TASER barb (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced changes to the state’s policy regarding stun gun use Thursday,” northjersey.com reports. Before the new rules, Garden State cops could only TASE citizens who posed an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to police or other innocent life — the same standard that [generally] applies to other citizens’ use of deadly force against an attacker or attackers. In a letter to law enforcement officials, AG Hoffman wrote that it’s . . .

 unrealistic to expect cops to predict how much damage a suspect could or would inflict on officers or other civilians before whipping out their stun gun and barbing the bad guy. He said the previous regs had a “chilling effect” on officers’ use of TASERs to “de-escalate” situations. And stopped departments like Ft. Lee from equipping officers with stun guns.

Under the new guidelines, NJ police can now TASE individuals who “actively resist arrest,” and/or pose a “substantial risk” of “causing bodily injury.” After they’ve had racial sensitivity training . . .

The policy changes announced Thursday also give officers permission to use a stun gun on someone who refuses to put down or surrender a deadly weapon, clarifies the definition of passive resistance and specifies that a stun gun cannot be used to prevent someone from causing property damage. Officers who carry stun guns also must now be trained in techniques to de-escalate a confrontation with an individual from “a different culture or background.”

The regs also mandate that NJ police must record every stun gun use electronically with either a gun-mounted camera or a body cam.

22 Responses to New Jersey Green-Lights Greater TASER Use for Cops

  1. Have any studies been done about the interaction of high voltage electricity with self tanning spray? Could be a new field of research. Perhaps someone here will write a paper on it.

  2. I’m pretty sure that the new policy is more in line with the rest of the country. I haven’t done a comprehensive survey, but most states do not restrict police use of tasers to cases where deadly force would be warranted.

    • Nope, because that is stupid. If you need to address deadly force, you use a gun. If you’re thinking ‘hmm, I wonder if I can use my TASER” then obviously you aren’t in threat of death or tremendous harm.

      So when will TASERS be legal to carry in NJ for law-abiding citizens?

      lol, I’m kidding.

  3. Ive had a TASER for awhile though and never used it. I use my words first and if that fails I’m more of a hands on type of fella, especially if there is more than one officer present. Usually we can get them into cuffs by physically overpowering them and cranking the wrists back, and the ones that are more aggressive usually get taken to the ground.

    A lot of officers have become overdependent on TASERS and will pull it out before even placing their hands on a subject.

    • I’m with you on that, I am also a hands on guy myself. I also prefer(in general) the spray over the taser. However it is a tool and if used properly in the right situation a good one. I have seen them drop some big dudes that were ready to get down. sometimes you can’t avoid a hands on fight, but when deployed appropriately these can save both officers and suspects injuries.

      • I agree completely, there is definitely a time and a place for the Taser and it’s a great tool to have as long as it’s used appropriately

  4. Zap then cuff will be SOP going forward. The term resisting arrest will be used seconds after they tell you you’re under arrest and you reply “for what”?

    • Exactly. I foresee many more videos involving cops yelling out, “stop resisting!,” as soon as they decide that someone is annoying them.

    • Zapping is probably a lot safer than a physical fight, but either way a recent circuit court decision has held that zapping someone for resisting arrest alone isn’t allowed- it has to be someone actively fighting and presenting some danger.

  5. So you can expect to get lit up after refusing to drop a weapon or challenging an officer to a fight. Ought to make some good YouTube. The requirement for a camera should help limit those incidents where all the court has to go on is the audio recording….Stop resisting, Stop resisting, Stop resisting, Don’t tase me bro…… Zap….Zap….Zap AGHHH….AGHHH….

  6. Seems like they are trying to encourage taser use instead of guns. 1 in 5 people actually get stronger and smarter when they get shocked. These things are toys, not weapons. Go ahead and google “man tased will not go down.” Officers will die because of this.

    • Tasers are less-lethal weapons, and a good force option for police and for taxpayers. I’ve been Tased and had one barb disconnect. In a fight, that would not have stopped me. Then the instructor hit my left shoulder with the dry stun while the other probe still stuck in my right thigh. The pain was worse than any punch, kick, tear gas or pepper spray than I’ve ever been hit with. After that, I bought a Taser C2 and my wife bought one as well.

      I’ve hit suspects with the Taser and it’s worked like a champ. It can also fail to stop an assailant if:

      -the barb has to cross a spark gap greater than 2′ due to heavy clothing
      -one of the barbs misses
      -muscle or limb movement causes a disconnect
      -the wearing has specialized body armor that can dissipate Taser energy
      -the suspect is out of range (about 15′ for C2, 21-35 feet for most other cartridges)
      -the probe spread is too narrow for neuromuscular incapacitation
      -certain drug use
      -insufficient battery charge
      -cartridge disconnect from the Taser unit
      -broken wires
      -intermediate barriers.

      So obviously the weapon has limitations. OC has limitations, too. The Taser is considered less-lethal device, but it can kill. I’ve worked with someone who has killed a suspect on PCP with a Taser. That guy was amped up and wouldn’t stop fighting until his heart gave out. But the Taser is inherently less deadly of a weapon than an AR-15 or a 12 gauge. Those can fail as well, but it is much less likely. Just because you are aware of a single incident where the Taser has failed does not make it a worthless weapon. All weapons have limitations.

  7. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that virtually all developments billed as allowing the state to do their job less cruelly, in fact have the opposite effect. As it simply allows them to get away with lowering the threshold for when intervention is deemed acceptable.

    As backwards as it may seem to those naive and unable/unwilling to think beyond simplistic sales pitches, removing from cops all options aside from either standing by or use lethal force, will end up making policing more humane, as it forces them to take a cold, hard look at whether what they are doing really warrants killing someone over. Exactly by the same mechanism that caused small communities who could not afford to punish “criminals’ by any other means than hanging, to end up more humane than today’s farcical labyrinth of community service, restraining orders and other affronts to anything civil and decent.

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