The Police Executive Research Forum issued 50 best practices for law enforcement use of Tasers to subdue suspects, reports the Houston Chronicle. Tasers, or stun guns, have been linked to more than 140 deaths nationally. The devices should be used “in the most surgical and strategic way possible,” said PERF director Chuck Wexler. The organization held a meeting on the subject in Houston because Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt has demonstrated leadership on the use of Tasers, Wexler said.
Among the main recommendations: Police should use Tasers only on suspects who actively resist arrest; no more than one officer should discharge a Taser at a suspect; generally speaking, Tasers should not be used on pregnant women, young children, the elderly, or visibly frail people; stun guns should not be used on handcuffed suspects unless they are actively resisting; officers should avoid using the devices on fleeing suspects. The full list will be posted on www.policeforum.org, in coming weeks. “This complements what we do,” said Steve Tuttle of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International Inc. “We are neither use-of-force experts, nor do we teach use of force.”