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Monday, February 09, 2009

Saskatchewan panel to review Taser policy

February 8, 2009
By Canwest News Service

REGINA — The board that oversees municipal police forces in Saskatchewan will soon reconsider whether officers on the beat will be able to carry Tasers.

The Saskatchewan Police Commission decided in July 2008 it would not authorize the general use of conducted energy devices by the province’s 14 municipal and First Nation police services until more information is available, reversing an earlier decision.

But with four new members appointed by the Saskatchewan Party government last November, the five-person commission resolved at its first meeting last week to review that decision.

Board chairman Mitch Holash, one of the new appointees, said that as the previous board wished there is now more information — on technical changes in the devices, how they fit into police work and on their health effects — and the commission has asked its staff to assemble it all for review.

“We don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of this . . . there is a number of different (potential) outcomes, from the policy staying as it is to the policy being changed somewhat,” said Holash, a Prince Albert lawyer. “We want to make sure that the decision that is made of whether or not the device is going to be permissible to the rank-and-file police officer . . . is made on the best information possible.”

When the review will take place will be determined during the next few weeks.

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