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SALT LAKE CITY -- In the wake of public criticism and lawsuits, the company that makes Tasers is now advising police officers to alter their aim when they deploy the high-voltage devices.
In a bulletin sent out to trainers, Taser International is advising officers to move their target zone a few inches lower, to an area below the rib cage.
Critics say it's an admission that the stun guns can cause cardiac problems. But the company insists that risk is minuscule--so minuscule, in fact, it can almost be rounded to zero.
At the Salt Lake County sheriff's training range, Sgt. Nick Roberts doesn't think the new training policy will force any dramatic changes.
"What Taser did in this training bulletin is lower the frontal area from the Taser because of the extremely, extremely remote possibility of a cardiac-related event," Roberts explains.
He believes Tasers have dramatically reduced citizen and officer injuries.
The company says the move is more about helping agencies avoid possible lawsuits, but there are critics out there who believe the company has, for a long time, understated their safety records.
To date, about 400 people have died in police custody, after being tased. There's wide debate over whether the shock itself or other conditions caused many of those deaths.