Police training hits high voltage

Two men were at either side of Oscar Garcia, as his eyes suddenly sealed shut and his body arched backward as he received a jolt of 50,000 volts.

Garcia volunteered for a Conducted Electrical Weapons, or CEW/TASER training course held at Polson City Hall, 106 1st St. East, last Thursday.

“If my spotters weren’t there, I probably would have fallen backward,” he said, recounting the training.

Polson Police Officer Jim Atkins, a CEW instructor, certified officers on the use of the X26 CEW.

He covered basic operations and practical training, which included Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center deputies, and Polson Police Department Reserve Officer Michael Hingiss.

The experience wasn’t painful, Garcia noted.

“It didn’t hurt. The feeling was almost like being submerged in water,” he said.

As soon as the two probes attached to his back delivering the charge, Garcia said he was unable to open his eyes but he was aware of his surroundings.

“I felt it on my legs, toward my core area. That’s where I felt everything tighten up.”

The training focused on when to use the weapon along with recommended practices.

Garcia, who has been with the department since August, said that he’s glad he works for an agency that “is very oriented in keeping the public safe.”

Agency administration, he added, provide tools that can be used instead of deadly force, when applicable.

“They encourage us, continuing our education regarding” various methods of deescalating situations.

Going forward, the officer said that he’ll know the effects of using a CEW.

“It was a great experience in that I know what the other person’s going to feel if I have to tase somebody,” Garcia said.

The day after the demonstration, Garcia said he didn’t have any lingering side effects.

“I was perfectly fine,” he said, adding that he was still able to complete his daily run, as he is training for an upcoming marathon.

When asked if he’d volunteer to be the recipient in CEW training in the future, Garcia laughed, saying, “it was definitely an experience I don’t know if I would say I would do it again, but I’m happy I did it.”

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