Perhaps one of the most shocking parts of the Sherborn Police Department’s annual open house on Saturday was the live demonstration of the department’s taser gun.
On Police Chief Richard Thompson.
“It was scary,” said Whitney Welch, 7, after Thompson was safely tasered at the hands of Sgt. Luke Tedstone. “It looked like it hurt a lot. It was loud. They do it so they don’t have to kill the person.”
Whitney attended the open house with her family.
“I had never seen it before; it was interesting,” said her mother Wendy. “I see why she was scared.”
Thompson said all Sherborn patrol officers and Sergeants have been trained with the taser. All of them have also been on the receiving end of 50,000 volts of electricity the five-second jolt sends through the body.
The electricity debilitates the body's nervous system and the would-be perpetrator falls to the ground.
Thompson volunteered for Saturday’s demonstration because he wanted residents to know that the taser gun is an effective tool.
“I wanted the community to know that I have faith in the weapon and I have full trust in my personnel who are trained to utilize the weapon,” he said, after the probes and wires were removed from his back. “It’s a safe and effective tool that we only use for law enforcement purposes.”
Since two years ago, Thompson said his department has used the taser gun six times on mutual aid calls but not in Sherborn.
He said having an option between a police baton and a gun is safer for the police officer and better for the perpetrator.
“This is an intermediary weapon where you’re removing that final option that’s going to take someone’s life, and I think that’s critical for us when we do our job in the community; we’re certainly not trying to take someone’s life.”
Tedstone said the taser has helped prevent criminal activity when a perpetrator sees the red target light coming their way, they often stop
what they are doing because they do not want to tasered. He recalled a situation where someone threatened to commit suicide but changed their mind when the red light was aimed in their direction.
Officer Steven Laquidara said the family event was well-attended and included CPR demonstrations, dispersing of Life Card medical cards, finger printing, cell photos, coloring pages, tours of local and state police vehicles, mock radar checks conducted by residents, and a barbeque.
“And it all came to a head with the Chief being tasered,” said Laquidara.