Taser Maker Says Device Has Been Law Enforcement 'Game Changer'

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More than 500,000 cops around the world carry Tasers with them today, and almost 1.5 million people have been Tasered by officers. While Taser accounts for only 12 specific fatalities where the device been listed as contributory, more than 400 individuals have died after being Tased.

Rick Smith admitted that the company cannot guarantee that its product won't cause cardiac arrest.

"The best I can tell you is if you look at an air bag, right?" he said. "It is not a safe device in a car. It hits you with a lot of force. But getting hit with an airbag in the middle of a car crash can save your life. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that these devices make dangerous situations safer."

He added that his company trains law enforcement to avoid what they call "Taser dependency," or so-called "Lazy Cop Syndrome."

"It's like our baby, and when it gets misused it does hit you in the gut," he said. "But that's why we now take the next step and say, 'Let's make sure it doesn't happen again. Let's record the next guy who does it.'"

Taser misuse inspired the brothers to come up with what may be another law enforcement game changer. It's called Axon -- an evidence-gathering camera worn on the side of an officer's head, putting them one step closer to putting real RoboCops on the streets.

"Initially, an officer might be skeptical: 'What, I'm gonna record every incident?'" Rick said. "But then once they try it a couple of times, they realize, 'Oh my gosh, you know, I get accused of all these awful things all the time.'"

Axon is another Taser International product. Credit: ABC News

Axon video has helped back up the story of officers who shot a suspect to death in Arkansas and, along with the Taser, the Smiths believe their inventions could save municipalities millions of dollars in wrongful death lawsuits and save countless lives. But as long as there are headline-grabbing mistakes, there will be critics.

"[Critics] say, 'Well we shouldn't use the Taser,' but they never go to the next step, which says: In that particular situation if not a Taser, then what?" Tom Smith said. "Law enforcement doesn't have the option of walking away and saying, 'You know what, that guy is too violent. I'm not going to deal with him.'"

"Getting hit with a Taser is not pleasant but an analogy I use sometimes is chemotherapy," Rick Smith said. "If you've got cancer, they do awful things to your body to try and save you. Well, our society has a cancer. We are a violent, dangerous society, and we have a device that, while it's not pleasant, it can make a huge difference and save tons and tons of lives."

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