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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Taser maker to appear at Toronto police board meeting

January 15, 2008
CBC News

A full house is expected at Thursday's Toronto Police Services board meeting, where Taser International will make a pitch suggesting the city should equip all of its front-line officers with the stun guns.

The board is grappling with the question of whether to spend $8.6 million to outfit every officer in Toronto with a Taser.

Tom Smith, the head of the Arizona-based company that makes the Taser, has been invited by the board to explain why it should spend the money on the controversial policing tool.

John Sewell, a former mayor of Toronto who now heads a local police watchdog group, isn't pleased with the board's decision.

"I think it's wrong for the Toronto police board to sponsor a meeting where he's the only speaker and he's going to tell us how terrific his product is," said Sewell.

But Alok Mukherjee, head of the board, said the meeting won't be just a sales pitch, as Taser International will have to convince the public as well as the board.

"What we are doing is simply having an open forum where people can ask all the questions they have. And I have heard that it will be a fairly tough session for him."

Thursday's meeting starts at 5 p.m. at police headquarters.

Mukherjee said that although the meeting will be open to the public, space will be limited.

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