November 26, 2008
Tanya Foubert, For The Calgary Herald
RCMP Officers in Canmore and Banff are stunning people with Tasers multiple times to gain compliance, according to an investigation by the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Documents obtained through the Access to Information Act reveal that since 2005, when reporting all uses of the weapon was mandated for officers, RCMP in both Banff and Canmore have used Tasers on stun mode multiple times, on average 40 per cent of the time.
Records indicate Lake Louise RCMP, on the other hand, since 2005 have drawn the weapon eight times but have never deployed it.
In light of the deaths of two men in Alberta after being Tasered, Alberta's Civil Liberties Association president Stephen Jenuth says use of the weapons should cease. "I do not think Tasers are needed," Jenuth said. "The idea is to use an electrical device to mess up body chemistry to gain compliance. Sometimes what is really required is good policing, but the Taser is often used."
The Calgary-based lawyer said his concern about the Taser is that instead of being used only in extreme situations when an officer's life is in danger, it is also commonly used by officers to gain compliance, much like a cattle prod. "It is the first line of response (for police) and it takes away the necessity to use any other training we give officers," Jenuth said.
Staff Sgt. Shannon Johnson in Canmore and Wayne Wiebe in Banff said they could not comment on the data because of RCMP policy. RCMP use of force co-ordinator Cpl. Greg Gillis said Tasers in stun mode are specifically designed to gain compliance from aggressive or combative people and officers are permitted to use them multiple times.
Last year, the weapon was drawn by Alberta RCMP officers a total of 379 times. It was used only 283 times and in 129 of those incidents it was used multiple times.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
November 26, 2008