Taser Granite City Il Stats 2004
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Department of Police 2330 MADISON AVENUE GRANITE CITY, I LUNOIS 62040 OFFICE OF DAVID D. RUEBHAUSEN CHIEF OF POLICE September 20, 2004 TASER International clo Mr. Mike Coplen 7860 East McClain Drive., Suite #2 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260-1627 RE: GRANITE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT RISK REDUCTION Dear TASER Int., As a matter ofbackground information, Granite City, llIinois is an industrial, blue collar community; part ofthe St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area. Our city is separated from north St. Louis City and St. Louis County by the Mississippi River. The city's population is approximately 34,000. We patrol nearly sixteen square miles. The Granite City Police Department, like most, has experienced staffreductions. At present, we employ fifty-one full time, sworn officers (down from sixty-two) with thirty-six members assigned to patrol services. Consistently, our department averages about 27,000 calls for service annually. I thought you may be interested in knowing what the incorporation ofthe TASER as a less than lethal, personal defense weapon has done to improve officer safety and impact long term costs in my department. Two years ago, the Granite City Police Department was at risk ofbeing privately uninsurable. Workers compensation claims were unprecedented. At the request ofthe claims administrator for the municipality's workers' compensation insurance carrier, the "high risk" departments ofthe city met on August OS, 2002 to discuss possible solutions to the excessive claims experience. During that meeting, police personnel were singled out as being the city's most frequent and costly compensation claimants. The police worker's compensation total experience for the fiscal year of 2002 (May 01,2001 - April 30, 2002) exceeded $737,000. That amount was twenty (20) times that ofthe fire department and public works, accounting for more than seventy-six percent (76%) ofthe city's total experience for that period. The police department was placed in the "at risk" category and was in peril for "non-insurable" status through the private sector. In an effort to reduce the number of"injury on duty" (lOD) claims, police administrators reviewed roD reports for the previous two years, identifYing several "high frequency - high risk" tasks undertaken by police officers, and the high risk environments common to those claims that could be addressed to reduce those type duty related injuries. Generally stated, the capacity for the greatest potential for loss claims were identified as I) close quarter combat and, to a lesser extent, 2) emergency operations ofpolice vehicles. [Vehicle operations were also addressed in the project.] The close quarter combat concern was not just related to the officers personal confrontations but also included some facility, area modifications needed within the police building. The high-risk profile for injuries to officers was identified in the plan's Executive Summary: • • Statistically, our police officers are most frequently injured when subduing persons resisting arrest, under the influence ofalcohol/drugs, or who are mentally disturbed with violent tendencies. Seventy percent ofthe major claims (physical and monetary) were incurred during interventions with mentally disturbed and / or impaired subjects wherein the officers were forced to physically engage these subjects at close quarters or limited space environments. ....,31 • • • • • Police intervention in suspect selfinflicted hann, or suicide prevention during confinement ofimpaired and I or mentally disturbed subjects or psychiatric patients in holding areas ofthe police facility while they await processing, evaluation or transport. Close quarter confrontation and I or physically engaging violent subjects places the officer(s) and subject at higher risk for injury. Officers are certified I trained in defense tactics but they often found themselves encountering highly motivated people, of superior strength, due to use ofnarcotics, illicit drugs or mental status. Officers are equipped with and trained in use of OC pepper spray but often find the product to be ineffective, or the enviromnent would not pennit it's use. Review ofpolice IOD reports during the period, and historically, indicate that most officer injuries are occurring within the confined, limited physical space ofthe jailor booking I processing area when they are in close contact I proximity with unsecured prisoners. It is at this time that most violence occurs between officer and detainee I prisoner. The subject's realization ofjail confinement invokes the "fight or flight" syndrome, requiring officers to physically counter resistance. These limited reactionary space I close quarters situations limit the officers use offorce options. The alternative use ofOC pepper spray contaminates the subject, officer(s) and all those present in the building. The officers are unarmed and most likely to be forced to use hand to hand techniques, personal protection impact tools, or pure numbers to subdue a combatant. Those close, physical confrontations have a high potential of injury as well as allegations of use ofexcessive force. A risk management action plan was developed and submitted to the city and it's insurance carrier on September 26, 2002 based on the analysis. The project was an effort to correct the identified high-risk environs and specific tasks that lead to the escalating claims. The project outlined three activities