Annelyse Pearson flashed a big smile when asked if she was going to try out the new Taser 10 Monday at the Glynn County Police Department.
The answer was most certainly yes.
Pearson was one of a few new recruits to the department who were on hand with other local and area law enforcement and peer groups to get a first-hand look at some of the newest public safety tech available from Axon, a company specializing in law enforcement technology.
Axon brought its Voyager traveling demonstration display and team to town to show off everything from the newest Taser, to drones and virtual reality simulators, among other items. They invited law enforcement agencies from around Southeast Georgia to take a look and get a feel for what is coming next.
Pearson and fellow recruits Carl Padgett and Johnell Leggett, along with veteran officer Gerry Herndon, got a quick tutorial on the new stun gun from Taser representative Tom Updegraff before taking their first shots with the device.
Pearson was first in line to deploy it.
“How far in do these go,” she asked Updegraff after firing the Taser into the outline of a body on the wall of the interior of Axon’s specially outfitted tractor-trailer.
Updegraff showed her the barbs of the business end of the Taser and explained a little more about the device police use to de-escalate situations without using lethal force before continuing with demonstrations for the other recruits.
It was a valuable learning experience not only for the new recruits but also for veterans like Herndon, who will likely one day be using the new technologies on display Monday.
The world of law enforcement technology is like all other facets of the tech world. It moves quickly. That is why events like Monday’s are more than just a break from the normal routine for police officers and their peers like the Glynn County Fire Department and emergency dispatchers. They also are like mini-training sessions for the future and a chance to get acquainted with the newest offerings.
“I think it’s awesome to have this,” said Tim Brown, public information officer for the Glynn County Police Department.
He had recently completed the demonstration of the virtual reality program, Tasers vs. Zombies, in which officers learn to virtually operate and use different equipment, in this case Tasers, in different scenarios.
“Not that you would ever be using a Taser on a zombie, but you’re learning how to use it without the expense and extra manpower of other training methods,” Brown said.
Axon, perhaps best known for the Taser and the body cameras it produces and sells to law enforcement agencies, operates three teams around the U.S. that travel around and put on events similar to Monday’s, Axon’s Kris Baum said.
“It’s important to show that law enforcement technology helps society and the police departments,” he said.
Officers with the Brunswick Police Department and Glynn County Sheriff’s Office came by to check out the new tech as well. So did firefighters with the Glynn County Fire Department and other peer groups that work closely with law enforcement.
Baum said the Glynn County Police Department in particular has been an early adopter of the tech in recent years, including the Fleet 3, a dashboard camera that, among other things, runs license plate numbers when it identifies them, giving officers real-time information about the cars with which the officers are interacting.
“It’s a force multiplier,” Baum said.