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Friday, October 09, 2009

Winnipeg police aiming away from the heart and studying Braidwood's Taser recommendations

October 9, 2009
Gabrielle Giroday, Winnipeg Free Press

WINNIPEG — The deputy chief of the Winnipeg Police Service said Tasers are still in use by the force but officers have adjusted the way they are used after the manufacturer said it should be aimed away from the heart area.

WPS Deputy Chief Shelley Hart told the standing committee on protection and community services that the service will study the findings of the Braidwood Report and report back to the committee within 30 days.

Hart told reporters after the meeting she did not know how many Tasers are currently in use by the WPS.

The Braidwood Report has 19 recommendations on changes the British Columbia police should make on their Taser use. It followed the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport after Mounties used a stun gun on him in October 2007.

The report is not binding for the Winnipeg Police Service.

"It is of great interest and importance to us to be sure that our policies and practices here are constantly reviewed and updated as we deem appropriate," Hart told the committee.

Hart refused to elaborate on how Taser use by the force has changed.

"It's an operational issue," she said.

"We don't make a habit of releasing that kind of information just from a purely tactical perspective."

The WPS refused earlier this year to release statistics on how many times the devices were used by their officers on an annual basis. Those statistics were previously released.

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