Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...


The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

File under category: 'No sh_t, Einstein!'

CBC News: The use of Tasers, guns and physical force by Ottawa [Canada's capital city, population about 820,000] police dropped to the lowest level in years in 2007 — the year after the service introduced a special premium for officers who regularly retake a course on the proper use of force.

Tasers were used only a dozen times by officers last year, said the police service's 2007 use of force annual report, which was to be discussed at the Police Services Board meeting Monday night. That was the lowest number of uses in five years, even though 34 tactical officers were authorized to use the devices, and 61 front-line supervisors became authorized in November 2007. ...

Chief Vern White credits better training for the decline in the use of force. "I went through use of force training two weeks ago," he said, "and I have to say I was totally impressed with the use of force training itself, the instructors." He added that the instructors encouraged officers to talk to the people they deal with before doing anything else.

Since May 2006, officers have been eligible for a special salary premium called responsibility pay if they take the Use of Force training course every 11 months. ...

Link= Ottawa police Taser use drops after 'responsibility pay' introduced

This is pretty good news.

Much better than this idiot statement:

Staff Sgt. Couillard said that if Ottawa police issued a news release every time a Taser was used, "we'd be writing them 10 times a day."

Link= 10 times a day

Has anyone formally retracted that statement? Did I miss a memo?

But still, as a touted replacement for lethal force, twelve incidents per year still seems just a wee bit high. It's not ridiculously high, because there may be occasional incidents where the use of a taser might be justifiable when a gun wouldn't be. But it would be nice if they could continue to improve.

For comparison, another extract from the same news story:

Officers pointed their firearms 212 times, the lowest level since 2002, the report shows. They were fired 51 times, in all cases to destroy animals.

In other words, Ottawa police made it through the year without shooting anyone. It also appears very clear that the gun can be very useful even if the trigger isn't pulled (212 - 51 = 161 times a year). Another inconvenient fact that Taser propaganda slides past: guns don't have to be used lethally to be very useful.

All in all, this appears to be an example of the sort of improvement that can been seen when Taser Corporate Brainwashing, sorry - I mean 'Taser Training by Taser', complete with stupid taser-all-the-trainees nonsense - is replaced with more responsible, more balanced training that includes attention to The Proper Use of Force.

By the way - note: 'force' THE NOUN.

As another comparison, remember Corporal Rudy Torres of Frederick County, MD, USA, who used his taser 7 (or 9 according to some reports) times in two years? One officer - about four taser usages per year. By himself. One officer.

Link= Corporal Rudy 'Call Me Sparky' Torres

(And to preclude any whining about how Ottawa is not a representative city. Trust me, Ottawa has a rough section of town, around Rideau and King Edward, where there are many homeless people, drug addicts, bars, drunks, and occasionally crazed and violent people.)

So, credit where credit is due - good job Ottawa Police!

But still, even twelve per year seems a bit high for a so-called replacement for lethal force. I suspect that Ottawa Police wouldn't be shooting that many people per year if the taser hadn't been spawned. So it seems that there's still some room for improvement.

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