Saturday, September 13, 2008

Two reports zap TASER™

but first let's look at one that doesn't.

Two weeks ago the Annual Canadian Conference of Chiefs of Police, sponsored in part by TASER™, wisely decided not to release the Canadian Police Research Centre's "2008 Conducted Energy Weapon Report" on TASERS™ pending further peer review. However as of July 31, excerpts from it were available from 2008 TASER™ Int. who were already using it as a marketing tool :

Two-Year Study by Canadian Police Research Centre Finds TASER Devices a SaferUse of Force
TASER International, Inc.(Nasdaq:TASR), a market leader in advanced electronic control devices (ECDs)issued the following NEWS ALERT:

"A two-year study by the Canadian Police Research Centre found that TASER(r)Electronic Control Devises (ECDs) "scored high" in safety for both suspects and officers in Calgary. The 14-page report examined 562 cases in which Calgary police used TASER ECDs, pepper spray, batons, unarmed techniques, and chokeholds against people resisting arrest. Of those cases studied, nearly half were detained with a TASER device and one percent of those suspects resisting arrest ended up Hospitalized and 87 percent sustained either minor injuries or no injuries, according to the report.
The study stated "the commonly held belief" that TASER ECDs carry "a significant risk of injury or death... is not supported by the data."


Yesterday the Star reported on a different independent study ordered by RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott and obtained Thursday by the Star under Access to Information (and why was an AtI necessary?) :

RCMP didn't study Taser use enough: Report
Hard-hitting review says force relied too heavily on manufacturer's input

"The RCMP did not do "due diligence" when it approved the Taser stun gun for use as a less-than-lethal weapon by its officers, a hard-hitting independent review concludes.

The review says the RCMP relied too much on the advice of the Taser's American manufacturer in developing its policies and training, did not consult widely enough with medical and mental health experts about its impact on people, and did not treat the weapon as a "prohibited firearm" – its proper legal classification.

"Excited delirium" is not a recognized medical diagnosis, but a term sometimes used by emergency room doctors or coroners, the report says. However, its use by police amounts to "folk knowledge" and it should be eliminated from the RCMP's operational manual unless formally approved after consultation with a mental-health policy advisory body, said the review."


Via the Star :
RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon(CEW) Final Report. Excerpted :
"The Commission knows that CEWs have been deployed or threatened to be deployed a minimum of 4234 times and that over the years the number of usage reports has increased."

"The main finding within this report is that the quality of data in the CEW usage database is so poor that any of the policy shifts following the 2001 introduction of the weapon cannot be factually supported. Supervision to ensure proper CEW deployment reporting is faulty and in some cases may be non-existent."

"The number of members present at a scene is also significantly related to the use of the CEW. More precisely, the two increase together. When only one member is present, the CEW is deployed in 71.4% of incidents. However, when two (2) or more members attend, the rate of deployment goes up to between 79.1 and 87.7%. So, if more than one member is present, the likelihood that the CEW will be deployed is increased."

"The command -Police stop or you will be hit with 50,000 volts of electricity! -is actually given prior to engagement in fewer than 40% of cases."

"RCMP training teaches that “excited delirium” is a medical emergency wherein gaining control of the individual for the purpose of treatment is paramount and where the CEW is viewed as the best option to gain that control."

Most importantly, the report also focuses on overall changes in police policy exacerbated by the use of CEWs (italics mine) :
"It is a harbinger of a new model of policing in Canada, one in which the police are a group distinct from the public and whose decisions are the preserve of public safety experts. It is a model in which officer safety takes precedence over that of the general public and where the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is significantly undervalued.
The cumulative effect of these trends over time may reduce the degree of co-operation of the public that is essential to public safety in Canada."

Yes. Stockwell Day, the man nominally responsible for public safety in Canada, has the reports. We'll see which one he goes with.

See also Cathie from Canada and A Creative Revolution.
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The number of members present at a scene is also significantly related to the use of the CEW. More precisely, the two increase together."

Why am I not surprised by this?


Mike

Beijing York said...

"It is a harbinger of a new model of policing in Canada, one in which the police are a group distinct from the public and whose decisions are the preserve of public safety experts. It is a model in which officer safety takes precedence over that of the general public and where the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is significantly undervalued.
The cumulative effect of these trends over time may reduce the degree of co-operation of the public that is essential to public safety in Canada."


This is truly frightening but not surprising. In the past decade, it seems that there is a chorus always chiming in about the safety of our policing agents and the sacrifice they make putting their life on the line of fire.

But the reality is that the police are not the victims by a far stretch. They have more power than any of the citizens they are assigned to protect. There are many police officers who do a damn good job. I have witnessed that in many times in domestic abuse situations over the years. There is an impulse to try to calm the situation and help ease the conflict. But even at that, sometimes they are maybe too sympathetic to partners who actually are a real threat to their spouses. Then there is their record with Aboriginal detainees. Not very good in my part of the country.

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