Tuesday night's meeting of the Citizens Police Academy was a shocking experience for three of the participants. After taking a turn with the department's Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) and learning about the Tasers carried by DPD officers, three academy members volunteered to be tased as part of a demonstration for the class.
Before the Taser demonstration, participants got to take a turn with the FATS machine. The FATS projects different law enforcement scenarios onto a video screen and users interact with the actors to bring the situation to a resolution. They are equipped with an electronic handgun which fires a laser at the screen and records "hits" if the situation calls for the use of deadly force. The simulation is controlled by an officer using a computer. The simulator helps officers (or in this case, civilians) to better understand how quickly situations can change.
Lt. Mike Wilson, a certified Taser instructor, gave a presentation about the devices and their use by the Dalton Police Department. After test firing a Taser cartridge as a demonstration for the class, Lt. Wilson jokingly asked for volunteers. Surprisingly, three brave students stepped up and received brief Taser exposures. After signing a release, each student was briefly exposed to a "drive stun" where the Taser is put in direct contact with the body. All three were smiling and laughing about the experience shortly afterwards.
Below: Lt. Wilson poses with his three Taser volunteers and Citizens Academy participants take their turn with the FATS machine (click here to see more pictures from Tuesday night's session in a photo gallery on the DPD Facebook page)