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Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's wrong with this picture? And who's keeping track?

What follows are some reactions by police across Canada to the RCMP's taser use restrictions announced on February 12, 2009. Also included are a couple of quite obviously inappropriate and very recent uses of the weapon in both Belleville and Barrie, Ontario. There is no rhyme. There is no reason. Municipal police in Canada are doing whatever the hell they want.

February 16, 2009
Belleville Intelligencer
A man had to be subdued with a Taser when police attempted to break up a fight at a North Front Street bar early Monday. The incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Police said they broke up one fight and required a Taser — a stun gun — to subdue a man, who was resisting arrest. A Belleville man, 22 and a Campbellford male, 21, were arrested for public intoxication, causing a disturbance and mischief to property, police said. Both males were released and will appear in court March 26, police said. Names were not released.

February 14, 2009
The Barrie Examiner
Police use Taser to subdue man - Barrie police used a Taser to help arrest a six-foot-two, 350-pound man, yesterday. Officers were called to a Blake Street home about a 24-year-old with a history of mental health issues who was reportedly out of control. Police say the man was defiant when officers arrived and a Taser was used to incapacitate him, until he could be handcuffed.

February 13, 2009
Globe and Mail
Sergeant Scott Warren, chairman of the RCMP's officer safety committee, said the matter is more complicated in real-life situations. "The commissioner, with all due respect, is incorrect to say we wouldn't use them again for actively resistant people," he told CTV News.

February 12, 2009
CTV News
Police commissioner is out of touch, says officer
...But according to Sgt. Scott Warren, the chair of the RCMP's Officer Safety Committee, the so-called new regulations have been drawn up by officials who are out of touch with the realities of street-level policing. In an interview with CTV's Power Play, Warren also said that the regulations don't adequately address the split-second decisions police must make everyday. "Sometimes I think the commissioner is in over his head," said Warren, referring to Elliott, who is the first-ever civilian to head the national police force. Warren said that the previous policy governing Taser use was broad and trusted the judgment of individual police officers.

February 13, 2009
Most of the RCMP's new guidelines on the use of Tasers have already been implemented by municipal police forces in Ontario, including Cornwall, says the city's chief of police. Chief Dan Parkinson said much of the RCMP policy announced Thursday - which will prohibit the stun guns from being used to simply subdue suspects - is reflected in an October 2008 report filed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

February 13, 2009
660 News Calgary
The Calgary Sun reports, city police say the devices are lifesavers and will not alter their approach to them.

February 13, 2009
CTV Calgary
In a written statement Friday, officials said they won't be making any changes to policies after Thursday's announcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

February 13, 2009
Metro News Vancouver
Vancouver police will continue to use Tasers until officers review the reasons behind an RCMP announcement on Thursday curbing the use of stun guns ... Const. Jana McGuinness, spokesperson for Vancouver police, said she hasn’t seen a report yet. “I would want to see how it impacts us, and if it does, what are our policies surrounding these things,” she said.

February 13, 2009
Metro News Edmonton
Police services in Edmonton are not going to change policies around Tasers, they say, after the RCMP moved to restrict the use of the stun guns because it can kill in certain cases.

February 14, 2009
Chronicle Herald
"It’s very unlikely there will be any changes to our policy, as it’s virtually the same as ours," said Const. Jeff Carr, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police.

February 14, 2009
Winnipeg Free Press
At present, Winnipeg officers are permitted to use a Taser in situations where force is required, where an individual is resisting arrest and may flee and if the individual is in a state of excited delirium. A suspect need not be combative to elicit a shot from a stun gun.

February 11, 2009
SARAH DEETH, Peterborough Examiner
Use of force by city police officers was down in 2008 from 2007, but the use of the Taser has increased.

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