Tasers
4:37 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Hamilton County police release Taser guidance report

It was this report, released by attorney Al Gerhardstein a year ago, that helped prompt the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police to study Tasers and issue a guidance report. Chairman of the committee that wrote the report, Joseph Lally, stresses his group did not have any intention of establishing a blanket policy.

The report is a compilation of the information that is known about CEWs (conducted electrical weapon) and the committee's views on the maintenance, training and deployment in response to subjects who are resisting arrest.

That 22 page report was released Thursday. Here are its findings, broken up into three categories:

Training: (Here are some of the 14 recommendations.)

  • Only officers who've been trained and certified should use them
  • Training should occur on an annual basis
  • It should include the manufacturer's current recommendations
  • Officers should check the device at the beginning of every shift
  • Police should be aware that the device may carry the risk of injury or death
  • When possible announce the intention to use a Taser
  • After Tasing the officer should monitor and document the offender's behavior and physical cond.
  • Trained medical personnel should be summoned and the information recorded

Maintenance

  • Manufacturer's guidelines state the Taser should be checked at the beginning of each tour of duty
  • Information from the Taser should be downloaded at least bi-annually
  • If there is serious physical harm or death, the Taser should be tested
  • A unit not functioning properly should be taken out of service

Deployment: (Here are some of the 9 recommendations.)

  • Officers should not use a Taser for pure pain compliance on a subject who is passively resisting or simply verbally non-compliant
  • Location of where the probes made contact should be documented
  • The EMT/EMS squad should be summoned to take and record vitals as soon as possible

Al Gerhardstein's reaction

Attorney Al Gerhardstein, who has filed a number of lawsuits on behalf of families who lost loved ones after they were Tased, is encouraged by the report. "If local law enforcement agencies follow this report there are going to be many reforms to their policies." Among the possible changes: no chest shots, annual testing of the Taser and downloading data from the device.

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