May 24, 2008
By RENATO GANDIA, SUN MEDIA
City cops used less force in dealing with criminals and keeping peace and order last year, says a report unveiled Thursday at a police commission meeting. Police use-of-force dropped to 1,678 incidents in 2007 from 1,922 in 2006, although cops dealt with more calls for service, according to the 2007 Use of Force Review.
Use-of-force incidents include the times when officers are forced to use stunning techniques, pepper spray and stun guns, as well as when they draw or discharge their firearm.
Insp. Garry Meads said cops will begin using a new system that will quickly generate statistical use-of-force information sometime in the fall. The new system will generate more details regarding the use of force and offer better analysis, he said.
Taser use declined by about 26% in 2007 from 2006, in spite of an increase in the number of officers trained to use the device.
Police are a few months away from testing video-equipped Tasers on city streets, Meads said. The "Tasercams" are equipped with tiny cameras that will record audio-visual information once an officer draws a Taser stun gun and flips off the safety switch.
"It says to me that we have found a way to reduce the use of the Taser and along with that we have a significant reduction in complaints associated with its use," Chief Mike Boyd told Sun Media when the numbers were first reported in November. "Because of the way we're monitoring that along with our training and guidance of our supervisors, we attribute all those factors to the reduction," Boyd said.
Edmonton cops began using Tasers in 2000. Since then, they made "great strides with respect to developing a program that is open and accountable," the report said. In February 2006, cops implemented a new policy that requires a watch commander or duty officer to attend the scene where a Taser has been deployed.
The officer then must supervise the downloading of the data to a computer. Data includes how many times the Taser was deployed.
The report also showed that cops used their firearms and their batons less frequently last year compared to 2006.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Saturday, May 24, 2008
May 24, 2008