People shot by police with electric stun guns in Miami are treated with sedatives and cooling solutions to prevent deaths that sometimes accompany such shootings, says USA Today. The 7-month-old pilot project has been used successfully at least a dozen times to pacify and lower body temperatures of stun gun targets, says John Gardner of Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue’s emergency medical services. Officials and stun gunmakers say it appears to be the first program of its kind.
The program could improve public confidence in stun guns and reduce police reliance on firearms to subdue people who pose possible threats. (Stun guns are also known by the trade name Tasers.) The U.S. Justice Department is studying about 200 deaths, most in the past 10 years, that occurred after individuals were subdued by stun guns or other electroshock devices to determine whether the devices are unsafe. Miami police chief John Timoney called stun guns a “perfect weapon” because they allow police to subdue threatening subjects without using firearms. Miami-Dade’s program could lead to wider stun gun use, Timoney says, by cutting out “bad publicity” when stun gun targets die.