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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Letter to the Editor: stun guns an effective policing tool

If only I had the time to fully respond to this load of crap!! This guy's obviously bought the company line - lock, stock and barrel.

Repeating the mantra of the brainwashed that the taser is a "less dangerous option than a firearm", he asks and answers the following question: "Does the deployment of a CED have the capability of avoiding serious bodily harm and/or death to all involved parties that might otherwise have led to the use of a firearm? Without a doubt -- yes." I would counter with a question and answer of my own: "Does the deployment of a CED have the capability of CAUSING serious bodily harm and/or death to ONE OR MORE involved parties that might otherwise NOT HAVE LED to the use of a firearm? Without a doubt -- yes."

January 7, 2009
Owen Sound Sun Times


Recently, there have been many points of view expressed across the country, the province and the Owen Sound area regarding the pros and cons of Tasers.

Conducted Energy Devices (CED) are recognized by the global policing community as a valuable tool and a less dangerous option than a firearm. The CBC News study has identified pre-2005 models of the X-26 Taser that were recommended for re-testing. As a result, some police services have taken the step of testing those particular models. Currently, the X-26 Tasers deployed by the Owen Sound Police Services are a newer production line of this device and therefore were not part of the recommended re-testing. As well, it should be pointed out that the name Taser is a registered trademark name and although more popular than other such devices is still only one type of CED marketed throughout the world for military, law enforcement and, where permitted by law, civilian use.

Police officers are required to respond and intervene in a variety of situations involving the risk of violence, injury or death to members of the public and the police. Often these situations require immediate intervention, where the condition and emotional state of the subject is uncertain.

Police officers require a range of use of force options, often referred to as the use of force continuum, which include verbal commands, negotiation, physical restraint, intermediate force options, and deadly force. CED's are one such intermediate force option, which have been successful in reducing injury to officers and violent subjects as compared to other use of force options, including lethal force.

As a front-line supervisor with over 22 years of policing experience, what I can personally attest to is that next to the introduction of the semi-automatic handgun, the technology of the CED, has been potentially one of the top use of force options that have been made available to front-line policing over that time period. Any officer who has or will be forced into a potentially life-threatening situation should be permitted to utilize this device to assist with the peaceful resolution of the situation.

During my career, I have been critically shot in the line of duty, been forced to discharge my firearm in order to protect myself and have had immediate family members who are in the policing profession discharge their firearm in order to protect themselves and others. These are split second decisions that are made by front-line officers across the country on a daily basis. They are never taken lightly. Anyone that would express the thought that it is better to potentially have a loved one shot with a firearm versus deploying a CED has possibly missed why the device was introduced in the first place. Do firearms have the potential for taking a person's life when discharged? Absolutely! Will this affect the loved ones of the person(s) involved as well as the officer(s)? Unfortunately yes -- and it will for the rest of their days.

Does the deployment of a CED have the capability of avoiding serious bodily harm and/or death to all involved parties that might otherwise have led to the use of a firearm? Without a doubt -- yes.

Currently, the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) which represents over 32,000 police and civilian members supports the e of CED's as an occupational health and safety measure to reduce injury to members of the public, violent subjects and police officers; we support standardized training, reporting and accountability of the use of CED's; as well as the deployment to all front-line police officers after having received the approved training.

The public does require more information both for and against the use of such devices. At the same time the media needs to report with the same enthusiasm on the positives of how such devices can actually defuse situations and save many more lives on a weekly basis across the entire country when police officers are faced with potentially life-threatening situations.

In the meantime, police officers across the province will await the recommendations from the Canadian Police Research Centre on the safety of CED's for both police and the public and will continue to do the job that they have been sworn to uphold.

Bill Rusk
Owen Sound Police Association

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