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Monday, October 27, 2008

Letter to the Editor: taser committee reviewing research - tasers have saved lives and prevented injuries to officers

October 27, 2008
Owen Sound Sun Times


On Sept. 25, your newspaper reported on a committee of members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that I was chairing for the purposes of reviewing the use of Conducted Energy Devices (C. E. D.), more commonly referred to as Tasers.

Since that time, it would appear that some of your readers are under the impression that I and my colleagues are actually going to be conducting the research. This is simply not the case and I would be the first to admit that I am not qualified to conduct such extensive research, nor would any results that I could come up with be perceived as independent.

What I and other members of the committee are doing is reviewing the findings from research papers already written and, in many cases, peer reviewed. These include reports published in the Journal of Forensic Science, Journal of the American Medical Association, Academic Emergency Medicine, Canadian Medical Association, American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International, to name a few.

In fact, there are over 91 scientific articles, six separate study reports from Canada and the United States, 21 police service directives, along with reports from France, the United Kingdom and other non-government organizations. There are also 15 other reports from trade magazines and the research papers that Taser International has undertaken.

Clearly, there is a wealth of information on the topic that has already been produced and there is more in various positions of release or review.

The comments that I made to your reporter were merely quoting the research that has been done to date.

There has not been a single fatality where the use of a C. E. D. has been linked to the death. That is a fact.

The results of 10 of the 25 ongoing inquests into the fatalities where a C. E. D. was deployed have all shown that the cause of death was not as a result of the use of the C. E. D. That is a fact.

In two of the inquests conducted, the jurors, who had all of the scientific evidence established to date, made recommendations that a C. E. D. be issued to all front line police officers. Again, this is a fact.

It is also a fact that C. E. D.'s have saved lives and prevented service injuries to members of the public and police officers alike.

The review that we are conducting is to ensure that the facts get out to the public. Our review is being concentrated in the area of deployment, training, policy, records/auditing accountability and reporting. Our goal is to try and establish some acceptable standards on a national basis.

I trust that this has clarified the work of our committee and the independent nature of the research that is being relied upon to form conclusions, so that a fact-based position paper can be prepared on a go-forward basis.

T. J. Kaye Owen Sound Chief of Police
Vice President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

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