OC Police Use Taser To Diffuse Situation

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Police last weekend had to use a Taser on an unidentified man who was threatening himself with a knife and told officers he was attempting to commit “suicide by cop.”

Shortly before 10 p.m. last Saturday, police responded to the area of Philadelphia Ave. and 21st Street to check on the welfare of an unknown male individual. Citizens had called police after the man, whose name has not been released, was initially acting disorderly, but had since walked away from the area and passed out in a parked vehicle.

OCPD officers met with the individual, who appeared to be highly intoxicated, according to police reports, and learned he had been in an argument with his girlfriend and was upset over the altercation. The man then suddenly produced a folding knife from within the vehicle, opened it and held it to his throat. OCPD officer immediately established a perimeter around the area, restricting vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

While police were attempting to negotiate with the man, he pulled the knife away from his body, but continued to hold it in his hand. An officer equipped with an Electronic Control Device (ECD), or Taser, then deployed the device into the suspect. The suspect then dropped the knife, according to police reports.

Officers were then able to pull the man from the vehicle and take him into custody. Despite the impact of the ECD probes, the man was not seriously injured during the incident. However, he was taken to PRMC in Salisbury for a medical evaluation, and to remove the ECD probes, which had become imbedded when he fell.

While at PRMC, the unidentified man made statements he had intended to commit “suicide by cop,” but the officers’ actions stopped him. According to police reports, the incident was successfully resolved through the use of the ECD.

Since February, Ocean City Police have successfully used the new weapon 10 times.

As part of a pilot program that began in February, 14 officers were trained to carry and use Tasers when appropriate or necessary. In July, the OCPD asked for and received permission to purchase 10 more.

As of late July, there had been a total of 19 Taser “displays,” when an officer presented the weapon to an unruly or dangerous suspect to gain compliance. In addition, there had been 10 “warning arcs,” or situations when the ECDs were displayed and armed with the arc switch. Last weekend’s incident brings the number of times OCPD officers actually deployed the weapon to 10.

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