The basic methodology of executive protection (EP) is the prevention of threats and injury to your client. Being prepared also includes having the means to stop a sudden attacker from harming your client.
We must be armed, but not always necessarily with a firearm. In the EP business when and where we can carry a firearm legally is restrictive and its use is only as a last resort. Warning shots are strictly prohibited. In our business the discharge of a firearm is only for deadly force situations (firing only aimed shots).
Let’s examine the Tasers pros and cons for EP as a less lethal force option, made by Taser International, Inc. Any weapon that can protect your client during a sudden attack is a good weapon.
The Taser is a less-than-lethal weapon. It uses compressed nitrogen to launch two small barbed probes attached by wires and delivers 50,000 volts and each cycle of electrical current lasts five seconds. The maximum effective range of the M26 and X26 (a smaller model) is approximately 35 feet.
Having used the Taser personally; it has good incapacitating and stopping power against an aggressor. The effect on the aggressor being hit by a Taser includes disorientation, the ability to stand, a high heart rate and dehydration.
• The Taser will subdue an attacker without a high potential of killing him. People have been killed by the use of Tasers. However, firearms kill people a lot more often. Most Taser deaths were due to improper usage of the less-than-lethal weapon.
• Several studies found the Taser to be safe and cause only a low incidence of serious injuries while de-escalating attack situations.
• The Bureau of ATF does not classify the Taser as a firearm, as it uses compressed nitrogen and not gunpowder as the propellant. The Taser is non-regulated and is sold on the retail market.
• The Taser gives EP agents a less lethal force option for incapacitating attackers with a well placed shot.
• Historically, EP personnel do not fire a shot in attempted assassinations against principles. Whether time would allow the rapid shooting of a Teaser at an aggressor may be in question.
• Rules of engagement (ROE) for the Taser should be much like firearms; where a person is causing bodily harm to a client or an agent has reasonable grounds to believe a person will imminently harm his or her client. Having ROE policies for Taser use will prevent millions of dollars in potential liability judgments.
• Training with Tasers must become part of a comprehensive EP training program prior to use on an EP assignment. This is essential to become familiar with The Taser less-than-lethal weapon and its capabilities. Pre-deployment Taser training may be financially unsuitable for some EP agents or protective companies.
• Some countries outside of the US have restricted or banned the retail sales and use of the Taser.
• Non-lethal weapons are not always non-lethal, there is no such thing as zero mortality. Being shot by the Taser can significantly raise the heart rate and can cause cardiac arrest in some people due to ventricular fibrillation.
• People using drugs may have irregular heartbeats and suddenly die after being hit by the Taser.
• EP agents need all the tools available to them; however the combination of a firearm and a Taser may make things bulky under the suit coat.
Having the Necessary EP Tools:
Having the basic necessary tools is a must; ones that make you better prepared and assist you in accomplishing your EP mission. I believe it is up to the individual EP agent to decide which ones will work best for them and the security characteristics of the individual environment their clients will be operating in.
Look at the advantages and disadvantages of the particular weapon and make an educated decision to best accomplish the EP mission by conducting a mission analysis at the execution phase, taking into consideration the proper application of EP tasks, protecting the client and accomplishing the EP mission, before the mission commences. Any particular weapon chosen should fully support the EP program.
Always have the approval of the detail leader to use of weapon systems on the assignment, including types of less-than-lethal weapons, which may vary between areas of operations, for uniformity and legal compliance and mission-specific requirements. Your goal should be to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate actions to protect your client with the authority of the detail leader.
EP agents should still have deadly force available as an option when the EP mission dictates. The less-than-lethal Taser does not handicap EP agents, however it is just one more tool available for a well organized, equipped and most significantly trained EP agent. No matter what type of weapon you carry, lethal, less-than-lethal or both, it all boils down to training, because our training with seriousness of purpose and discipline is our weapon, our ace in the hole. Training is essential to help ensure EP mission success by preparing EP agents to face the challenges of today’s complex environment and is money well spent. Keep Safe and God Speed.
