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Police Officer Speaks Out Against Taser

By Jane Mundy, on 12-03-2008 14:57

Published in : Agenda, Policestate

Views : 93055    

Nick Dial was a police officer who volunteered to be Tasered. Since then his health has suffered to such an extent that he can no longer work. And he's not alone; other police officers have suffered serious health problems, from vertebrae misalignments to heart arrhythmia and stroke. "In its video, Taser International claims that nobody has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of the Taser, but that just isn't true," says Dial.

 

In August of 2006 Dial attended a Taser Training class. "During the class we watched a video by Taser about how the device works, what to expect and who it can be used on," says Dial. "I don’t know if they changed their policy since but they said it was OK to Taser anyone--even a pregnant woman. I turned to my buddy and said, 'Are you serious? Why would you Taser a pregnant woman?' Answer: the video made claims that nobody has suffered a serious injury or Taser death as a result of the device. 'After being Tasered you may feel a little muscle soreness, like after playing sports or working out, but no serious problems will occur,' the Taser rep told us.

Had I known better, I would never have volunteered to take the hit. As well, in the police department, there is a jock mentality--you have to step up and prove you are a man otherwise you're gonna get hazed for the next few weeks. Most of us say screw that, I'm gonna take the hit.

This is how they did it. Two officers took an arm each and rather than have the fish hooks go through my clothing, they cut the barbs off the end of the wire and connected the positive and negative to the back of my bare back and taped the wires on. One wire was taped below my right shoulder blade and the other wire was on my left back area so there was a perfect line going across my spine. I was hit with the Taser for three seconds, one surge. It was painful and my back arced. When it was over I was in a ton of pain--my entire back was throbbing and it was difficult to breathe.

I mentioned it to my trainer (who is certified by Taser) and he said that is normal to be sore and I will be OK soon. That night I went home in a lot of pain, it hadn't let up. I couldn't sleep all night. After about 2 days I mentioned it to my sergeant and he told me to report to workers compensation; they sent me to urgent care and I had some x-rays on my spine. I didn't have any fractures but had a severe strain. After that I tried to continue work but it never felt right. Eventually they sent me to a spine surgeon who did an MRI. According to him my back was OK, but I was sent to physical therapy--it helped a bit but I was still having problems.

Besides the back issue, about a month after I was Tasered I got severe headaches and dizzy spells. My sergeant said I didn’t seem myself, I was out of it. I am usually an outspoken guy, cracking jokes, but he noticed I was very reserved…

One night I was on a domestic violence call and I was outside as back-up. All of a sudden I had severe vertigo and my head started spinning. I was having a hard time breathing and felt really weak. It scared the hell outa me. (I've never had anxiety in my entire life or any major health problems. As a matter of fact I graduated from the police academy almost at the top in physical fitness. I also have a strong resume from working in stressful situations, from armed transport to security supervisor.)

I went home and my wife took me to ER--she was scared too. I was having tremors but the hospital couldn't find anything wrong. My symptoms became more severe—like I had brain fog: I couldn't concentrate and I was completely disoriented. One day I couldn't even check the mail, I had to almost crawl back to the house!

The symptoms persisted and I was told by my supervisor that I should apply for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) . I was granted leave and in the meantime I have been to ER so many times. I wake up white as a ghost, I can't breathe and my wife rushes me to hospital. They thought I was having anxiety attacks but that didn't make sense—why didn't it show up before? How can an adult be OK one day and come down with anxiety the next? Finally I noticed when I ate certain foods I didn't look right. Then I was tested for blood sugar and when I ate certain things it went through the roof. I also lost 30 lbs, from 170 to 140 – I am 5' 9". My uniform doesn’t fit anymore.

I went to an endocrinologist who thought I was diabetic. He tested me and said I wasn't but my pancreas was off--my body wasn't using insulin properly. A second endocrinologist found my testosterone extremely low (it was 199 and should have been at least 500—I was 25 years old at the time). And my cortisol level was rock bottom. So they thought my adrenal glands were kicking the bucket. Tests showed they were functioning but not well because the problem with low cortisol is that adrenal glands produce all kinds of hormones and it is the buffer zone to handle stress; it regulates inflammation and the heart and more. Adrenal glands act as risk management and take care of your body in a crisis. My hormones were whacky so I had an answer—kind of.

But every doctor is perplexed and has no idea why these hormone levels have gone haywire. They don't know how to correct it. I mentioned the Taser and they said the body runs on electricity and it is very possible that the Taser caused my adrenal glands to short circuit or damage my nervous system. Now it is also possible I have anxiety but it is a by-product of the original problem. This all started right after I got Tasered--it is too coincidental. Just connect the dots.

