Thursday, March 03, 2005

Residents Don't Believe Taser Guns Are Safe - CHANNEL3000.COM

Chief Wray May Use Community Input To Change Department's Taser Policy

POSTED: 11:37 am CST March 3, 2005
UPDATED: 12:32 pm CST March 3, 2005

MADISON, Wis. -- About 90 people attended a Madison police forum Wednesday to learn about the department's use of Taser gun weapons.

Of those who spoke, a few supported the use of Taser guns, but most were against officers using Taser guns, News 3 reported.

Police compared Taser guns, which they say cause no pain or injury to be effective, to other non-deadly maneuvers such as using a baton or physical force to take control of a situation.

"These are sound devices for use in our tactics," said Public Information Officer Larry Kamholz. "We can use them to prevent someone from being injured or killed."

Taser gun safety and usage have come under scrutiny after some are pointing fingers at Taser guns for causing the death of close to 100 people nationwide.

Resident John Peck said, "It's a misnomer to call these non-lethal weapons -- people have been killed by these things."

Residents are also raising concern after a January incident, where an officer shot a 14-year-old Memorial High School boy with a Taser gun in the school parking lot.

A recent Madison police report says since the summer of 2003 officers have shocked 83 people, and it's been effective 77 percent of the time. Some of those in attendance at Wednesday's meeting said that percentage is worth the benefits a Taser gun can bring, while others said they need more information.

Bill Keys, who is president of the Madison Metropolitan School Board, said he supports the department's use of Taser guns.

"I would like them to have all the possible resources for them to use while enforcing a safe city," Keyes said.

Resident Erik Guenther said he wants to see studies on Taser guns for people with health problems.

"There is no research right now that deals with individuals, who have heart conditions, who are on prescription drugs, or for pregnant women," Guenther said.

Chief Noble Wray plans to use the information gained from the public to possibly change and make improvements to the current policy on the use of Taser guns.

The Madison Police Department will be holding more community forums on the use of Taser guns next week.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/4250683/detail.html

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