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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Toronto cops say Tasers are up to snuff

June 3, 2009

While the RCMP recall and review 1,600 Tasers, GTA police services say their cache of the stun guns is fine.

The RCMP is recalling the M26 model because it failed to meet the manufacturer's specifications 80% of the time. The Tasers will be tested and repaired if necessary.

The Monday recall came hours after B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman ordered the RCMP to stop using the older version of the weapon in that province.

The concern is that the M26 appears to be producing less charge than required by the manufacturer. Last year, B.C. pulled 82 stun guns purchased before Jan. 1, 2006, after tests showed them misfiring.

Stun guns are under increased scrutiny since the October 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski after he was jolted multiple times with an RCMP Taser at Vancouver's airport.


The Taser used on Dziekanski was an X26 model, and not the M26 affected by the RCMP recall.

Halton uses the M26, the same model being yanked by the Mounties and Sgt. Brian Carr said yesterday there were concerns about the 2005 version. Halton's tactical team has 13 M26 Tasers that were made in 2006 and 2007, and he said they appear to be functioning properly.

Road sergeants in Halton are armed with the newer X26.

In York Region, which has a total of 30 X26s, Const. Gary Phillips said only tactical officers have them. Durham and Peel also only use the X26.

The M26 was retired in Toronto in 2005 and replaced with the newer version, Chief Bill Blair said. In Toronto, only road sergeants and tactical officers have Tasers.

"We check our devices on a daily basis," Blair said. "They go through regular checks before they're used each day and we also send them in to make sure they're appropriately calibrated."

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