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NEWS RELEASE

12-12-01

Contacts:
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137


GEOFFROY RECOMMENDS TASER FOR ISU OFFICERS

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy will recommend that campus public safety officers be allowed to carry tasers.

Geoffroy's recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, for consideration at its next meeting. University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa officials also are considering the use of tasers.

Geoffroy made his decision on tasers after receiving input from individual members of the Iowa State community and various campus groups, including the Government of the Student Body and the Faculty Senate.

"I greatly appreciate the comments received from students, faculty and staff. This input was vital in making the best decision for Iowa State," said Geoffroy. "My final recommendation is based on a belief that allowing Iowa State public safety officers to carry tasers will significantly enhance the safety of everyone on the Iowa State campus, especially our students."

The air taser is a device manufactured and sold by Taser International of Scottsdale, Ariz. The device uses compressed nitrogen to shoot two small probes up to 21 feet. The probes are connected to the taser by insulated wire. When the probes make contact with the target, the air taser transmits electrical pulses along the wires and into the body of the target through up to two inches of clothing. The result is an instant loss of the person's neuromuscular control and any ability to perform coordinated action. The effect of the device lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

According to the manufacturer, police departments at eight other universities use the devices, including the University of California at Riverside, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Florida, and Evergreen State University in Washington. Hundreds of city, county and state law enforcement agencies also use them. Airlines are now equipping flight crews with tasers.

If the recommendation receives Board of Regents approval, Iowa State public safety officers could begin carrying tasers sometime next semester. Iowa State public safety officers would go through extensive training on the use of tasers. The training includes a written examination, a functional test and a firing test. Officers are expected to go through re-training at least every two years. In addition to the taser training, public safety officers annually go through use of force training. All Iowa State public safety officers are state certified peace officers.

Geoffroy also will recommend that ISU Department of Public Safety's "law enforcement division" be renamed "police division." The action also would change the title of public safety officer to police officer. The name change was endorsed by the ISU Faculty Senate at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 11.


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