LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Police Change Taser Policy


The Louisville Metro Police Department is changing its Taser policy in order to better prevent controversy surrounding deaths and lawsuits.

"He was standing at Algonquin and Seventh Street naked, and got Tased," said Leonard Brown. "He died from a Taser."

Louisville officers used a Taser on Larry Noles in September of 2006 in an attempt to subdue him. Noles died a short time later.

Brown, his oldest son, is still dealing with the fallout.

"It was devastating for me, you know. It sent me into a deep depression in my life," he said.

The new guidelines issued by Taser International are an effort to prevent similar cases from happening again.

"Biggest thing is obviously you don't want anybody to die or get seriously injured in regards to that, no matter what's going on," said Major Don Burbrink of Metro Police.

Metro Police is following its Taser supplier's lead and changing its policy to stress what Taser International calls "preferred targeting."

"You're obviously not going to aim for the head and so forth, you're going to aim for the middle portion of the body," Burbrink said.

The new policy instructs officers to aim their Tasers at the abdomen, legs, or back and avoid the head and chest, which officers admit is easier said than done.

"The back's the best place to do, but again, it's a little bit harder to tell the guy, 'Wait a minute, turn around, and I'll get you here,'" Burbrink said.

Despite the changes, Metro Police said Tasers are safe and effective.

"But it is a good tool to be able to utilize, and it stops, it has been very effective for us as an agency," Burbrink said.

The cause of death for Noles was determined to be "excited delirium," not a result of the Taser.

For his family, the policy change is a step in the right direction that comes too late.

"It's good, but I think that maybe they should have come up with that when they first introduced the Taser, instead of waiting until a couple people's deaths and then coming up with it," Brown said.

The policy change is expected to go into effect next week. Officers are working on an updated training bulletin that will be sent out to all divisions.

The Taser targeting will also be incorporated in future training exercises, with more emphasis on an officer actually donning a padded suit, so other officers can practice using Tasers on a moving subject.