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Aiken’s Citizen’s Academy continues with demonstrations on less lethal force

September 22, 2018

Subjects covered at Citizen’s Academy this week included use of firearms by police, less lethal force and hostage negotiations.

The evening included a demonstration from the Aiken Department of Public Safety Special Response Team. A distraction device, which lets off a blinding flash and a sound louder than a booming firework, was used in the demonstration. Members of the Special Response Team demonstrated tactics used to remove a combative person from a vehicle.

The lecture covered hostage situations and how police are increasingly having to deal with situations involving mentally ill suspects.

The lecture also covered the use of less lethal force tactics by officers. The term “less lethal” was changed from “less than lethal” because such tactics can still occasionally result in death.

Such tactics include the use of tasers, pepper spray and batons.

Lt. Josh Faulkner of ADPS and several other officers with the department discussed the use of these items.

Faulkner said he prefers not to use to batons, because he found they rarely work to subdue someone.

Following a lecture on the Tasers, another live demonstration was provided by two ADPS officers who volunteered to be tased to show attendees how the weapon works.

Although all officers have been hit by pepper spray as a part of their training, not all have been tased.

“It’s not a mandate for our department, but we’ll tease you real bad if you don’t,” Faulkner said.

Some of the officers said they “never want to get tased again” and would gladly be hit with pepper spray instead.

Each time an officer pulls the trigger on a Taser, a pulse that lasts for five full seconds goes through the target’s body.

The lecture emphasized how critical it is to be able to read a suspect’s body language in order to respond to a situation. Deliberate pauses, glances over a shoulder and a suspect stepping back to close a gap between them and the officer can all be signs that the situation is about to take a drastic turn.

The evening ended with three volunteers from the academy being put through different scenarios that officers have encountered to show how quickly situations can escalate and how difficult it can be for officers with little experience to know exactly what to do in extremely unpredictable situations.

Next week, Citizen’s Academy will cover arson and the Fire Bureau.

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