Since August of 2006 I have been on a roller coaster ride. Every day is a challenge. I can’t work, I am unreliable, I am tired all the time and sometimes I can't even make it to the grocery store. I can't even hold my daughter for long before my back starts throbbing."

Police File Lawsuits against Taser International

Nick Dial's health problems led him to do a lot of research and he phoned some officers around the country who suffered after being Tasered. Dial says a police department in Chicago filed a suit against the weapons company but the city was forced to drop it because "it cost them too much money--Taser came at them with such force." In another incident Dial says a Chief of Police in southern Arizona was hooked up to an EKG and was Tasered during a demo to prove to his men that it was safe. "After he took the hit he had a stroke. He filed a lawsuit against Taser but lost the case."

"One young guy in Illinois was Tasered and he fractured 3 vertebrae in his neck," says Dial. "He had multiple surgeries and attempted to go back to work but the first time he had an encounter with physical force it opened his wound and ended his career as a cop. He can't do a whole lot. Like me, you kind of go through an identity crisis. You become a cop because you do it for the better good and you love your job. But now we don’t know what to do—we feel like our jobs have been stripped from us and it causes a state of depression--I want nothing more than to go back to work.

I feel that a lawsuit against Taser International is about ethics and morality worldwide. A lot of cops will blindly defend this action because this device is a useful tool and does have a place but the way it is utilized is not appropriate. The problem is that the company has presented their product as a non-lethal device and said 'no worries'. So officers have it driven into their heads that they can use it in many unjustified situations.

Public Perception

An officer wouldn’t use a baton unless they were being assaulted--that is extreme physical force. But the Taser is being used in passive resistance: when an officer confronts a suspect, gives an order and the suspect isn’t compliant. In that situation many officers have used it as a non-compliant rule, like getting mouthy. If a cop used a baton that would be police brutality but for some reason the public thinks that the Taser is different, not a dangerous device. And there is the visual aspect: when you see someone beaten with a baton that is extreme but when you see someone Tasered and he doesn't fall, it doesn't look bad. Even so, it is a violent act; it just doesn’t look that way.

It isn't so much the police force's fault but some officers should use more common sense; a woman in a wheelchair was Tasered! The criteria for training comes directly from Taser International and so far I haven’t seen one study that was not funded by them. And up until recently, there wasn't one lawsuit they lost. But I think that is going to change…"

   
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Get your facts straight

By: Dr. Know (Guest) on 10-08-2009 00:12

Get your facts straight

By: Dr. Know (Guest ) on 10-08-2009 00:12

I Know Dial and his background. 
The fact you would speak with such ignorance and arrogance about something you have little understanding about speaks volumes about your character. Nick Dial graduated the Police Academy with a 4.0 GPA. Nick Dial's FTO violated several department policies. He failed to debrief, turn daily observation reports, would talk on his cell phone for hours in the car leaving his trainees siting alone and not knowing what to do. He was terminated by a FTO director who belittled him for speaking up about his FTO's poor training. This same director was later fired for abusing police databases to track down his wife's lovers, and stalking his wife while on the clock as an officer. He was suspended by the state for ethics violations. How ironic?  
 
When Dial went to his second agency, He did so with the support and recommendation by a commander from his first agency. They had looked into it, and agreed that Dial was terminated on unjust grounds, and gave him a good reference. 
 
Dial did very well in FTO at his new agency, and was a good officer. He began having health problems yes, but it took many doctors to figure out what was wrong. You act as if Dial was not sick. Let me explain something to you, Dial moved to a new city and bought a house, fully dedicating himself to his new job. When he became ill, he tried to continue to work, but being a patrol officer and getting dizzy spells along with sever fatigue and weakness is NOT safe. His commander did not wish him too, but He eventually resigned due to the ongoing health problem. Dial felt that he was putting the public in danger, his fellow officers in danger, and himself by continuing patrol under these circumstances. After Dial left, he lost his house to foreclosure due to lack of income. He has not been able to work. Does this sound like someone who is not really sick? He lost everything he had worked for, his job, his house, his financial security, even his medical coverage.  
 
Dial himself did not believe the Taser was responsible, until several of his doctors informed him that they believed the taser had effected his endocrine system. So you know, they have found out he has a Pituitary Gland deficiency, causing his entire hormone panel to be out of whack. He has had several lab reports come back showing his testosterone, cortisol, and other hormones to be very very low. This will cause a whole host of medical problems in a person, and not allow them to recover or perform. The doctors feel that the taser was responsible for his glands not functioning properly. 
 
You are not a doctor, nor have you seen his records. To speak with such animosity shows your true colors. 
 
