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Quick Reaction Force experiences taser training

GOWEN FIELD, Boise, Idaho -- Many Idaho National Guard Quick Reaction Force members not only pulled the trigger, but had the gun turned on them Feb. 17 during a training exercise here.

The gun, in this case was a taser, and for many it was the first time they had been on the receiving end of 50,000 volts of electricity.

The QRF is a joint force of both Army and Air Guardsmen who have stepped up to respond to both non-threatening and threatening disasters in Idaho and beyond. This taser training gives them the opportunity to defend themselves and others without causing any long term injury. The taser shoots out a low amplifier rate of electricity, which only affects the sensory and motor nervous system.

"Although 50,000 volts seems like a lot, it only affects your body's nervous system and forces you to contract your muscles," said Maj.Kevin Hicky, QRF Army cmmander and Officer Candidate School commander for the Idaho Army National Guard.

According to Major Hickey, electricity travels from one probe to the other for five seconds. That is what contracts those muscles in between the two probes, causing that person to lock up and freeze. That is when you would usually handcuff or restrain someone, he said.

For some of the members of the QRF this was their first time using this type of a non-lethal weapon. For some, this was their first taser training and the first time they had ever used a taser. For others, they have trained with this weapon before, but have never felt the shock of actually being shot by a taser.

"I have never been shot before and I wanted to feel what it is like. It was on my 'bucket list' of things to do and wow, what a rush," said Master Sgt. Steve White from the Medical Group.

"The pulsation is what got me. The electricity did not bother me as much, but the five seconds of pulsing after the initial attachment was amazing. It was a ride," said Master Sgt. Erik Cotton from the Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Even though it is considered safe, there is always a caution to be on the safe side when using a taser. Master Sgt. Tyrone Clarence from the Medical Group was present at the training in case of a medical emergency. In his 23 years experience, Clarence has had first-hand medical exposure using tasers in law enforcement. He said arrhythmia to the heart is the number one concern when dealing with the electric waves of the taser.

"If someone had a defect in their heart or any abnormalities, the taser could cause a problem. That is the biggest thing I will watch for today, to make sure no one feels light headed, dizzy or feels as though they are going to pass out," Sergeant Clarence said.