to be undertaken in the proposed action plan: I) a modification to the booking I processing area; 2) additional defensive driver training and a change in police vehicle specifications; and 3) purchase ofan alternative personal defense weapon - the TASER. [I had been to a TASER demonstration at a training session and observed the weapons capability to incapacitate.] The identified risk areas were viewed by our police administration as correctable, or preventable. The overall goal ofthe project was to significantly reduce the experience of duty related injuries, the resulting workmen's compensation claims, and to some extent liability exposure. The insurance carrier and city council was presented the project proposal from the police department. The projection was that up to an 80% reduction in claims and resultant expenses related to violence against officers could be attained for a minimal financial investment. The proposals were reviewed by the city's insurance committee, accepted and funded using alternative financing since the fiscal budget was already in place. [The city used funds that had been placed in reserve for a fiscal year ending insurance premium to accomplish the building modifications. Block grants were used for purchase ofTASERS.] The project designated a time line and stipulated that a review and an evaluation would be conducted within one year after implementation. The department was basically given a twelve month reprieve from the insurance carrier to improve our status and save our insurability. The Granite City Police Department received nine (9) Advanced TASER M-26 less than lethal weapons in late September of2002. The process ofpolicy development and officer training began in October and continued through the first week ofDecember, 2002. Each patrol officer was issued a TASER at the beginning ofthe first shift on December 11. The first use ofthe TASER was at 0404 hours on December 12. The TASER was successfully deployed during the arrest of an eighteen year old male actively engaging a police canine and officer handler. That was the first of nearly one hundred uses ofthe M26 during the next twelve months. The project came under review at the end of a twelve month period. A report to the City Council and insurance carrier was submitted by the police administration and risk manager for the city. The report, in part stated: "As ofDecember 17, 2003: Granite City Police have charged 169 persons with the offense ofResisting / disarming a police officer. The Advanced TASER M26 has been deployed [or used in close quarter combat situations as a touch stun weapon] during active resistance on seventy-five occasions. No lost time has been claimed as a result ofofficer combat. No officer injuries have been incurred as a result of direct engagement with combative subjects. Deployment ofthe TASER M26 has been used in five cell extrication's. Three deployments ofthe TASER M26 were used to prevent potential acts of"suicide by cop." Officers used the less than lethal option TASER to subdue suicidal / violent subjects instead of deadly force." The resolve ofthis project was to improve officer safety and address / correct high-frequency, high-risk potentials. The success ofthe project was overwhelming. After one year, from the period ofDecember 01, 2002 through December 17, 2003 there were thirteen (13) injury on duty reports submitted by officers. This was a 56% decrease in reported injuries. [Department policy requires a report on any / all injury(s) sustained during duty whether medical treatment or claim is sought.] These reports of iJ1jury on duty reflected: Three (3) bloodborne hazard exposure (23%). Two (2) lifting injury / strains (15%). Five (5) slip / falls (46%), and Two (2) minor laceration or cuts to the hand(s) (15%). Not one ofthese experiences was a direct result ofclose quarter combat and none ofthe listed occurrences took place within the jail, booking or processing areas ofthe police building. No new """erience ofworkmen's compensation was generated during this time period to add to the police department's total work-comp experience. Incorporating the TASER early in our use offorce options has created a significant advantage for our officers. This less than lethal weapon has greatly improved the defensive capability ofour officers. The reactionary distance, that twenty-one foot cartridge launch area, has provided a safe alternative to "up close and personal." Our officers began carrying the TASER in December 2002. Since that time, the numbers speak for themselves: Year • • • • 2001 Paid and Reserved Worker's Compensation Expense 2001-2004 calendar year All City Departments (inclnding police) Police Dept. only $ 854,762.00 $ 454,192.00 2002 $1,162,934.00 $740,172.00 2003 $ 228,490.00 $ 00.00 2004 $ 228,568.00 $ 00.00 as of 09/17/04 TOTAL $2,474,754.00 $1,194,364.00 September of 2002, our department purchased nine M26 TASERs as part ofthe risk reduction project. Our department's fiscal 2005 budget included twenty-four X26 TASERs. The documented success ofthis police tool within our department provided its own means to easily pass through and receive approval ofthe city council to expend the funds necessary. Our plan is to eventually achieve full deployment, with each member ofthe Department being assigned an X26 TASER. On behalf ofmy department, and those officers who have not been injured in the last nineteen months, I would like to thank you for your product and the assistance TASER, International has provided. SinC~ Captain Tim Lyerla Patrol Division Commander Granite City Police Department tdl