Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 203–207 | Cite as

Incapacitation recovery times from a conductive electrical weapon exposure

  • John C. Criscione
  • Mark W. KrollEmail author
Original Article



Law enforcement officers expect that a TASER® CEW (Conducted Electrical Weapon) broad-spread probe exposure will temporarily incapacitate a subject who will then be able to immediately (~1 s delay) recover motor control in order to comply with commands. However, this recovery time has not been previously reported.


A total of 32 police academy students were exposed to a very broad-spread 5 s CEW stimulus as part of their training and told to depress a push-button as soon as they sensed the stimulus. A subgroup also depressed the push-button after being alerted by an audio stimulus.


The response time after the audio trigger was 1.05 ± 0.25 s; the median was 1.04 s (range 0.69–1.34 s). For the paired CEW triggered group the mean response time was 1.41 ± 0.61 s with a median of 1.06 s (range 0.92–2.18 s), which was not statistically different. Only 2/32 subjects were able to depress the button during the CEW exposure and with delays of 3.09 and 4.70 s from the start. Of the remaining 30 subjects the mean response time to execute the task (once the CEW exposure ended) was 1.27 ± 0.58 s with a median of 1.19 s (range 0.31–2.99 s) (NS vs. the audio trigger).


With a very-broad electrode spread, a CEW exposure could prevent or delay some purposeful movements. Normal reaction times appear to return immediately (~1 s) after the CEW exposure ceases.


Force TASER Weapon CEW ECD ESW CED Law enforcement 



The analysis was conducted for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program by The Texas Engineering Extension Service and The Texas Engineering Experiment Station (Department of Biomedical Engineering), both within the Texas A&M University System.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial involvement with the Funding agency. MWK has financial involvement with the CEW manufacturer but they had no financial involvement in either the study or the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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