Don't tase me, bro!

Ben Shore's picture

Just read the Nevius column today - http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/22/BALD1HQB6C.DTL - and must say, I'm eager for the debate regarding San Francisco police using tasers. Like Nevius says, I believe tasers (in theory) are good, as there should be a middle ground between a "police baton and a firearm." And, tasers are (for the most part...) nonlethal but powerful and are thus a happy (well, for some probably not) medium. Kind of like the phrase, "guns don't kill people, people kill people," the tasers themselves aren't as much of a problem as the training, or often lackthereof, on how to use them. Of course we remember the tragic situation involve Oscar Grant and Johannes Mehserle, where Mehserle thought he was grabbing his taser but instead grabbed his gun. Proper training is difficult and time consuming, but it beats the alternatives. In order to protect San Franciscans, the San Francisco Police Department needs all the tools available, including tasers. But they just simply HAVE to be trained well enough to use them. OK, am I advocating for a police-state here or does this make sense?

catherinejanem's picture

Makes sense.....I don't think

Makes sense.....I don't think you're advocating for a "police state'...you have to wonder if we eliminated tasers, would officers go for the guns more often?  Lots of implications either way....

Alyssa Sittig's picture

San Francisco Should Encourage Police Taser Training

Im in favor of anything that is a viable alternative to a firearm.

I completely agree, Ben, that the heart of this taser debate is whether we can adequately train our police force to use tasers the right way. As a city, can can create our own standards for police training that may exceed what the state requires. Would this discourage cops from working in SF? I don't know.

The recent taser abuses in the news are not acceptable, but I see why we are having this problem. I do not have any police training, but I can imagine that if I was a cop in a position where I had to choose a weapon with which to defend myself - a taser is pretty appealing. It is more powerful than a baton, completely debilitating, and leaves no lasting harm on the subject. Basic psychology will indicate that most cops would, when threatened, go for the weapon that is the best bet in securing themselves. So this would leave me to believe that tasers are highly useful - and liked by cops. 

That leaves the question, do we want to give our cops this option? Because in the face of harm and real threat, it is rare to find someone who will opt to defend themselves with the least harmful weapon available to them.

 

CJC's picture

I'm Confused

I'm confused on this subject. Is the proposal for Police to have tasers instead of guns, or in addition to?

 

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