NBC10.COM - NEFERTITI JAQUEZ
Police officers in Camden now have a new weapon to defend themselves, and cameras record it. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez got a close up look at how the new tasers work.
Camden County Police received new equipment -- tasers with attached cameras -- six weeks ago. An officer used the weapon for the first time on a knife-wielding woman who nearly slashed him and his fellow cops with a 12-inch blade.
"I can tell you whole-heartedly, had it been six, eight weeks ago before the tasers would have been in effect, she would be dead," said Sgt. John Martinez.
The 56-year-old woman was outside a home on the 1300 block of Jackson Street in Camden, threatening people with a large knife, according to officials.
A neighbor called 911 and when police arrived on the scene the suspect dashed inside a nearby house, according to reports.
Police began searching the home, working their way to the second floor, where the woman was hiding behind a shower curtain.
She jumped out and lunged at the officers with the knife.
The dangerous situation forced Martinez to make a split-second decision: should he use deadly force or reach for his newly issued taser?
"Just because we can take somebody's life," he said, "doesn't mean we have to."
Charges have not been filed against the woman, who had a history of behavioral issues. She is undergoing a health evaluation.
"It makes me feel better knowing I don't have to go from zero to 60 and take sombeody's life if I have alternative means," Martinez said.