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Saturday, February 28, 2009

EDITORIAL: Show us that tasers save lives

February 28, 2009
The Province

The canadian association of chiefs of police and the canadian police association called on all officers nationwide to be authorized and trained in the use of this weapon, calling tasers "A valuable use-of-force option available to police to reduce the risk of injury or death."

Julian Fantino, the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, told reporters that "Tasers save lives," and that 150 studies worldwide prove "there is no direct link in any case" between the use of a Taser and a death. When asked to reveal the studies, Chief Fantino offered the glib response that he had no intention of doing the media's homework.

Here are some questions for the nation's police departments to consider: If Tasers save lives and if Tasers are safe, then why are they so controversial? What evidence is there to support the argument that Tasering someone saves lives? And finally, why would the two largest police organizations in this country come out with guns blazing on the Taser issue at the same time as the Braidwood Inquiry is looking into the weapons's safety?

There probably is a place for Tasers in the law-enforcement arsenal, but more study has to be done to determine what that place might be.

The Braidwood inquiry is a big part of that study.

For the police to come out now and boldly suggest more Tasers are needed is, at once, bullying, egregious and insensitive.

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