March 14, 2008
By JON WILLING, SUN MEDIA
The ministry that oversees policing in Ontario has launched a review into stun guns, the Sun has learned. The policing standards advisory committee, which falls under the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, has struck a working group to review police procedure, training and use of conducted energy devices, the most common of which is the Taser.
"The review is being conducted by the ministry and includes members of the policing standards advisory committee," ministry spokesman Anthony Brown said. Brown said the government has been taking a "studied approach" to the possible expansion of Taser use across Ontario's law enforcement agencies. The review is part of the government's "ongoing" examination of conducted energy devices, Brown said.
The working group will complete the review with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, which also plans to strike its own sub-committee on stun guns.
Although discussions have been ongoing about a possible review of Taser use in Ontario, the ministry didn't decide on the formal study until a policing standards committee meeting on Feb. 20.
There was no immediate timeline for the review. The review is expected to identify current practices involving police use of stun guns. The ministry is also interested in learning what training has been provided to cops, in addition to collecting data on the frequency of the weapon's use.
The working group will come back with recommendations on how stun guns should be deployed in Ontario.
It's the latest review launched since Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, 40, died after RCMP used a Taser on him at Vancouver International Airport last October.
In December, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP made a number of recommendations, which included restricting the use of Tasers to situations involving combative individuals or those who might pose a risk of serious injury or death to an officer.
The Canadian Police Research Centre announced a national review of conducted energy devices last November. B.C. will be holding a public inquiry, while Nova Scotia also reviewed the use of Tasers.
The "less-than-lethal" weapon is backed by Ottawa police brass.
Chief Vernon White has repeatedly defended the devices, even going as far as being zapped himself during a recent television broadcast. Ottawa police used Tasers 12 times in 2007. The force has used the weapon less than 20 times each year since 2000. Tasers are currently deployed to Ottawa police front-line supervisors and tactical officers.
The police chiefs association has been pushing the provincial government to allow all front-line cops to carry a Taser.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Friday, March 14, 2008
March 14, 2008