Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Shocking Realization

Is there a glimmer of hope that this might be part of a trend, or is it just one smart cop who's been paying attention? From Holyoke, MA:
HOLYOKE - Equipping officers with Taser electric-shock guns is unnecessary because Holyoke police already are well-equipped and trained, Police Chief Anthony R. Scott said.

Also, said Scott, responding on Monday to a request from the City Council that he look into Tasers, such devices can be troublesome in terms of costly lawsuits filed against municipalities that use them.

"I am not ready to see an individual on the six o'clock news bouncing around on the ground like a basketball with 50,000 volts of electricity being pumped into their body," Scott said, in a memo to council President Joseph M. McGiverin.

Scott, who said he has more than 43 years in law enforcement, said police have sufficient tools. Academy training includes "verbal judo," which consists of spoken persuasion to get a suspect to comply, and physical compliance techniques, he said.

Oh wait! Look at this. Another law enforcement officer who doesn't love tasers:

But not all local cops love them. "I'm just not sold on them yet as far as being a useful tool," Edgerton Police Chief Tom Klubertanz says.

Edgerton, which sits on the Dane and Rock county line has no plans to issue Tasers to officers. Cross Plains stands alone in Dane County in not issuing Tasers to its officers; its chief says they're too expensive.

Klubertanz simply doesn't like them. "Are they being overused by some departments because they have it?" he asks. "Do they get a thrill out of watching (suspects) get electrocuted? I don't know."

Some say that officers are trained to trivialize the extreme pain Tasers inflict, and Madison police videos of Taser incidents display what could be construed as a cavalier attitude toward their use.

Those paragraphs are from an article about tasers becoming the tool of choice for cops in Madison, WI. There, tasers are unabashedly and frequently used as compliance tools. The false pretense of tasers-replace-guns has been fully dropped.