Law enforcement officials in Miami, FL, have launched a program that aims to prevent deaths that sometimes occur when officers use electric stun guns on unruly suspects.

Under the program, which began in October, police officers are required to call emergency medical technicians whenever stun guns are used. If a suspect still cannot be controlled after a stun gun has been used, technicians spray a fast-acting sedative called midazolam into their noses.

After the subject has been subdued, technicians inject sodium bicarbonate to counteract acids released by tensed muscles and iced saline to lower body temperature.

Many of those who have died after being subdued with a stun gun have been found to have been using drugs that raised their body temperatures to as high as 108 degrees, said John Gardner, chief of Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue's emergency medical services.

Gardner noted that the program has been used successfully at least a dozen times since it was launched seven months ago.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from USA Today (05/18/07); P. 3A; Willing, Richard.