When hearing that someone was hit by a taser gun, it is often a negative thought connected to crime, but criminology professor Neil McEwen turned what is typically a scary situation into an educational one.
Students packed into Spotts auditorium Tuesday during common hour, to see McEwen demonstrate what it is like to be hit with a taser gun. McEwen showed students that taser guns are the most effective way to have control over someone who is out of control.
“I think it’s good education for students who are in the criminal justice department that are thinking about a career in law enforcement, just so they can see that this is the most effective tool in force continuity for police officers, because it incapacitates someone who is out of control,” McEwen explained.
Officer Josh Malczak set up the demonstration and made sure that McEwen was as safe as possible during the procedure.
Going on 13 years as an officer and six years as a taser instructor, Malczak said the after effects of the taser are very minimal.
“Some people have signature marks on them from the taser, which can leave some redness, but for the most part it’s nothing too serious, Malczak said. “You have to aim for the center part of the body. If you hit them in the face or throat, then you could have a problem.”
Currently an officer for Grove City, Malczak has been to SRU previous years to do demonstrations very similar to this.
“This is my third or fourth time I’ve been here at SRU to do a demonstration,” Malczak said. “I’ve had some talks with kids at the police department, explaining that if they didn’t stop the crimes that they were committing, they could get shocked by a taser or worse, but I never had to demonstrate it on them.”
With his two young sons watching and students waiting in anticipation, McEwen was shocked with the taser, supported by two male SRU students for safety. Being that this was McEwen’s fourth time being voluntarily shocked by a taser, he explained what his thoughts were before it happened.
“Immediately before the demonstration, I just wanted to get it over with,” McEwen complained. “I’ve had it done three times before previously and I know how bad it is and I just want it to be finished. I’ve done it two other times for students and then once for the Sharon Police Department, so they could understand how the technology worked.”
McEwen wasn’t just nervous right before being shocked, he said that this is his last time demonstrating because of the anxiety he feels months before the demonstration.
“Literally months before I get tased, I stress about it,” McEwen said. “It actually causes a physical reaction within me just worrying about it. Four times is enough. It has an effect on how I feel, when I’m at home with my kids, thinking about it. It has a longer term effect on me and my family.”
McEwen said that he couldn’t describe what he felt during the taser shock because he felt something different every time that he demonstrated and it was a traumatizing pain.
“My feeling when it was done was ‘this was the worst’, but I think that might be because I don’t remember exactly what the feeling was like before,” McEwen said. “My experience has been different every time. Once I went into the fetal position, where my feet actually came off of the ground. The other time my legs felt like they were going through the floor and this one my legs were stiff, but I felt like I was being stretched from head to toe, like I was being pulled apart.”
“Your body has a way of remembering your reaction to something, but it also has a way of suppressing what physical pain you felt,” he said. “I’m assuming that it must be like what women go through giving birth more than once. I know that they go through a lot of pain, but they continue to go through it because your body eliminates that physical pain, it’s what your body does to get through trauma. Then again, now I’m fine and that’s the lesson to be learned and why it’s so effective.”