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Friday, February 19, 2010

Five per cent of Tasers failed

February 19, 2010
Ryan Cormier, Edmonton Journal

About five per cent of Edmonton police Tasers failed testing in the past year

The Tasers were shipped to Ontario for testing early last year at the direction of the Alberta Solicitor General after questions were raised about the voltage such weapons put out when they are fired.

All 422 of the service's X-26 models were tested. Twenty-three were taken out of service for not having the correct voltage level.

"I would say that's a really low percentage and I'm not trying to minimize the importance of it," Chief Mike Boyd said Thursday.

In November, the department returned 14 of the 23 faulty units that were under warranty. They will return another three this month. The other six units were past warranty and have been taken out of service.

At any given time in 2009, police kept 70 Tasers on-hand for use while others were being tested.

The police plan to purchase another 15 tasers this year, says a report submitted to the Edmonton Police Commission.

The Solicitor General paid for all testing until July 2009, after which the police department has paid $4,480.

In April 2009, in the midst of the testing, the Solicitor General's office announced that 50 Tasers across the province had failed.

The tests were the first independent gauge of the weapons ever done by Alberta's police departments. Before then, the province relied on the guarantees of Taser International which makes the devices.

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