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Monday, January 21, 2008

Calgary police commission welcomes taser input

January 21, 2008

The public will get a chance to share their thoughts on Taser stun guns when the Calgary Police Commission meets Tuesday night. City residents will be encouraged to tell the oversight body how they feel about city police using Tasers, information the commission will use when considering the continued use of the tools, said commission member Ald. Ric McIver today.

Tasers have been under severe scrutiny since the death of a Polish immigrant at the hands of RCMP officers, who repeatedly used a stun gun on the agitated man after he arrived at the Vancouver airport late last year, an episode that was video taped in full detail by a passerby and broadcast world wide.

Although the use of Tasers has been suspended in some jurisdictions, pending an investigation into the Vancouver incident, Calgary Police Service members continue to employ the stun guns with positive results, said McIver. “Tasers have been a very good tool, in that they allow our police members to put persons under control without having to resort to deadly force,” he said.

“They increase safety for the public and for our uniformed members.”

Tasers have fallen out of favour with parts of the population but that may be more to do with people’s inability to differentiate between the capabilities of the units and how they’re used, said McIver.

“People confuse the safety of the Taser with the unsafe use of Tasers,” he said, adding he’s confident CPS members have the training and common sense to ensure the items are employed safely. “If you misuse anything ... it can be considered unsafe but when used properly, Tasers enhance safety. The use of Tasers by our members is tightly controlled and governed by strict guidelines.”

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