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Thursday, December 18, 2008

taser audit

When Kingston Police Chief Steve Tanner announced last week that he would NOT be testing Kingston's 34 X26 tasers (in the face of a CBC report that showed the X26 manufactured prior to 2005 had the potential to output considerably higher voltage than the manufacturer claims), an editorial in the Saturday Kingston Whig-Standard said "Tanner's decision is hardly reassuring for Kingstonians. The main issue, after all, is not officer safety but public safety. It's as though someone had discovered that the 9-mm handguns used by Kingston police were leaving wounds indicative of much larger-calibre pistols-yet retesting or reassessment isn't necessary."

Today, it seems, Kingston police have been ORDERED to surrender their tasers for testing.

Now my question is: The following report says the tasers will be taken "to a lab near Ottawa." Would that be the same lab at the Canadian Police Research Centre (also NEAR OTTAWA), which was UNABLE to properly test the tasers which were used on my brother??

December 18, 2008
CKWS-TV Kingston

Kingston police have been ordered to surrender their tasers for testing. The province has launched a review of stun guns -- following a CBC investigation that revealed some older models give off more voltage than they're supposed to.

Kingston's top cop is confident the testing will confirm what they've been saying for years -- the stun guns are safe.


Police tasers are supposed to fire 50 thousand volts -- producing enough of a shock to disrupt muscle function, leaving a person momentarily paralysed. But controversy continues to short-circuit their use -- after several people have died after being tasered. Kingston Police Chief Stephen Tanner maintains it's a non-lethal substitute for a handgun -- safe enough to subdue an uncooperative or potentially dangerous person.


"So the taser is definitely a less lethal option from a fire arm. So it's good for the person that's being arrested, it's good for the officer because of all the ramifications, and certainly no officer ever wants to take a life."


Kingston police report using their tasers five times this year, the most recent case involving a man who was carrying a knife. In 2007 tasers were fired 7 times, and in 2006 just twice." But a recent CBC test of New Jersey police tasers found several X-26 models, the same type used by the Kingston force, sent out a higher voltage than specified by the manufacturer.

While Tanner questioned the accuracy of those results, he will comply with a provincial review of the stun guns. Kingston's 34 tasers will be sent to a lab for testing. He says the 17-hundred dollar cost -- or 50 dollars per weapon -- is a good investment.


"For public perception, their view of how safe they are, it's worth having them tested."

The chair of the Police Board is also confident the tasers are safe ... and will pass the test.


"However, I think it's in the public's interest that we not only be saying that that's true but can demonstrate that it's true by having them tested."

Chief Tanner says every arrest is different, and using a taser was justified rather than a gun.... in the five cases it was used this year.


"I would not have expected them to shoot that individual at that time. But certainly the taser was warranted and the person's in custody and not injuured, and the officers aren't injured, which is a big part for us as well."

There are an estimated 2-thousand tasers in use by police departments in Ontario -- not including those used by the RCMP.


Kingston police will start sending in their 34 tasers for testing next month ... only half of them will be tested at a time ... so police can keep the other half in use. They'll be taken to a lab near Ottawa.

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