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Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Montreal police to use taser guns

January 24, 2001
CBC News

The Montreal police is trying out taser guns for a six-month period. The police force has three right now and more could be added if the trial period proves successful. So far, however, the taser has proven no match for our Canadian winters.
With two Montreal police officers on either side of him, officer Anthony Manolakos volunteers to show reporters how the Taser works.

The taser sends a 50,000 volt shock through the system which interrupts the electrical impulses the brain sends to the muscles, temporarily immobilizing the person.

Montreal police spokesperson André Durocher equates it to pepper spray, which is considered a medium-strength weapon.

"You have various levels that range from simple police presence to, at the other end of it, the firearm," Durocher says. "So it's in between. It's non-lethal force."

Durocher says the Taser will probably be used most during police operations involving the mentally ill, drunk or suicidal persons.

So far, it's been used only once: about three weeks ago, police used the taser to try to apprehend a man who had barricaded himself in his house for several hours.

Durocher admits the operation was not a success.

"It (had an) affect, but not as effectively as we'd wanted to, because the batteries were weakened. And we found out it was due to the batteries that had gotten cold," he says.

Durocher says the police department has since spoken to the American manufacturers of the Taser and modifications have been made to the weapon.