The TASER as a less lethal force alternative: Findings on use and effectiveness in a large metropolitan police agency

Michael D. White, Justin Ready

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


Despite its adoption by more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad, there is little empirical research examining use of the TASER by police officers. This article investigates the use and effectiveness of the weapon by examining all TASER deployments by police officers in a large metropolitan department during a 3-year period (2002 to 2004; n = 243). Findings indicate that the TASER was used almost exclusively against violent suspects classified as "emotionally disturbed" by emergency service officers with supervisors present. Despite use on a population perceived as being higher risk for injury, findings indicate that the TASER was effective, as 85% of suspects were incapacitated and taken into custody without further incident. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for continued use of the TASER and the need for additional research before any definitive conclusions about use and effectiveness of the weapon can be drawn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-191
Number of pages22
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007



  • Less lethal force
  • Use of force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

Cite this