LA Sheriff’s Dept: Non-lethal enforcer.

Popular Science has a pretty fascinating piece online about how the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is pretty much the coolest Sheriff’s department around. And by “coolest” I mean “has the sweetest gadgets.” The piece talks about some of the technology the dept. is working to help develop and profiles the man with the plan, Commander Sid Heal. The piece outlines Heal’s crusade to help develop and implement new technology that not only helps officers to be safer but also helps them avoid death in the apprehension of suspects. Stuff like pepper balls, sticky foam, crazy loud megaphones, not to mention the ever-ubiquitous stink bomb (hey, it worked for those jackass pranksters in middle school, why not the police?) One anecdote points to one story where things could’ve headed for the worst but technology saved a life.

In 2002 Heal handed LASD sergeant Scott Walker his first Taser. A few days later, Walker was deployed to arrest a mentally unstable man who had led deputies on a wild car chase and then barricaded himself inside his vehicle. “We spent two hours trying to talk him out,” Walker says. When the man finally exited his car, he ignored commands to drop his knife, seemingly intent on provoking the deputies into killing him. Deputies first tried to stop him with rubber bullets, but he kept on, and even fought off a police dog. As deputies prepared to shoot, Walker fired the Taser at him. The man collapsed, helpless but alive. “The Taser was the tie-breaker that saved his life,” says Walker. “His brother actually thanked us, which is something we don’t normally hear.”

Now if we can just train the UCLA cops when to and when not to taser people.

Check out the piece at PopSci.com and then watch this video from the Daily Show of news anchors getting tasered, cause nothin says “non-lethal weapons” like news casters getting tasered.