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?
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"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.