Are TASERs The Right Tool For Security Guards?

In the days leading up to the TASER International “Law Enforcement Instructor Course” this week, I was unconvinced that TASERs are a viable self-defense tool for security guards.  However, having completed the course two days later, fired several TASERs during the training, spoken to line officers who carry them every day and seen countless examples of their effectiveness, I am now a believer.

But, before I get too far into my impressions of TASERs as security guard self-defense tools, I should probably take a moment to explain exactly what a TASER is and what it does.  A TASER is an Electronic Control Devise (ECD) that delivers a shock to a subject by means of two probes that are launched from the front of the unit by compressed air.  The probes are connected to the unit by ultra-thin wires, which unravel as the probes fly toward their target.  Once the probes have attached themselves to a subject’s skin or clothing, the unit delivers a debilitating shock that causes severe pain and muscle lockup (also called Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation, or NMI).  NMI is the process by which a TASER stimulates the subject’s motor nerves, which causes the subject’s muscles to contract outside of the subject’s direct control.  This is why you cannot resist the effects of a TASER ECD, unlike a “stun gun”, which only applies pain without NMI.

At the present time, TASER International’s primary business is providing TASER ECDs to police agencies.  However, TASER has developed TASER ECD packages designed specifically to address the needs of professional security guards.  Among them are the “X26″, which is carried by police officers around the world, and the “C2″, which is the smaller, sleeker, simpler and less expensive brother to the X26.  Both the X26 and the C2 use similar technology and both are serious self-defense tools.

In my view, TASER ECDs, particularly the C2, are a wonderful “less lethal” option for security officers.  Unlike police officers, security guards, as a general rule, are not required to subdue subjects or make arrests.  Still, security guards are sometimes placed in harm’s way, by the very nature of their duties. 

While law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly in their efforts to employ “less lethal” technologies, the security industry has not.  Most security guards don’t carry any self-defense tools.  Those who do, carry firearms and batons, both of which are deadly weapons.  The only commonly carried “less lethal” option among security guards is pepper spray (sometimes called O.C., for oleoresin capsaicin).

Pepper spray is a wonderful tool in many instances, but it is not always the best tool.  Take security aboard the San Diego Trolley for example.  What would happen if a security guard sprayed pepper spray at a subject inside a trolley car? The answer is simple.  The entire car and everyone in it would be exposed to the effects of the pepper spray.   The same is true of the security officer who works in a downtown office building, a shopping mall or any other enclosed space.  A firearms is a poor choice for such locations for similar reasons, as well as the fact that a missed shot could injure or kill a bystander.   A TASER ECD, on the other hand, could be deployed against a specific subject, without significant risk of harm to onlookers.

A TASER ECD is also less obtrusive than a firearm.  Security guards in a professional environment, such as an office complex or hospital, might prefer a self-defense tool that is low profile and can be carried in such a way as to be almost unnoticeable.  The C2 has been designed with discretion in mind.  It is a powerful  self-defense tool that does not alarm clients, employees or guests.  It is also moderately priced when compared to the X26 or X3.  TASER offers a special package, called the “TASER C2 Standard Issue Kit” for security guards, which includes the C2, a holster and three cartridges.

The security industry will always need a variety of force options for officers to use in defense of themselves and others.  In some cases, a firearms, baton or pepper spray will be the appropriate tool.  But in many instances, a TASER ECD in the hands of a well trained security guard could be the perfect tool to resolve potentially dangerous encounters, while reducing the risks of injury to everyone concerned, and the costly litigation that often follows such incidents.

If you would like to know more about TASER ECD training for security guards, please contact us directly or check our schedule for the next available TASER ECD course.