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Richmond Police teach life-saving lessons during TASER training

RICHMOND, Va. -- Five hours into an intensive TASER training session with Richmond Police, and twenty minutes into watching a TASER deployed on Richmond police officers, CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit and photographer Dustin Kelley agreed to feel the 1200 volts of energy course through their bodies.

All Richmond TASERs, otherwise known as conducted electrical weapons, deploy for five seconds at a time to allow the officer to take control of the situation while a suspect cannot move.

While that may sound short, it feels like eternity.

"It was awful… felt like all my muscles were cramping up at once," Officer Christopher Waldron said.

"Probably would never in my life do it again," Officer Christopher Brown said.

Hipolit described the experience as feeling like an electrical charge streaming through her entire body, with sparks going off everywhere.

She also said she could not move.

Both Hipolit and Kelley screamed through the entire five seconds.

Click the image to watch a reporter being TASERed by police. 

Later, the officers and Hipolit went through scenario training where they experienced life-threatening situations the officers might encounter on the streets.

The first scenario involved a man holding a long metal rod, who ultimately picked up a loaded gun.

Hipolit reacted by deploying her TASER, but at that point the man was already shooting her with his gun.

"You need to use lethal force," TASER instructor, Sergeant Jean-Guy LeGouffe, yelled at her.

"I'm sorry, oh my gosh, I don't want to be shot. I can't, I can't, I can't deal with that I'm sorry," Hipolit responded.

Hipolit admitted she is not cut out to be a police officer, and LeGouffe praised her use of the TASER, but said he would not offer her an application to the department.

"I think the TASER portion you did great, but you wanted nothing to do with lethal force, none of us really do, and that's just part of our job," LeGouffe said.

But, thanks to training like this, Richmond police officers are taught when to use lethal force and when to instead go for a TASER to save their life.

"If we use this tool that we got today, we know what kind of pain that puts them in," Officer Kara Blosser said.

The officers now have a better understanding of the pain suspects endure when a TASER is deployed on them, so they will think twice about using their TASER at random.

"It will help you not abuse it because you know what it feels like," Officer Brown said.

Officers can deploy their TASERs more than one time, but they are taught that if a suspect does not seem to be feeling the pain the TASER causes, then they're obviously either mentally ill, or high on something, so the TASER is not going to work on them, and it is time to use another method, like talking.