(CBS) — Recent high profile Chicago Police shootings raise questions about some officers perhaps being trigger happy. Why don’t they use something like Tasers that stun but don’t kill?
CBS 2’s Mike Parker found some people wondering.
“We have to start looking at other ways, other avenues to deescalate the situations,” said Alderman Ray Lopez.
The police shooting death of Laquan McDonald is prompting demands for Mayor Emanuel to require that all Chicago officers undergo training in the use of incapacitating Taser weapons. Such training is now voluntary.
“We’ve seen that in the Laquan McDonald where calls for a Taser were made to the scene and a Taser was not readily available,” Alderman Lopez.
Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante has already ordered “a significant expansion” of Taser training on the force, but nothing mandatory yet. That may come as a result of the Justice Department investigation of the CPD.
“I think that the result of the DOJ being here is more training, more equipment,” said FOP president Dean Angelo. “I think technology is a big part of what they’re going to look at.”
How might Tasers be used? The International Association of Chiefs of Police has this guideline: “If the suspect is actively resisting police, batons, strikes, Tasers and non-deadly force, may be used.”
But a Chicago Police spokesman declined to answer written questions asking “when are they allowed to be used?” and “When not?”
The head of the Chicago Justice Project Tracy Siska is skeptical.
“The police department is very good at using general terms so that gives them a lot of leeway,” said Siska. “I think it should be extremely specific.”
Right now only one in five CPD officers are trained to use Tasers. Those weapons and Taser training are expensive. There is hope at City Hall, that once the DOJ investigation is underway with its expected demand for more Tasers, there’ll be some federal money attached.