You say no one has ever been hurt from the Taser, maybe you should do your homework before you make such asinine comments. There have been MANY Officer injured during training, and has suffered health problems. Dial never sued Taser, but there have been plenty of cops who have. Just to educate you, here are some link to the many officers hurt. Next time you should get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouth about things you have no knowledge of. 
 
Here is a good one for starters, 5 police officers sue taser in two weeks. 
http://www.azcentral.com/ arizonarepublic/local/ articles/0820taser20.html 
 
This officer was injured during a demonstration by Taser for the British metro police 
http://www.janes.com/news/ lawenforcement/pr/ pr071011_1_n.shtml 
 
Officer injured during Taser training 
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=611591 
 
Another Officer hurt 
http://findarticles.com/p/ articles/mi_qn4188/ is_20061106/ai_n16824030/ 
 
Nevada Metro Police Raise concern for taser Safety 
http://www.liveleak.com/view? i=e93_1227553238 
 
These are just a few of the MANY stories about officers being hurt and suffering from training. Sad had your argument falls apart with just a little fact checking and homework.  
 
How sad for you.

 

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guest

By: kelly (Guest) on 05-22-2009 06:31

guest

By: kelly (Guest ) on 05-22-2009 06:31

Before you begin to feel so sorry for Nick Dial, you should understand that he is a hypocondriac. He was unable to pass FTO with one agency so he went to an agency where they pass pretty much everyone. During his FTO phases his training officers had the documentation to terminate him but the command staff refused because they needed man power. After he completed his FTO phase he was on the worked maybe 3 months. He was never at work for one "health condition" after another, his wife was having a baby, and conditions that have never been heard of before. I believe in taser whole heartedly due to knowing many people who have been tased and no one has suffered any effects from the experience. The only condition that Nick Dial suffers from is being unable to perform in the capacity of a police officer because he is scared.

 

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its about ethics

By: fellow cop (Guest) on 04-29-2009 14:46

its about ethics

By: fellow cop (Guest ) on 04-29-2009 14:46

He should get over what? being told that a device was safe, and then suffering health problems when he takes a hit? So hes not a real cop because he feels that the Taser needs to be handled with more care and respect? sounds like hes exactly the type of cop we need on the streets. Obviously you didn't read the article. No where did he say he was suing them, he said a lawsuit is about ethics, and holding the company responsible. Your attitude is so typical of other Officers. We as cops have a responsibility to protect the public, If I reach for a taser and use it thinking it wont hurt the person, and they die because of a complication is that right? I wouldn't pull a bean bag shotgun out of my patrol car and use it as a compliance tool, why should the taser not be given the same respect? people are dying after being tasered, whether you like it or not, that is a fact. sounds to me you need to get back in touch with what it really means to be an officer. We are here to protect and serve the community, not put them in unnecessary harms way.

 

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police officer

By: Whatever (Guest) on 04-27-2009 05:57

police officer

By: Whatever (Guest ) on 04-27-2009 05:57

Ya. I dont believe it. 170lbs when hired? Try 140lbs when hired... Yeah I dont think so.. Medical problems? probably, but not caused by the Taser. GO Taser Awesome tools. Lets forget about all the people and cops that the Taser has saved and worry about this. I know when I go to work I might not come home, But I do it anyway. Its a risk all REAL cops are aware of. Get over it. Seems to me someone who would want to sue a company resposible for saving lives is no better then the people we deal with on a daily basis.

 

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...

By: Kevin (Guest) on 12-11-2008 12:05

...

By: Kevin (Guest ) on 12-11-2008 12:05

It's always bothered me that whenever a weapon is developed that has no practical use other than torture, it's considered a "tool for riot control."

 

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Taser Death at Miami University

By: Pissed Off Student (Guest) on 12-11-2008 11:43

Taser Death at Miami University

By: Pissed Off Student (Guest ) on 12-11-2008 11:43

Okay, so the City of Oxford and Miami University busted its ASS to cover this up... Last year, a minor altercation at Brickstreet Bar & Grill led to a recently graduated alumnus being thrown out of the bar. When his friend stepped up to offer assistance, the idiot cop tasered him in the chest. Due to a previously existing heart condition, the young man died. I don't know how MU and the OPD didn't get reamed for this, but it happened.

 

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Good tool, bad implimentation

By: Stan (Guest) on 12-10-2008 02:58

Good tool, bad implimentation

By: Stan (Guest ) on 12-10-2008 02:58

The fools who brought this product into use SHOULD be sued. How can you POSSIBLY claim that you can send electricity into a person's body and then claim that there will definitely be no long term ill effects? 
 
The taser is a useful tool in an officer's kit, however, because of the way this tool has been marketed, it is being used in a way that is contrary to its proper use. It SHOULD be used to disable a violent criminal when the only other alternative is putting an officer or others at risk. Instead it is used for things as simple as non0compliance. That is excessive use of force and a violation of a citizen's rights. 
 
