U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Conducted Energy Devices: Development of Standards for Consistency and Guidance

NCJ Number
Date Published
James M. Cronin; Joshua A. Ederheimer
Publication Type
Grant Number(s)
This report presents a glossary and guidelines intended to help police executives make informed decisions about purchasing and deploying conducted energy devices (CEDs) as less-lethal weapons.
The most commonly used CED is manufactured by Taser International. CEDs incapacitate subjects with an electrical current injected into the body through darts fired into a subject's clothing or skin. CEDs have been credited with helping to reduce injuries and the use of deadly force; however, complaints have focused on their misuse, overuse, and health risks. The need for standardization and well-researched guidelines prompted the development of this report. One reason for confusion about CEDs has been the disparity in terms used to describe the devices, their deployment, and the circumstances in which they are used. This report presents a glossary that is intended to provide consistency and clarity regarding the national CED guidelines presented in this report. The 52 CED guidelines presented for consideration recognize that it is impossible to anticipate every use-of-force situation that may occur. In all cases, officers must rely on their training, judgment, and instincts. The first guideline states the CEDs should only be used against persons who are actively resisting or exhibiting active aggression, or to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others. CEDs should not be used against a passive suspect. A second guideline states that no more than one officer at a time should activate a CED against a person. Other guidelines pertain to techniques for using CEDs, training protocols, ways to reduce the dangers of CEDs, the development of CED policies, and data collection for monitoring CED use. 16 references and appended list of participants in the National Summit on CEDs and the members of the U.S. Justice Department's Less Lethal Technology Working Group
Date Created: December 26, 2019