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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Loves Park (Illinois) nixes tasers

August 12, 2011
By Clint Wolf, Beloit Daily News

LOVES PARK — Tasers have been put on the shelf at another Stateline Area police department due to concerns raised about the use of the devices.

The Loves Park Police Department has suspended use of Tasers by officers. Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg said the decision to shelve the Tasers was made Thursday in a meeting between himself and police department personnel.

“The only reason we decided to do this at this time was because there have been so many incidents in other agencies,” Lindberg said. “Until some of these issues are resolved, we felt it was best to put them on the shelf.”

The most recent Stateline Area incident occurred Aug. 2 when Anthony Slaymaker was Tased by a Roscoe Police Officer. Slaymaker had to be taken by ambulance to a Rockford hospital where he received treatment for several days. Family members say Slaymaker, 21, suffered a heart attack following the Tasing.

Roscoe Police Chief Jamie Evans said an investigation into the incident is expected to be completed soon.

The investigation is being conducted by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Dick Meyers said the investigation could be completed this week, but did not say for certain. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Rockford Police Department discontinued use of Tasers over a year ago.

The Roscoe Police Department has used Tasers since 2007.

The South Beloit Police Department discontinued use of Tasers in April after concerns were raised about use of Tasers and how officers were trained in their use. Also, a video of the 2008 arrest shows former South Beloit Police Sgt. Brad McCaslin applying a Taser to a woman’s neck.

Lindberg said the decision to discontinue use of Tasers was not easy. He pointed out he had been a police chief for 18 years and he said there were benefits in their use. He noted that officers had a risk of injury if they had to physically subdue a suspect and using Tasers reduced some of that risk.

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