Exeter police chief teaches area officers about TASER

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Morgan Struble, Exeter police chief, demonstrates how to draw a TASER. Struble said a TASER must be on the opposite side from an officer's firearm. Jason Johnston reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Struble offers certification sessions for local law enforcement

EXETER -- Exeter Police Chief Morgan Struble, who qualified as a TASER instructor in December, recently trained his first group of law enforcement officers.

On Feb. 6, he re-certified Terry Burgess, Seligman police chief, and Joseph Arnold, a Seligman police officer. He also certified Seligman officers Aaron Kyser and Fernando Ortega.

"TASER International requires officers to re-certify every year, just like a firearm," Struble said. "I am able to provide that training as well as the initial certification of people who have never been trained on it before. The police academy does not include TASER training.

"Tasers can be used on a fleeing suspect, or an agitated or angry suspect that is trying to assault or fight. There are a lot of things to consider, too. You don't tase somebody standing on a fire escape. Because what could happen, they could fall right off. It's not a matter of point this thing and shock the guy until he gives up. Typically, when you tase somebody, they fall over and smack their head. So, if they are on a hard concrete surface, you need to take that into consideration. If you are on the side of the road at a traffic stop, you need to take in consideration that person might fall into traffic."

A taser is a conducted electrical weapon, Struble said.

"Taserss are not a replacement for deadly force," he said. "If somebody has a gun or a knife, and they are going to use deadly force on you, they train us to use deadly force right back."

Struble became certified after taking a course from Dec. 15-16 through the Springfield Police Department. He also had to complete about eight hours of online classes before the physical part of the training in Springfield. He has to re-certify as an instructor every two years.

"TASER teaches you to store your taser on the opposite side from your gun, because there have been cases in the past where they thought they were grabbing their taser, and they pulled their firearm," he said.

Struble straight draws his firearm on his right side. His taser is a cross draw where he reaches across his body to draw his taser on his left side.

He knows some officers chest mount their tasers on a vest or cross draw from the opposite leg, Struble said.

"When I instruct students, we go through drills: draw your TASER, pull it out, point it, shoot it, put it back, re-holster it," he said. "They actually get to shoot targets. They actually get to move around, like a guy is coming right at them. I put them through some realistic scenarios and get them into that muscle memory of drawing the TASER in the right situation."

If any officers require TASER certification or re-certification, they can contact Struble at exeterchief301@gmail.com or 417-835-2823.

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