The impact of the taser on suspect resistance: Identifying predictors of effectiveness

Michael D. White, Justin Ready

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Despite the Taser's increasing popularity among police agencies, questions have been raised concerning the weapon's use and effectiveness as well as its potential to cause serious injury or death. This article examines all Taser deployments by the New York City Police Department from 2002 to 2005 (N = 375) and uses two multivariate approaches-logistic regression and chi-square automatic interaction detection-to identify predictors of Taser effectiveness, measured as continued suspect resistance and officer satisfaction. Findings indicate that several factors are associated with reduced effectiveness, including suspect body weight (more than 200 pounds), drug and alcohol use, physical violence, and close distance (3 feet or less) between the officer and the suspect. Although this study represents a preliminary effort at identifying predictors of Taser effectiveness, there are clear training and policy implications for police departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-102
Number of pages33
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Conducted energy device (CED)
  • Less-than-lethal weapons
  • Police use of force
  • Taser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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