Taser Chairman Stands by Devices Despite Vancouver Death

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," November 15, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest says that these Tasers are safe when used properly and have saved thousands of lives in the process.

Tom Smith is the co-founder and the chairman of Taser International.

Tom, from what you see, did authorities overdo that?

TOM SMITH, CHAIRMAN & CO-FOUNDER, Taser INTERNATIONAL: Well, I — this is just one piece of evidence in the case. I think we have to look at everything.

Again, you have already pointed out it is in the airport area, which is already very tense. Law enforcement can't just let people go out and throw computers and glass and rocks — or — excuse me — tables and pose threats. So, they have to deal with some type of force. And the studies have shown that the Taser is the lowest level of force they can use to do their job.

CAVUTO: Well, I think what is being called into question, Tom, and from our prior guest, Murray Mollard, is, they kept Tasering him. In other words, they did not stop.

SMITH: Well...

CAVUTO: Now, I assume, with your Taser, once you hit them, they are stunned, they're down; then you take them away, right?

SMITH: Correct.

It runs for five seconds. And it does record every time the trigger is pulled. So, I am sure part of the investigation will be to look at how many times it was fired. We can — I have looked at it, and I have heard one, maybe two times. But the fight even after that continues for at least a minute, showing that there was still resistance to the arrest against the four officers at that point

CAVUTO: All right.

So, obviously, he was still collected enough to keep resisting. You know, Tom, one thing that came to mind when I was looking at this is, do all airports have this technology? In other words, are they all near the baggage terminal or the entry and the security gates armed with these Tasers just in case?

SMITH: Well, it depends on the officers. You know, the police departments around the country, we have got 12,000 agencies using them, so certainly not every airport. You know, here in Phoenix, they do. And a lot of the major airports in the United States, Vancouver, Seattle, obviously, they do there.

And it is a police response. It's a law enforcement response. And whether or not they have our equipment, I can't say everywhere.

CAVUTO: All right, because, Tom, you know what is going to come up after this is, we thought Tasers stunned; we didn't think they killed.

SMITH: Right.

And they do stun. We have Tasered about 700,000 people. Dr. William Bozeman just did a study for the National Institute of Justice that looked at the incidents. And, again, certainly, there's the critics. But in the — confrontation with police is dangerous. And the studies show that our device does not kill and that it is the safest tool they can use to do their jobs.

And we see injuries go down in every department that uses them. But, unfortunately, this is a tragic case. Our heart goes out to them, but we need to let the investigators finish.

CAVUTO: All right, we will see what happens.

Tom Smith, thank you very, very much.


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