Earlier this month, I met up with a friend who also happens to be one of my former criminal justice students. Corporal Chuck Werkheiser is a veteran law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania.
One topic we discussed was the danger that officers face when physically restraining a suspect, otherwise known as going “hands-on.” For instance, with a suspect who is resisting either passively or actively, the situation can escalate into something more severe or even lethal. For instance, a suspect could potentially gain control of an officer’s weapons and use them against the officer.
In addition to serving as a police officer, Chuck recently started a business that he plans to grow into a full-time opportunity once he retires. This business – Blue Line Compliance, LLC – offers an array of important products for police, corrections, security, EMS and military personnel.
One of the technology products that I had an opportunity to test-drive is the G.L.O.V.E., an acronym for “Generated Low Output Voltage Emitter.” The G.L.O.V.E. can quickly transform into a conducted electrical weapon (CEW) that can be used by first responders in situations when force is necessary. It’s designed to provide users with a safer and less lethal outcome to a situation.
The G.L.O.V.E. can be worn as a normal patrol glove when an officer responds to a domestic violence call or to similar incidents that have the potential to go awry and lead to physical altercations. It gives the officer an advantage when it’s used in conjunction with good control techniques, especially with officers who are smaller in stature and who may have a harder time restraining someone.
Less lethal weapons are intended to provide officers with the highest level of defense with the lowest level of risk. The G.L.O.V.E.’s technology enables officers to rapidly, quietly, and effectively bring individuals into compliance or restrain them from further violence. As a result, that will lower liability, lessen the risk of injury or death, and create a more favorable outcome regarding police/community relations.
How the G.L.O.V.E. Compares to Tasers
Unlike tasers, which are predominantly intended to be used at a distance, the G.L.O.V.E. is intended to be used in close contact with an individual who’s resisting an officer. Tasers can be used in close contact by using what is known as a “drive stun.”
An Equal Justice Initiative investigation determined that nearly 90% of the nation’s 18,000 police agencies use tasers. However, most officers deploy the taser at a distance for their own safety and the safety of others. Drive stuns are now being removed from most departments’ use of force policies, because the drive stun can seriously burn someone’s skin, resulting in significant injury and pain.
Tasers deploy two probes up to a 30-feet distance; however, their precision is most accurate when they’re used within 10 feet of the intended target. The intent of a taser is to temporarily incapacitate a non-compliant individual, but it can be lethal in some situations.
Removing the taser’s sharp probes from the body also exposes an officer or emergency medical technician to bloodborne pathogens.
Chuck emphasizes, “I am not saying the G.L.O.V.E. should replace the taser. Officers should have many tools at their disposal, especially less-lethal tools, as they can carry.” The G.L.O.V.E. is simply an additional tool that can be used in place of a taser in a close-contact encounter.
The objective is to stop a hazardous situation from escalating to where additional force is necessary. Officers can use the G.L.O.V.E. on any part of the body without risk, while the use of the taser is limited, especially when an officer deals with a resisting suspect or assailant face to face.
Chuck notes, “Don’t get me wrong. The G.L.O.V.E. technology has limitations, like using it on the eyes, throat and groin. But it might be used in those areas for situations where an officer risked suffering serious bodily injury or death.”
The Hazards of Using a Taser
A 2017 Reuters article reported that since the early 2000s, more than 1,000 people in the U.S have died after being tased by police officers, Many of the victims died from cardiac arrest that stemmed from the taser’s 50,000 volts that thrust through their bodies. Similarly, a recent study by the American Heart Association concluded that the taser can cause “cardiac electrical capture and provoke cardiac arrest resulting from ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation.”
There’s also the secondary risk of significant injury or death if the tased individual falls from an elevated position, strikes a hard surface, or is struck while using a vehicle, bicycle, or another form of conveyance. Lastly, if the taser is deployed in a place where explosives or flammable substances exist, there is a risk of igniting a fire.
The G.L.O.V.E.’s technology uses far less electrical current than a taser – a mere 320 volts compared to the 50,000 volts of a conventional taser. The amps being circulated during the pulse cycle are a mere .000125 amps.
According to Chuck, “You have more amperage running through a single Christmas tree bulb.” He notes, “We don’t need to create a circuit, so we are not passing electricity through the body’s soft tissue and organs.”
With the G.L.O.V.E., the shock is localized, so the risk of cardiac fibrillation is minimized. A 2019 National Institute of Health study concluded that the G.L.O.V.E.’s technology is in compliance with relevant requirements for safety and efficacy.
The Issue of ‘Excited Delirium’ Deaths Caused by Tasers
In other instances, tasers have been implicated in excited delirium deaths, yet there’s still some debate as to whether excited delirium actually exists. According to an NPR article, excited delirium is a term many medical examiners use to explain why individuals – most of whom are intoxicated from drugs and/or alcohol – die suddenly while in police custody. The symptoms of excited delirium may include extreme agitation, aggressiveness, violent behavior, incoherence and disorientation.
According to Chuck, “If the G.L.O.V.E. were to be used on an individual who is in a state of excited delirium, there is far less risk of changing the individual’s physiology – chemicals in the blood – than with a taser. You have a far lower risk of death related to the use of the G.L.O.V.E. Of course, nothing is absolute.”
Weapon Retention: Another Advantage of the G.L.O.V.E.
Another benefit of the G.L.O.V.E. would be weapon retention. Think back to the incident in Atlanta where the subject began resisting arrest and ultimately disarmed the officer of his taser. At the time, the officer was going to attempt a drive stun. If that officer or the assisting officer had been using the G.L.O.V.E., such a disarmament would be less likely to occur.
The G.L.O.V.E. Technology Has Been Tested Successfully in the Field
As an active-duty police officer and defensive tactics instructor, Chuck has personally used this tool in the field with success. The G.L.O.V.E. is also perfect for corrections officers as well as deputies and bailiffs in the courtroom since they will likely be in close proximity to the resistor.
Chuck emphasized that this technology is the ultimate non-injurious, hands-on, and less-lethal tool an officer can have in his or her toolbox. Along with good control tactics, the G.L.O.V.E. can save lives, minimize injuries and reduce liability. Not only is it more cost-effective than other less-lethal tools, but municipalities as well as state agencies will notice a reduction in workman’s compensation claims and may be more successful in defending a lawsuit.
Blue Line Compliance’s motto is “Revolutionizing the Future of Policing.” The time for change has come, and it is up to us to make it happen. For more information, contact Chuck at Blue Line Compliance, LLC.