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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Edmonton taser testing much more extensive

December 13, 2008

City cops set to have 161 stun guns checked

Edmonton police admitted yesterday that they grossly underestimated the number of pre-2006 Tasers they need to test. Earlier this week, an EPS spokesman told Sun Media that the force would have to conduct special tests on 33 Tasers. However, the results of a full inventory showed that there are actually 161 Tasers that need to be tested.

The number quoted Wednesday referred to devices bought before 2005, but Alberta's Solicitor General has called for all Taser X26 models dating back to Jan. 1, 2006, to be tested to see if they are working properly.

The move follows a CBC report that showed some X26 Tasers were producing higher, and therefore more dangerous, currents than deemed possible by Taser International Inc., the manufacturer of the devices.

Police Chief Mike Boyd said that the EPS will continue to use Tasers, and yesterday police said in a statement they are satisfied with the training of officers using Tasers. They further said that of the four Taser-related fatalities in Edmonton, only one incident - the death of Trevor Grimolfson - involved pre-2006 Tasers.


Grimolfson, the 38-year-old owner of a tattoo shop, died Oct. 29, after police jolted him in an attempt to end a violent rampage near 153 Street and Stony Plain Road.

Also yesterday, a spokesman for Amnesty International in Edmonton says older Tasers should all be tested to make sure that they're not giving higher jolts of electricity than the manufacturer specifies. Erica Bullwinkle says her group is calling for a public inquiry into the safety of stun guns.

Meanwhile, one of the latest citizens to get zapped with a Taser has been identified. Glenn Justin Ironchild, 28, was charged with possession of stolen property under $5,000, criminal flight from police, possession of an offensive weapon dangerous to the public and two breaches of probation. He was zapped Thursday night after he held a knife to his neck while he was pulled over near 153 Avenue and Castle Downs Road for allegedly driving drunk. Cops also allege the vehicle was stolen. Charges are pending in relation to suspected impaired driving.

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