About Doc Rogers:
Doc Rogers is the author of Corporate Executive Protection – A Manual for Inspiring Corporate Bodyguards and president and CEO of International Corporate Executive Protection Ltd. Doc has earned a Ph.D. in Security Administration from Southwest University and he is SE Asia’s leading expert on executive protection and corporate security. To learn how to make a full time living as a corporate bodyguard visit the websites below for more information.
Rainey & Phill: Good points some people using drugs may have irregular heartbeats and suddenly die after being hit by the Taser, hence the VF being from combination and not the direct result of the COD.
Phill Aguet Safeguard Resources
I have to agree with Rainy. From the couple of cases i know of, #1 a man in an airport in Canada, and another man in Los Angeles taken down by police, both had some other reason for dying. The stress on the system created by being tased was a factor but not the cause. Suffice to say the conclusions weren’t important enough for the news media to cover. I always say, “Ya they got themselves tased, but they could have very well been shot”.
I do believe the COD was VF, however, it can’t be concluded that a Taser was responsible for it. There is medical research supporting the fact that the Taser does not electrically capture the human myocardium (here is the full list of research http://www.taser.com/research/Science/Pages/CurrentElectronicControlDeviceResearch.aspx).
I’m not disagreeing that there have been deaths following use of a Taser. However, the overwhelming evidence is that there was another reason the heart stopped (e.g. drugs in system, overexertion, underlying heart condition). Given that any less-lethal weapon used against an individual will have consequences, Taser has proven to be one of the safer ones.
I do think you are dead-on about the decision whether to carry one and the implications in deploying it. Just as you would verse yourself in judgmental use of deadly force, anyone utilizing less-lethal weapons should be well trained in the judgmental use of them in an EP situation.
Thanks for writing about Taser. I like that it is creating discussions of its use for EP. Keep up the great articles!
From an autopsy report.
Where did you get information that being shot with a taser causes ventricular fibrillation? In all my taser training, the medical information given states that it does not. It states that it interrupts the signal going from the brain to the muscles. The raised heart rate is from stress and fear, not as a direct result of the taser charge. I’m just curious now.
Good feedback Phill!
Great insight Dr. Holifield!
Phill Aguet Safeguard Resources
Too bad Chicago has banned ownership and use of the taser. Personally if i could, i would opt for the X26 version instead of the civilian carry “phaser” model simply on the basis of presentation. Very little difference than the presentation of a firearm. My only concern would be that the taser, when used, is designed to drop it and run, in the case of the c2, or to remain with the subject. In both cases it seems it would not be ideal either as a primary weapon, nor utilized by a one man team. If you drop it and run, you must have a secondary weapon(along with good intel and exfil) and if you stay, you put your principle in danger, hence, two man teams, or multiple weapon system. My thoughts are not absolute, merely opinion from experience and training. Among professionals, i welcome any thoughts.
Dr. L.C. Holifield
The taser is an excellent “Non-Lethal” option for the EP agent. I currently carry the M28 Advanced Taser, and highly recommend it to any EP agent working today. The C2 Taser is smaller, more concealable and lighter in weight (both have a maximum range of 15 feet). The X26 (Law Enforcement Model) has a longer range (35 feet) and longer battery life, but whichever you choose, the result is the same, instant incapacitation. I speak from experience, having gone through Taser Internationals Taser course and being tasered. The older M18 and the newer M28 both take 8 AA batteries (in the grip) to power it. Be sure to use a high-end Alkaline battery such as Duracell Ultra.
Important Note: When you purchase an Air Taser it will normally come with “Yellow Colored Decals” Do Not Disgard These Decals! The yellow decals are be to placed on the taser which identifies it as a Non-Lethal weapon. This is especially important to law enforcement officers. A taser without these yellow decals looks exactly like a “Firearm” ie the M18 or M28 taser model. The Taser can easily be mistaken for a Glock or other type of firearm.
In closing, the Taser should be a part of your standard gear. Remember: It’s Better to Have and not Need, Than to Need and not Have.