The Saskatchewan Police Commission has approved the use of Tasers by municipal police officers.
According to the commission, its decision allows for the use of the electronic stun guns on occasions "where there is imminent high risk of bodily harm to officers or the public and other use of force options would be ineffective or inappropriate.”
“We have had Tasers in our building sitting on our shelves since 2007, since Chief (Terry) Coleman’s time with the police service,” Moose Jaw Chief of Police Dale Larson said. “Shortly after the purchase, it was decided by the provincial commission further study needed to be done.”
The commission stated in a news release, issued Monday, that prior to authorizing the general use of Tasers, it strove to make certain the decision would be based upon "sound policy" with the support of experts in the field, and based on recommendations from recent inquiries.
These inquiries include the Braidwood Inquiry, which followed the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski. The commission also turned to the national guidelines for Taser use, developed in co-operation between federal, provincial and territorial authorities, in determining the health and safety risks connected with Tasers, as well as their effectiveness toward officer and public safety.
“They now have to be certified before they can be put into police use,” Larson said of the Tasers currently held by the Moose Jaw Police Service. “If they cannot be re-certified, they will have to be replaced.”
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