Clarksville Police Considering Move to Safer, More Reliable Taser Technology

Clarksville Police Considering Move to Safer, More Reliable Taser Technology

CLARKSVILLE, IN (June 11, 2024) – When it comes to de-escalating a heated or dangerous situation, law enforcement officers have a variety of non-lethal tools at their disposal.  These tools range from pepper spray and batons to police K9s and physical force.  However, one of the most commonly used and safer options are conducted energy weapons (CEW), or TASERS.  In fact, a 2020 study in the United Kingdom found that when TASER energy weapons were deployed, they resulted in fewer injuries than when officers used other non-lethal options.

Clarksville Officers deploys Taser 10.
The new TASER 10 can be deployed from up to 45 feet away.

Clarksville Police officers have been using TASERS for decades, but the technology hasn’t changed much in recent years and it is extremely expensive.  According to Public Safety Director Mark Palmer, it can cost up to $2,000 to equip each Clarksville police officer with a TASER, training, batteries, and cartridges.  The cartridges contain the prongs and wire which are fired from the TASER delivers the electrical charge to the target.  Each cartridge costs about $35-$40 each, which also makes it extremely expensive for officers to train in firing their TASERS.

That could all change soon as Clarksville Police Chief Nathan Walls considers a move to a newer and more reliable device called the TASER 10.  The TASER is made by a company called Axon, which is also known for making police body cameras.  Company representatives spent some time in Clarksville this week to demonstrate the new TASER 10 and allow officers to experience the updated technology.  Among the changes is the ability for officers to hit targets up to 45 feet away.  The TASERS currently being used can only fire about half that distance.  Another major change is the ability to fire up to ten shots without having to change out cartridges.

TASER 10 from Axon.

“As a Police Department we are always looking for ways to protect our town while decreasing liability for our officers and the department,” said Chief Nathan Walls.  “Years ago we were thrilled to have a one-shot chance of neutralizing a threat. This new technology gives us ten shots at neutralizing a threat from up to 45 feet. The TASER 10 is a tremendous tool that will provide an enhanced, modern way to protect while keeping our guns holstered more often. We always want that to be our last resort of protection.”

The TASER 10 also has visual and audio warnings the officers can utilize before actually firing the TASER.  A bright light will flash and the TASER emits a loud ping sound.  Another source of excitement for Chief Walls is the training options that come with the new TASER 10.  Unlike older TASERS which had to fire live cartridges during training, the TASER 10 has special training cartridges which come with a much lower price tag.  Axon has also developed virtual reality training technology which will allow officers to practice without ever firing an actual TASER.

District 5 Town Councilman Bob Stotts tests the VR training system.
District 5 Town Councilman Bob Stotts tests the VR training system.

“The training aspect of this technology is fantastic,” said Walls. “This gives us a way to train regularly without spending extra money on hardware and overtime. Historically we would spend thousands of dollars just in basic annual training.  Now we can train as often as we want without added cost.”

Along with Clarksville Police, Axon invited other town administrators and Town Council members to try out the new training and TASER technology.  After getting the chance to learn about the new technology, District 5 Councilman Bob Stotts says he fully supports upgrading CPD’s TASERS.

“I really believe that this technology would be a much better choice for a non lethal weapon,” said Stotts. “The fact that it’s more stable and the quality of the weapon puts our officers on the cutting edge of law enforcement.”

Chief Walls says he is hoping to get that same reaction from other Town Council members as he works to negotiate a price for equipping his officers with the new TASER 10.  Walls says he is currently working on his next budget and needs to determine if the department can afford to make the change.  A final decision should be made in the coming weeks.