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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Owen Sound tasers tested, chief says

IS THIS GUY FOR REAL???????? Can he REALLY be the vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL TASER COMMITTEE CURRENTLY WRITING A BEST PRACTICES POLICY FOR THE DEVICES??????? Will he recommend that all police "MANUALLY LOOK AT" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) their tasers to ensure they are "working properly"?????? God help us all.

December 18, 2008

The city's police chief says he has complied with a provincial request asking all police services in Ontario to test their Tasers to ensure they are working properly and to submit a stun gun inventory list as soon as this week.

"We manually looked at ours to ensure that they are working properly and we reminded all of our supervisors that there is a protocol that they have to follow," Tom Kaye said Wednesday.

"We check our (Tasers) every day. These are devices that need to be maintained and that is something we do on a very regular basis. We followed through with the request the day it was made."

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services last week asked Ontario police services to conduct tests in response to a CBC report that found one Taser model, the X26 model made before 2005, was firing more electricity, up to 50 per cent more, than was specified by the U. S.- based manufacturer Taser International.

The report sparked a national debate on Tasers and prompted many forces, including the RCMP in several provinces, to take their conductive-energy devices to independent labs for testing.

None of the weapons tested were found to be working improperly, according to Kaye, who is also vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the chair of the national Taser committee currently writing a best practices policy for the devices.

There are about 2,000 conductive-energy devices being used by police forces in Ontario. That list is yet to be broken down by model. Owen Sound Police Services has four Tasers, two X26 models and two M26 models, which are carried only by sergeants.

The provincial request does not require police services to report back to the province that they actually tested their Tasers, something Tony Brown, a spokesperson for Community Safety and Correctional Services, says they felt was an unnecessary step.

"It is the ordinary responsibility of police services to make sure their equipment works properly. We have every confidence they will carry out the examination and testing of Tasers as requested by the ministry," Brown said Wednesday.

"The request was made in view of some reports that indicated that there may have been issues with the older Tasers."

The province is also conducting its own review of Taser use and according to Brown, a report should be released early in the new year.

More than 20 people have died in Canada after being jolted with a Taser, which can deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity. However, many of the deaths have been attributed to "excited delirium," a heightened state of distress in which a person acts agitated, violent, tends to sweat profusely and is seemingly impervious to pain. Often, the victim's heart begins to race and eventually stops.

The city's police force plans to replace its older model Tasers in the new year.

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