" was Officer Leonard Barra. Barra, a large man, was almost brought to his knees after a jolt of less than a second. Barra was being held by two other officers as he was jolted.

"I was nervous at first but excited," he said.

"You black out but feel a sharp pain. You lose all your body movement," he said.

One by one, each officer reluctantly but bravely received a jolt.

A Press reporter and Press Staff Photographer Cuauhtemoc Beltran allowed themselves to be shocked by the Taser guns.

Ramos said each Taser gun costs about $400. Each cartridge costs about $18.

Ramos said the department is planning on getting more Taser guns.

"Were excited for the department. It's an effective tool without the lethal effects," he said.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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