Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
William C. Plouffe Jr.
Taser is an acronym for the Tom A. Swift Electronic Rifle. It is a brand name for an electronic device for the control of people. It was first developed in the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1990s, the Taser was introduced to law enforcement use as an alternative to the use of deadly force. It has been reported that as of 2007, more than 11,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States use the Taser. Although in itself the Taser is a race-neutral tool, police use of the Taser has been disproportionately directed toward minorities. This entry describes Tasers, principles of use of force escalation, and issues related to race and the use of Tasers. A Taser is a hand-held device that fires two small darts, connected to the device with thin wires, up to a distance of approximately 35 feet. The darts can penetrate clothing and once they make ...