It is very satisfying to read about a police force that is moving in the correct direction, away from over-reliance on the taser.
Halifax, Nova Scotia - Halifax police say they are training officers to better defuse volatile situations with the mentally ill before having to resort to the use of a taser... Sgt. Dean Stienburg, who trains police on the use of force, said the department is trying to equip officers with the skills to detect signs of mental illness and to de-escalate situations before having to deploy stun guns.
He said the force has changed its policies on mental health training since Howard Hyde, a 45-year-old musician with a long history of paranoid schizophrenia, died in custody 30 hours after being Tasered by police.
"What we're focusing on now is when is it appropriate to use this device," he told the inquiry. "What we're trying to do is raise awareness and how to recognize subtle clues ... that the person needs assistance." ...
He said the force will change training guidelines next year to include emphasis on so-called empty-hand controls - or those that don't involve restraint devices - to restrain a person and avoid using a taser.
They also plan to train dispatchers to recognize signs of mental health disorders when a 911 call is made and to deploy Emergency Health Services in such cases. [LINK]
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