Had it been marketed properly, this wouldn't be happening. Police need to understand this isn't a "completely safe" tool. It is "less than lethal" force, and should be used in that manner. A police officer needs to understand that any action taken with a taser is just like any action taken by any other less than lethal weapon, such as a bean bag gun, flashlight, or nightstick. It should only be used when the option of NOT using it presents a risk of violent injury to the officer, subject, or civilians. Any other use is brutality, plain and simple. 
 
My job for years was the safe handling of violent people. Most violent people can be brought down safely and effectively with minimal risk. The taser is a tool, but one that presents genuine dangers. Those dangers happen to be a lot less than being hit by a bullet, but that does not justify the use of such a weapon (yes, the taser is a weapon) in non-violent scenarios. 
 
Police in training need to be informed that the effects of the taser are NOT fully understood. While the large majority of subjects suffer no permanent injury, the possibility exists. They also need to understand that the use of a taser should be considered a violent act, just like swinging a club at a subject. Tasers are painful. Using them in situations that are not called for should be considered an act of torture, and should never be used in non-violent cases, such as simple non-compliance.

 

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This article cites poor evidence...

By: Sean (Guest) on 12-09-2008 20:10

This article cites poor evidence...

By: Sean (Guest ) on 12-09-2008 20:10

I'm not particularly fond of tasers, but this article seems to me to be blowing things out of proportion in a few ways; 
 
1) Many people are tasered every day, and a handful of people have been hurt by the experience. This isn't what's important. People die in cars, roller blading, all kinds of things. The question is really whether tasers hurt more people more badly than they prevent from being hurt when the alternatives would be lethal force or more difficult nonlethal methods. 
 
2) As far as I can tell, the evidence here is anecdotal. Anecdotal evidence and isolated case studies are pretty worthless in medicine. There's anecdotal evidence that phrenology works I'm sure, and someone out there will tell you that he became impotent, suspiciously at the same time as his office installed fluorescent lights. It's not good enough to just say that. 
 
So here's this scary story about all the weird things that a taser can do to a guy. The vertebrae injuries and the stroke seem legit, although they also would probably not have occurred in individuals who were not already susceptible to those problems. It's somewhat unusual to crack healthy bone with muscle spasms, though certainly not impossible either. And a police chief who is probably middle-aged in a high stress job is at pretty high risk for stroke. 
 
And of course, the bulk of the article is devoted to Mr. Dial, who doesn't really have any proof that most of his problems were caused by the taser. I have a hypochondriac uncle, and he always starts an episode the same way. There's some pain, a headache, a backache, a leg cramp, whatever, and it gets blown out of proportion. Then he goes to some doctors, and the pain just never goes away. Eventually he comes up with some unusual explanation for the disease, and doctor-shops until someone finally agrees that he /might/ be right about what the problem is. Eventually he stops talking about the episode, but he never quite admits that there was nothing to support his having had his fourth, or fifth, or sixth one-in-a-million disease. 
 
Now I can't tell that Mr. Dial is a hypochondriac. There are actually dozens of reasons that he might have started having the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, completely unrelated to the actual physical event of being tased, but which might happen at the same time, whether by cause and effect or by chance. If someone who needs to be in denial, a physical problem is a great cover for a psychological one. And, for all I know, Mr. Dial really has had an unusual response from his adrenal glands, something that for some reason is really poorly documented in the past hundred years of electrocution literature. 
 
But that's sort of my point. I don't know, and you don't know either, unless you happen to be a medical professional in contact with Mr. Dial. There are hundreds of these bad medical anecdotes on the web today, and it would be nice if we could avoid spreading yet another one because someone is casting about for more reasons to hate tasers.

 

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that sucks

By: nate (Guest) on 12-09-2008 15:11

that sucks

By: nate (Guest ) on 12-09-2008 15:11

Live Rellik's comment about the area bridged by the contacts was exactly what I thought when I read this. I don't know that much about how tasers usually work, but I wouldn't think that the leads are meant to be placed so far apart, or across a vital structure such as the spinal cord. In my mind that demonstrates the incompetence of the Taser company person that did the demo. And that they can claim that its completely safe is ridiculous when even small amounts of electricity are known to be fatal if they pass through the heart or brain. 
 
And to JD, the person who said Officer Dial was a pussy, go stick your keys in a wall socket. Only then do you have any room to talk.

 

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JOCK

By: JD (Guest) on 12-09-2008 13:06

JOCK

By: JD (Guest ) on 12-09-2008 13:06

PUSSY!!!!!! Its a lot better than getting a bullet in the back I would think... Get a life and stop bitching about an on the job injury...For the most part Police officers have it to easy as it is...

 

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