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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Winnipeg police changing taser use policy

CJOB News Team reporting

Winnipeg police will change the way they use the Taser device. Officers had been trained to shoot for the centre of mass, or torso, on a person but are now being told to aim lower, but avoid the groin area.

This follows a recent lawsuit against the makers of the stun gun --Taser International. The lawsuit said medical research concluded it's best to avoid aiming near the heart.

Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, says the change puts a bigger strain on officers needing to deploy the devices in volatile and sudden situations.

The use of the Taser has drawn controversy following deaths, including Robert Dziekanski who died after being tasered at the Vancouver Airport in 2007.

Police say the changes are merely a guideline and not a rule set in stone with the goal being to ensure both police and public safety.

Apparently, the city of Calgary instructed its officers on Wednesday to make the changes.

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