Taser use going up in Massachusetts

The Dig reports on the growing use of tasers by both local police departments and State Police.

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Police

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I was raised to respect the policeman's orders, don't sass back and always be polite. If everyone followed suit, there would be no need for tasers.

I see

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So you plan on being a good little boy and assume they won't just decide to be sadistic and pull down your pants and taze your balls.

When you grow up, please post more.

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Now the Dig is complaining

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Now the Dig is complaining the police are using less to non-lethal means instead of just shooting people?

Geeze make up your minds!

By CHRIS FARAONE? Ah yes,

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By CHRIS FARAONE? Ah yes, this article won’t be at all biased or anti-police.

FYI uniformed officers in boston do not have tasers. Only the SWAT team does and the average citizen is not going to encounter them.

True

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And nowhere does the referenced article say BPD officers use tasers.

Mixed bag

The article touches on this, but if TASERs were used as a 1:1 replacement for shooting people, this would be a completely positive development. BPD has shot a number of people armed with knives (at best) in the past few years. I suspect BPD's reluctance to actually deploy them just gives them cover for shooting people; another PR strategy from a department notably good at it.

The problem is that they get used *a lot* more often in situations where they can only harm: pain compliance for victims that are already down, dropping unarmed people in behavioral crisis, etc.

I know! It’s almost as if the

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I know! It’s almost as if the BPD don’t want to get stabbed to death or something by all those people armed with knives they shot.

Different levels of force so no.

A Firearm should only be used when the officer (or someone else) is in danger of lethal force. The taser can be applied on someone who is just below that level.

Forget about the police for a second. If someone comes at you with a knife, you can shoot them. If someone comes at you with their hands like they are going to punch you, you can tase them. You can of course tase someone coming at you with a knife or gun, but you might die in the process.

They should not be used for pain compliance though.

Use-of-force standard should be higher for the trained

Use-of-force discussions usually get framed as if they're about a person abruptly running at a cop with a weapon, because it's pretty easy to justify lethal force that way, but that's not where having options matters.

One of the unambiguous use cases for an ECW is the agitated person holding a knife. As long as everyone stays some distance away (conventionally 21'), that person is a threat to, at most, themselves, but it's impossible to restrain them safely.
This happened in ?Chelsea some years ago and there's video of cops basically following a man down the road yelling "DROP THE KNIFE BUDDY" until one or both sides got too agitated and the cops shot him. Not ideal.
With a plan and the ability to drop that person from a distance, relatively safe restraint is an option.

The difference between a member of the public and a police officer encountering someone with a knife is that the officer intentionally goes into potentially dangerous situations and is trained and conditioned to escalate them. An ECW gives them an intermediate option so they don't escalate directly to lethal force.

True.

Agree that following someone with a knife and then shooting him is not ideal. But how far do you let the knife wielding suspect walk? The civilian can just let him go and call the police (they are already safe), but what happens if the knife wielding person goes on to hurt someone else or gets away?

Knives are a difficult one. There are millions of situations that could happen with a person with a knife. Tazers also have distances and will not work on someone with heavy clothing.