Taser robots used by law enforcement in Ariz.

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Law enforcement in the Valley is on the cutting-edge now -- more than ever before. High-tech tools are helping protect the lives of both officers, and suspects.

You've seen the videos, maybe even find them comical, but a law enforcement officer forced to use a Taser on a combative suspect is anything but a laughing matter.

Tasers, also known as electronic control devices, were the biggest upswing in law enforcement technology several years ago. Tasers use electricity to lock up a suspect's muscles briefly, so officers can gain control of them. Since then, they've been combined with far more advances, such as robots.

Several law enforcement agencies in the Valley have equipped robots, once used only by bomb squads, with Tasers and other less-than-lethal devices, such as beanbag shotguns. That allows officers to deal with suspects from a distance, without putting themselves directly in the line of fire.

"Many times, when we don't put our officers in danger, that means we have more leeway to work with the suspect to put him in less of a chance of us having to use deadly force against that individual, so that's part of the reason for the technology," says Phoenix Police Sergeant, Tommy Thompson.

10,000 agencies around the world subscribe to the same theory.