Tasers Used As Threats More Often Than Actual Firing In Nashville


Nashville police officers used Taser stun guns as a threat more often than they fired them in the first two months since they were redeployed for widespread use, reports the Tennessean. The police department added several checks and balances to its Taser policy in June, when more than 200 Tasers were available for officers to check out. Only officers who completed a daylong training were certified to carry the stun guns, and a special report was required each time the Taser was turned on, regardless of whether it was fired. Last week, police added cameras and audio recording devices to its Tasers.

“Any tool we can use to draw compliance in the one of 100 people who resist arrest, there is a value to protect the people,” said Police Chief Ronal Serpas. “In this case, we continue to see a trend toward compliance that gives us continued reason to use this tool.” Only 1 percent of arrests require officers to use force, Serpas said. Tasers were used 17 percent of the time in arrests where some kind of force was used. The most common types of force – takedown moves and wrestling with suspects – have declined slightly since Tasers were made available. Tasers were pulled from patrol officers in 2005 after the death of Patrick Lee. The autopsy cited the cause as excited delirium, a condition associated with in-custody deaths of suspects using illegal drugs and exhibiting strange behavior. A wrongful death suit is pending.

Link: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080825/NEWS01/808250330

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