As with any weapon used for self-defense, Tasers carry a risk for the user, as well as an assailant, according to Columbus police.

As with any weapon used for self-defense, Tasers carry a risk for the user, as well as an assailant, according to Columbus police.

The issue was discussed Nov. 17 at the monthly German Village police luncheon, at which residents talked about the best methods to protect themselves on the street and in their homes.

Tasers, which are electroshock weapons that can fire two dart-like electrodes and deliver an incapacitating shock, can be more dangerous than helpful, officers said.

Civilians who purchase Tasers must first get a background check, officers said.

Officer Tim Windon, who has trained law-enforcement personnel with the Columbus Division of Police, said the law is murky as to when people on the street can use them. Police can use them only in certain situations, usually involving a suspect who shows aggressive physical behavior, he said.

If residents do buy Tasers, they are encouraged first to learn how to use them, he said.

“Everything has a plus or a minus,” Windon said.

Tasers can provide a false sense of security to civilians, officers said. But, as with any weapon that is not used properly, Tasers can be turned on the victim.

A tense situation also can produce unexpected results: Anxious people can freeze up or overreact, miss their targets or not have the weapon fire properly.

Officers were reluctant to offer an alternative to Tasers or stun guns, but recommended learning how to use any weapon, from guns to pepper spray.

They also urged residents to call police when faced with a threatening situation. They said residents also should take precautions at their homes by turning on lights, locking doors or buying a home security system to avoid dangerous confrontations.

In other news from the police luncheon, officer Matthew Baase told the audience to be on the lookout for a man driving a late-model gold pickup truck.

Baase, a plainclothes officer, said he followed the man — described as white, slender, bearded and in his early 40s — who appeared to be casing the neighborhood just south of German Village.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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