One man 'Tased,' seven others give up fast

Police Department issues report covering first three months of Taser possession

In the first three months Palo Alto police carried Tasers, officers stunned one man and pointed the electronic stun guns at seven other people, according to a quarterly report released by the Police Department.

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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2008 at 7:47 am

The report indicates Tasers are very effective in stopping suspects in their tracks and reducing injuries to suspects and officers. The Taser has proved to be a cost effective tool. Good decision on their deployment.

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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2008 at 8:22 am

The current data reinforces that initial claims of the palo alto police that there would be low use of these devices, which seems to be likely from this first quarterly report. It would appear that a Taser might be discharged less than ten times a year in Palo Alto. This makes the decision a good one--regardless of the hysteria that a small number of people introduced into this process.

If one tracks the use of Tasers nationally, there is a disturbing trend for police departments which have had these devices in the field for a while to become cavalier in their use. There are reports weekly in the news documenting Taser abuse. It has become clear that the claims of police that the Taser is used when a "force escalation" is required that is more than the use of "physical" and less than the use of "deadly force" have turned out to be incorrect. Many police are using them on people who do not "comply" as quickly as an officer might like--and all too frequently the officer is not in any danger that would require a "force escalation."

However, pointing a Taser is a lot different than using it--which is what has been the concern of those opposed to the devices. There have been cases of police using these devices on their own partners when the two officers have become engaged in personal disputes; there have been a number of lawsuits against police departments for too aggressive use of the devices, however the media rarely seem to report on the outcomes of these court actions.

The article suggests that the officers are using the Tasers a little too soon--according to these "rules of engagement"--which palo alto police were claiming when proposing these devices originally.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:16 am

Why are the names of the offenders withheld? Isn't that information that should be released to the public? They seem to be willing to release the ethnic background of everyone. Were they all residents of Palo Alto or were the majority from other towns or states?

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