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Monday, December 03, 2007

Winnipeg calls for taser-use data

December 3, 2007

City hall’s protection committee has asked Winnipeg Police Service to produce a public document that includes highlights of its Taser-use policy and details about how often the weapon is used.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi made the request to acting police chief Doug Webster while he explained the policy and answered councillors’ questions about Tasers at today's committee meeting.

The police service has 90 days to prepare a report. Webster said Winnipeg police officers have used Tasers 160 times this year — 65 as coercion, 50 as probe deployment, and 45 as a drive stun. In comparison, he said, Calgary officers have used their Tasers 80 times, and Edmonton officers 250 times, although more officers in that police service than in Winnipeg’s are equipped with the weapon.

Since Winnipeg police began using Tasers in 2006, there have been no reports of death or significant injury related to their use, Webster said.

Controversy and concerns about Tasers erupted following the Oct. 14 death of Robert Dziekanski. He died after he was shocked by police at Vancouver's airport. The cause of death has not been made public.

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