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Electro-Muscular Disruption Technology: A Nine-Step Strategy for Successful Deployment

NCJ Number
Date Published
25 pages

This report informs law enforcement administrators on the challenges surrounding the deployment of Electro-Muscular Disruption Technology (EMDT) devices and offers a step-by-step guide to aide law enforcement in selecting, acquiring, and using EMDT.


Electro-Muscular Disruption Technology (EMDT) is a group of devices that uses a high-voltage, low power charge of electricity to induce involuntary muscle contractions causing temporary incapacitation. However, the increased use of these EMDT devices/weapons has raised concern about their safety. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conducted an analysis on the management of the EMDT. Upon analysis, a nine-step deployment strategy was offered to assist law enforcement agencies in selecting, acquiring, and using EMDT. The steps include: (1) building a leadership team; (2) placing EMDT on the use-of-force continuum; (3) assessing the costs and benefits of using EMDT; (4) identifying roles and responsibilities for EMDT deployment; (5) engaging in community outreach; (6) developing policies and procedures for EMDT; (8) using a phased deployment approach for EMDT; and (9) assessing EMDT use and determining the next steps. This report describes each step, providing a structured process for law enforcement decision-making in the deployment of EMDT. The strategy establishes management accountability, guidelines for appropriate use and reduction of the need for more lethal levels of force.