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Olympia Police TASER stats Aug-Nov 2005

The Olympia Police release documents to Olympia Copwatch known as "Supervisor's Checklists" to detail uses of force by the OPD.
This is an abstract of statistics for one kind of force (TASERs) documented in these reports.
The reports released to Oly Copwatch are NOT Complete...
The month of August:
saw 5 jolts applied to one person by three officers, case 05-6169 (A mentally ill man setting off smoke detectors).

The month of September saw 6 jolts delivered by 7 officers in 6 cases (Someone missed...).

The month of October saw 13 jolts delivered by 9 officers in 9 separate cases.

The month of November saw NO reported use of the TASER...

TOTALS: 24 jolts, 19 officers, 17 cases (people). Only two officers used a TASER more than once in this period: Gassett and Jordan.

Most of the reported uses (all but one) were shot-TASE applications, where the nitrogen cartridge is used to propel two barbed darts into the victim. One was used in contact mode during a restraint chair transfer in the Jail.
The greatest change since February 2005 so far has been a dramatic reduction in overall use of the weapon by OPD. The second greatest change has been the non-contact nature of most reported uses of the TASERs.

No official change in TASER policy has been acknowleged by the Olympia Police Department.

An audit (by Olympia Copwatch) into the downloaded logs of the TASERs is underway to discover unreported uses of force by the OPD.

Drew Hendricks
Olympia Copwatch
Was not there a death? 19.Dec.2005 14:59


I heard that a man was actually killed be Tasers in I think it was Longview Washington. Does anyone know about this?

Taser death in Longview 20.Dec.2005 09:18


Yes, a mentally ill Native American man was tazed to death by Longview police. You may also want to see this week's New Scientist magazine, which decries the use of so-called "less lethal" weaponry that is not adequately tested, not properly vetted for safety, and tends to be used indiscriminantly.

Thanks, Drew, for the report from Oly.

TASER Log Audit - preliminary results 21.Dec.2005 11:51

Drew Hendricks

08/01/05 19:14:45 Monday
08/01/05 23:23:35 Monday REPORTED USE OF FORCE
08/08/05 18:43:24 Monday
08/20/05 19:01:08 Saturday
08/29/05 19:03:30 Monday
08/31/05 05:41:03 Wednesday
09/09/05 19:34:15 Friday
09/22/05 19:41:31 Thursday
09/22/05 19:42:11 Thursday
09/24/05 23:33:07 Saturday REPORTED USE OF FORCE
10/03/05 05:29:57 Monday
10/13/05 05:07:45 Thursday
10/14/05 05:26:24 Friday
10/22/05 15:21:20 Saturday REPORTED USE OF FORCE

So: what the above log shows us is that Officer Jordan has used his TASER 12 times and reported the use of his TASER 3 times. Is he in trouble? Not neccessarily.

The cases where he reported use of force are:
05-6169 (8/1/05)
05-7871 (9/24/05)
05-8737 (10/22/05)

The times of his other discharges of the TASER might be consistent with shift changes (he might test the weapon as he comes onto, or off of, his shift). If that is true, we would see the times of the discharges cluster around specific times. And we do: 5AM and 6PM/7PM are the two clusters we see. The outliers at 15:21, 23:33, and 23:23 are reported as uses of force.

This would be consistent with an officer who occasionally tests his TASER, and who also reports the use of his TASER when he uses it on people.

Jeffrey Jordan uses his TASER more often than the average officer, so we have five or six logs from his weapon. Other officers have only used their TASER once or twice since 2002, so we only have one or two logs for those weapons.

The Olympia Police Department will not give us logs from weapons until they are used in an actual event, so that the log is made part of the case file. So there is a large pool (2/3) of the weapons we have NO DATA for. We do have about 10 or 12 logs from various weapons, however.

This is a very large analysis load for us to undertake, so Olympia Copwatch is asking for help from the community with this project. Anyone who wants to can call me at 360-870-3127.

Most of the work entails scanning the documents in and proofing the output from the Optical Character Recognition (TEDIUOS DETAIL WORK - Hello, Virgos!) and then running a sort in a database program to plot the distribution of times at which weapons were fired.

Obviously, this is not work which is limited geographically to Olympia.