One-third of shootings by San Francisco police over a five-year period might have been avoided had officers been equipped with less-lethal options such as Tasers, according to a police study reported by the city’s Chronicle. Unlike many departments, San Francisco police officers are not equipped with Tasers. Chief George Gascón, who ordered the study shortly after coming on the job in late July, says the city should consider adopting the devices.
Critics of Tasers say they are not the nonlethal weapons the maker advertises. They point to hundreds of deaths associated with the devices since their use began spreading in law enforcement in the late 1990s. The word “Taser” does not appear in the 185-page study of officer-involved shootings, written by Assistant Chief Morris Tabak and released last week. But Gascón made it clear in an interview that it supported the case for giving officers stun guns.