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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Alberta RCMP comply with Taser tests

June 2, 2009
iNews 880, Edmonton

Mounties at various detachments across Alberta are being asked to share newer-model Tasers after all older models were withdrawn from service.

The M-26 Tasers were ordered withdrawn after testing determined problems with eight out of 10 of them in B.C.

Most of them were not delivering enough voltage. Corporal Wayne Oakes explains that could put police and the public at risk.

"If you have an officer that is using a device -- in this case, a conductive energy weapon -- and that officer is anticipating certain results, and that device delivers less than anticipated results," says Oakes, "that could leave the officer, and people within the vicinity at greater risk for harm

Adding to the Taser shortage, about half of the RCMP tasers in Alberta are already away for testing, after an order from the province, earlier this year.(em/bp)

Meantime ...

Taser International suggests the older-model, malfunctioning Tasers that are being pulled by the RCMP are actually safer, not more dangerous.

In a statement, the company says a lower energy output equates to a higher safety margin.

Taser International is also suggesting the testing of the devices may be flawed. It says the suspect devices should not be destroyed, so that they can be re-tested by other labs and by the company itself.

The Mounties announced yesterday that all of its M-26 Tasers -- a total of about 16-hundred stun guns -- will be removed from service until each unit is tested and, if necessary, repaired. That will leave about 1500 newer-model X-26 units in use.

The announcement came hours after the BC government ordered the RCMP to stop using the older Tasers in the province.

Independent testing completed for the BC government last month showed M-26 Tasers had an 80 percent fail rate -- more often than not delivering less electrical output than expected.

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