Paul E. Kennedy, Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP who was tasked by Stockwell Day to investigate the use of Conducted Energy Weapons released his interim report today. Having examined the use of the weapons commonly known as tasers in recent times by the RCMP, his report was requested after the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport on October 14, 2007.
Kennedy provided a ten point recommendation list, aimed to provide for better control over the controversial weapons used by Canadian police departments. Including a couple of interesting recommendations that could see the use of the electronic weapons reduced depending on the scenario faced by attending officers to any complaint…
Having the taser move up the RCMP’s Use of Force model is an interesting recommendation. I can think of a few scenarios where the police not being able to use a taser on a resistant person could be problematic:
A 5’5, 130 pound member pulls a vehicle over. The 6’3, 230 pound driver is impaired. He complies with commands to get out of the vehicle, the member then tells him he’s under arrest roadside. The driver tells the member to screw off, he’s going home and there’s nothing they can do to stop him. The driver then staggers back to his vehicle and wants to leave. Because of the size difference, lack of other members and risk to the member and the public if the driver makes it back to his vehicle, I wouldn’t have a problem with the member pulling out a taser, pointing the laser light at the driver and telling him if he doesn’t stop he’s going to be tasered. If the driver still refused and was going to drive away in my opinion the member would be justified in tasering him and calling for backup to then handcuff him.
I don’t see a less risky option. Now though, if policy was changed the member wouldn’t be following it.
I do agree it should not be used against individuals that refuse to be fingerprinted, get into a cell, sign a ticket, etc.