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article imageSaskatchewan: Municipal Police Will Not Get Tasers

By Bob Ewing     Jul 26, 2008 in Politics
Municipal police officers in towns and cities throughout Saskatchewan will not be issued tasers. RCMP and municipal tactical squads will still deploy them.
Tasers will not be issued to regular municipal police in Saskatchewan will not be issued Taser stun guns, the province's police commission announced.
"After questions about the safety of the equipment arose, accompanied by the public inquiry in British Columbia ... the commission believed it was not prudent to move forward with the authorization of conducted energy weapons for general use," said Michael Tochor, chairman of the Saskatchewan Police Commission.
"We will await the findings and recommendations of the various inquiries and studies taking place now before moving further on the issue."
However, the RCMP and municipal police tactical teams in Saskatchewan already use Tasers and will continue to do so.
Tasers were Initially approved the weapons for regular municipal police, but then a decision was made hold off until a new policy was developed for their use.
The policy was being developed when members of the commission became increasing concerned about the safety of Tasers because of cases in other provinces.
"There is a general feeling that it hasn't been established one way or the other that Tasers … are safe, so we would like more medical and scientific information on that," Tochor said.
"There is also the question of when is it appropriate to use a Taser? Do you use it because a 16-year-old girl in Manitoba isn't doing what the police are telling her to do? Or do you use it when someone is swinging a sword at you?
"To date we haven't been satisfied that there has been a policy set out that will allow the appropriate use of Tasers, yet prevent abuses of Tasers."
Earlier this week, a 17-year-old girl said this week that she was zapped by a stun gun three times while confined in an RCMP holding cell last year in Selkirk, Man. A public complaint has been filed.
"It's a small victory in the sense that it doesn't go as far as we would like, to see a complete moratorium on the use of Tasers until all the facts are on the table,"
Andy Buxton, spokesman for Amnesty International.
"Having said that, a small victory is better than no victory whatsoever. The less proliferation of these Tasers, the better."
Cpl. Don Perrett with the RCMP's national use of force unit said "It does not affect the RCMP because we fall under the RCMP Act. We do have policies and procedures in place with respect to the use of any [Tasers]. This will not affect our operations."
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