Police get Phazzers

Calhoun Police Department Officer Brian Pepper shows the new electronic control device police are carrying, the Phazzer.

Calhoun Police Department officers have a new tool in their arsenal of crime-fighting devices. Wednesday night, they began carrying a new piece of equipment, an electronic control device known as the Phazzer Enforcer 2, Chief Garry Moss said.

It was the first time city police officers had such devices; the cost of the well-known Tazer has been a constraint, Moss said.

“The Phazzers came out and they’re cheaper than the Tazers were and more effective and a they’re a little bit safer than the Tazer,” Moss said. “The Tazer, you could just continually shock somebody with it. The Phazzer, you can only shock for five seconds and it shuts off and then you can do that three times total, and then it shuts down completely. You can’t just continually shock somebody with it.”

An officer would have to reload the Phazzer to use it again, Moss added.

The Phazzer produces more than three times the voltage of the Tazer, making it more effective, according to the CPD press release. The department’s decision to issue Phazzers to its officers comes after extensive research, training and support from the mayor’s office and the city council.

“The Phazzer, which is used by many law enforcement agencies across the United States, is a new tool for Calhoun City officers. Studies have shown that the availability of a Phazzer may deter violent behavior and reduce injuries to both suspects and officers,” the release said.

Moss said the Phazzer could be used in situations such as the one a Calhoun police officer faced several months ago. A man was trying to kill himself by slashing his throat, and tried to cut an officer who was attempting to take the knife.

“Occasionally we have to pepper spray people or wrestle with them, fight with them, but it’s just another device that is a less lethal weapon,” Moss said. “We’ve had a couple officers who have had to shoot somebody and the last incident near the college, if the officer had had the Phazzer, he wouldn’t have had to shoot that guy.”

In that incident, the officer shot the suicidal man, who survived.

“It wasn’t a real serious wound, but it could have been,” Moss said. “With this, it would have just been a shock, and it would have been over.”

Moss said the department purchased 14 Phazzers for $13,955, which was funded with money and assets seized during drug investigations.

Each police officer on patrol will be equipped with a Phazzer and is required to complete an 8-hour certified training course.

“We’re trying to do all the safety precautions,” Moss said. “They’re not going to be a toy for them to play with. It’s a tool to protect them and to protect our citizens. Anything’s that less lethal, that’s what I want.”

CPD’s Phazzers will audio and video record incidents in which the electronic control device is deployed. Video of the incidents will be downloaded and reviewed by supervisors and subsequently entered into evidence.

“We believe this technology will aid our officers in the department’s continuing efforts to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of Calhoun” CPD spokesman Lt. Tony Pyle said in the release.

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