Logo of the "Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths"
Logo of the American "Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths"
April 25, 2009
Compare the logos of a United States consulting and training firm with open ties to Taser International and an apparently independent company in the same field started by a Guelph Police Service officer.
You're left with a sense the two must be connected.
The Guelph police officer vows that's not the case. He asserts only that there has been "some co-operation" between his business, Prevention of In-Custody Deaths Inc., and its like-named and like-logoed U.S. counterpart, the Institute for Prevention of In-Custody Deaths, regarding "initial startup concerns and general business practices."
The Guelph Police Services Board discussed this month a suggestion that it should review whether the officer might have a conflict of interest through running his private company. But the matter was dropped when Guelph Police Chief Rob Davis informed the panel the subject poses no such concerns.
End of story?
But not if Patti Gillman gets her way.
Gillman, an outspoken Canadian opponent of police Taser use and the survivor of a sibling who died after being hit repeatedly by a police Taser, wants a more rigorous and public review of this subject.
For her, the issue includes and goes further than the strikingly similar names and logos of the Taser-linked firm and the Guelph officer's business.
She's troubled by the insistence of principals for both firms as to the existence and purported best in-the-field strategies for front-line emergency workers to handle an alleged condition called excited delirium.
The medical and scientific community is yet to reach a consensus on the existence of this described condition, which is frequently mentioned by police services as afflicting persons just before they were shocked with Tasers.
Taser says it has paid to inform various stakeholders of the existence of excited delirium and how to recognize it. It says, one way it has done so is by hiring the Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths and or its staff to offer speeches or training on the subject.
Gillman asserts the Guelph officer's private business efforts to tout the existence of excited delirium should spur more probing by the city police board about a potential for a real or perceived conflict of interest.
It will be interesting to see whether the police board takes this further.
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