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January 9, 2008 permalink
Orangeville Police are now equipped with tasers. Asked when they are used, Police Chief Joseph Tomei mentioned only the hypothetical case of a man holding a knife, though none of the dozens of taser videos on the internet shows a victim with a weapon. The chief says tasers have been used twice. Police have the job of assisting children's aid in removing children from parents. When CAS comes for your children, be prepared for a shock. We are not exaggerating. On November 18, 2007 police in Trotwood Ohio tasered a seven-month pregnant woman.
Taser useful tool: chief
Orangeville Police Services added a taser to its arsenal of law enforcement tools last year. A single electrical shock device was purchased several months ago and has been used twice.
Chief Joseph Tomei believes strongly in taser use, if the situation calls for it, but has no immediate interest in expanding the number of Orangeville officers who carry one.
"To me, tasers save lives if they can defuse the situation, if a person can be incapacitated through the use of a taser," Tomei tells The Banner. "Certainly the literature that I've read and the studies that I've read, there hasn't been any deaths attributed to the taser directly."
Currently, the frontline supervisor on duty handles the electro-shock weapon and it changes hands each shift. If an officer believes the taser is needed, Tomei explains, the supervisor is called to the scene to assess the situation and act accordingly.
Each of the supervisors has been trained on taser use.
"There's very strict conditions when officers can resort to the use-of-force options," Tomei says, noting conditions were established by the Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections. Those conditions also apply to all forms of use-of-force, not just tasers.
A person acting threatening while holding a knife is a prime example of when a taser may be used, Tomei says.
"A taser would defuse that situation. Normally, that's a situation when you want to use your handgun because it is deadly force that you're being confronted with," he shares.
"That's, to me, a better option than taking a bullet. I hate to sound crude, but that's what it is."
The electric shock from a taser incapacitates an individual long enough for police to separate them from their weapon and gain the physical advantage needed to put a combative person in handcuffs.
So far, the Orangeville police taser has been used twice.
"Anytime it is used ... the officer has to put a report in, which is reviewed," Tomei notes, adding he believes taser use was deemed appropriate on both local occasions.
While supportive of tasers, the chief isn't ready to advocate that all his officers carry them.
"I'd like to see and wait for all the studies that are going on," he says, noting the province regularly sends out relevant study results. "I'd like to see whatever is bubbling and brewing out there and make an assessment before we go to the full step of having everybody trained and everybody armed."
The British Columbia government has ordered a public inquiry into the Oct. 14 death of a Polish man at Vancouver International Airport. A taser was used on the man prior to his death. A review of RCMP taser use is also being conducted as a result of the man's death. An interim report issued in December by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP rejected an outright ban on tasers and urges more restricted use.
"It's an unfortunate reality of the day, that officers are faced with situations where a violent person picks up a weapon or is extremely violent and needs to be controlled before somebody else gets hurt," comments Tomei. "The police are the last line of defence that's called in to defuse these situations and are the ones that have to handle them."
Source: Orangeville Banner