June 18, 2010
By James Wood, Saskatchewan News Network
No objections have been raised so far by groups consulted on the potential arming of front-line police with Tasers, says the chair of the Saskatchewan Police Commission.
In February 2009 the police commission began a new review of whether to authorize the general use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) by members of the province's 14 municipal and First Nation police services.
Commission chair Paul Korpan said this week that consultations with community groups and stakeholders have been mostly completed.
"Those that have responded have indicated support for the use of (CEDs) quite high in the use of force continuum," the Regina lawyer said in an interview.
While the police commission -- an independent provincial body that oversees rules and standards for municipal police -- did not solicit input directly from the public, it did go to police, civil liberties, mental health and aboriginal organizations and government bodies such as the children's advocate for feedback, said Korpan.
A decision was at one point expected by early 2010 and Korpan said that once consultations are complete "I think we're ready to proceed and finalize a decision."
However, there is no timeline for when that will happen.
Among the groups the commission still wants to consult is the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
"I've had direct conversations with that organization and I'm working with that organization to conclude a more fulsome dialogue on that issue. We haven't had much dialogue so that's something we think is important, that's something that we intend to explore and flesh out if you will before coming to any conclusion," said Korpan.
The FSIN declined to comment Thursday.
Under current police commission rules for Saskatchewan's municipal police services, Tasers currently can only be utilized by members of special weapons and tactical teams.
Allowing their use at a high level on the continuum of force means restricting their deployment to certain situations, such as when a suspect is threatening to cause bodily harm. Chief Clive Weighill has indicated in the past that is consistent with existing Saskatoon police protocol and that Tasers would rank second only to firearms in the restrictions on their use.
However, while police services have been strongly advocating for their officers to be equipped with Tasers the devices have been extremely controversial.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Friday, June 18, 2010
June 18, 2010