Legal Officers Section

2005 IACP Conference

Miami, Florida

September, 2005


Legal Developments in Use of Force,

With Special Emphasis on Tasers


Fabrice Czarnecki, M.D., M.A., M.P.H. *

Director of Medical-Legal Research

The Gables Group, Inc.

Baltimore, MD 



Recommendations for the use of the TASER

by law enforcement officers


Benefits of TASERs


If properly used:

• May reduce use of deadly force
• May reduce injuries to suspects
• May reduce injuries to officers by suspects
• May reduce litigation by injured suspects


• Only use TASER for physically assaultive subjects

• Limit number of TASER exposures when possible (3 is probably a reasonable number)

• Identify high-risk subjects: age extremes, pregnancy, excited delirium

• If possible avoid using TASER on pregnant women, elderly and very young

• Weigh the alternatives to the TASER (deadly force, baton…) and use TASER when preferable to alternatives

• Allow appropriate exceptions to limits on TASER use: It is better to be “tasered” than shot!

• Train all officers in excited delirium recognition and management

• Call EMS if high-risk subject

• Call EMS if more than 3 TASER exposures

• TASER's should not replace training and other weapons (defensive tactics, baton, firearm…)

• When properly used, TASER is generally non-deadly force, but should be considered higher on the physical force scale than OC

• Safest to avoid exposure during training, whether students volunteer to be exposed or not



 * Fabrice Czarnecki, M.D. is the Director of Medical-Legal Research of The Gables Group, Inc.. He is a graduate of the Necker-Enfants Malades School of Medicine of René Descartes University in Paris, France. He has also been awarded a Master of Public Health degree from the Université Denis Diderot, Paris, and a Master of Arts (in Biochemistry and Genetics) degree from the Université René Descartes, Paris, France. He is a graduate of the École Normale Superieure, Paris, France. He was an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department of the Ambroise Paré Hospital, Boulogne, France.