New Jersey police officers can now use stun guns when confronting emotionally disturbed people who are armed, a tactic law enforcement officials say could reduce the use of deadly force, reports the Bergen Record. The new guidelines mean that New Jersey becomes the last state in the nation to approve the use of stun guns by law enforcement, if only on a limited basis.
Under the policy, trained police officers can use the stun guns only against emotionally disturbed persons who are armed and refuse to surrender. Officers must be reasonably sure that the disturbed person’s behavior is likely to result in serious injury to himself or others. The rules prohibit use of the devices against people who refuse to comply with an officer’s order to move, get on the ground or exit a vehicle. Stun guns can’t be used on handcuffed individuals, persons in moving vehicles or anyone on an elevated surface unless efforts are made to prevent or minimize a fall-related injury.