Chicago police officers have nearly quadrupled their use of Tasers since the department equipped every beat car with the electric-shock weapons earlier this year, say new figures from the Independent Police Review Authority reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. The agency, which reviews complaints of police misconduct, tracks every use of a Taser. In the second quarter of 2010, the devices were discharged 285 times by cops — up from 74 in the first quarter of 2010 and 39 in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Only a few of those Taser discharges resulted in an allegation of police misconduct, the police oversight agency said. “It’s preventing a lot of injuries, and it’s helping to protect the officers,” said Anthony Beale, chairman of the City Council Police and Fire Committee. “A lot of times, they are Tasing people who are on drugs. The Taser is the only way to restrain them.” In March, the department announced 380 more Tasers would hit the streets — on top of 280 already in use by sergeants and field training officers.