Friday, February 01, 2008

Chicago Police Want More Tasers

The Chicago Police Department is looking to up its number of tasers from about 350 to 2,500 devices. Chicago had halted the distribution of tasers to their police following the autopsy results of tased suspect Ronald Hasse. The cause of death was found to be electrocution with drugs as a contributing factor.

The police department seems to have forgotten the incident and now cites tasers as "less-than-lethal":
"We view them as a less-than-lethal option," police spokeswoman Monique Bond said of the department's Tasers, which were discharged 181 times in 2006.
With over 290 taser-associated deaths from 2001-2007, that's clearly false. The acid test is this: Would those same 290 people have died if standard non-lethal apprehension techniques had been used? Statistics that examine trends in mortality rates before and after police departments begin employing tasers don't fully address that question. If a weapon is killing people, it's not very non-lethal.

Interestingly, former top-cop Terry Hillard, is now a consultant for Taser International (a cached article archive, alternate source here), who would supply Chicago with the extra tasers.