POLICE PREPARE TO CARRY TASERS
(7/10/2007) NEW HAVEN- A general order signed by Police Chief Francisco Ortiz last week allows trained officers to now carry Tasers. Tasers are electronic control devices for law enforcement that temporarily incapacitate suspects when shot from up to 35 feet away. According to Taser International, the manufacturer of this less-lethal equipment, more than 11,000 law enforcement agencies presently use Tasers.
The New Haven Police Department purchased an initial 50 Taser X26 models. The goal is for all trained officers to carry this equipment as additional units are acquired.
“We’re implementing the use of Tasers as a way to minimize the use of force during an arrest for the safety of our officers, suspects and bystanders,” said Ortiz. “Our officers are being thoroughly trained to safely and effectively use Tasers to better handle suspects who actively resist arrest.”
The general order authorizes trained, sworn police personnel to use Tasers as an alternative to more extreme applications of force and only in situations when a subject’s actions are perceived by the officer to be of active resistance or greater. Tasers include a feature that captures video and audio during use. Therefore, after each use, all recordings are downloaded for use in the incident report.
“The men and women of our police force put their lives on the line in their work. It’s important that they be equipped with the resources necessary to protect themselves and resisters. This is a tool that will give officers more choices—it’s a win-win situation,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr.
Tasers use air cartridges and discharge low-current electric probes that become embedded in the skin of a suspect causing them to become incapacitated for a short period of time allowing an officer to complete an arrest. Medical personnel, not police officers, must then remove probes from a suspect’s skin.
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