Minneapolis police officers who need to subdue a suspect are more often reaching for the electric jolt of their Taser gun, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. More than 21 percent of the 876 use of force incidents reported by officers in 2006 involved a Taser. The increase in use of force incidents from 723 in 2005 was largely because of the purchase of more than 100 Tasers in the last year, said Chief Tim Dolan. While use of force incidents increased, arrests in the city climbed 16 percent to more than 53,000 last year. That amounts to one use of force incident for about every 60 arrests.
Factors in the rise in use of force cases include better reporting of such incidents and more officers being on the streets. The department has hired at least 70 officers in the last year and a half, many of whom are inexperienced, he said. In 2005, Tasers were used in 5 percent of force incidents, compared to 21 percent in 2006. Guns, chemical spray, and hands or feet were deployed less frequently. Police shot and killed three people last year. The department plans to ask the City Council for $800,000 over the next three years to fund the purchase of 300 more Tasers, which would put a Taser in the hands of every officer on the street.