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Monday, November 09, 2009

Winnipeg Police Service following taser recommendations, Council told

November 9, 2009
By: Bartley Kives, Winnipeg Free Press

The Winnipeg Police Service is already following most of the recommendations of B.C.'s Braidwood Inquiry into taser use, city councillors were told this morning.

Earlier this year, Winnipeg's police were asked to respond to 19 recommendations made by the Braidwood Inquiry, which issued a report following its examination of the death of Polish airport visitor Robert Dziekanski following multiple taser discharges by RCMP officers.

Const. Hank Bergen, a Winnipeg police use-of-force expert, appeared before council's protection and community services committee to dissect all 19 Braidwood recommendations and said most but not all are already followed by a police service that's highly trained in protocols governing taser use.

That said, recommendations to only use tasers to enforce criminal-code offences or when officers are certain bodily harm will take place will not be implemented, Bergen said, because police need to have all enforcement options at their disposal and could place themselves or others in danger if they stop and consider too many variables in emergency situations.

Another recommendation -- to stop deploying taser probes on police trainees during testing -- was put into place several months ago, police Chief Keith McCaskill said. Trainees are now zapped in stun-drive mode -- that is, without the projectile probes -- instead.

Yet another recommendation to place defibrillators in all police vehicles may not be feasible, but Winnipeg's police will explore the idea anyway because the devices could prove useful in a variety of medical situations, McCaskill said.

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