Influential Police Research Group Urges Limits on Taser Use

According to an article published on October 19, 2005 in The NY Times, the influential Police Executive Research Forum urged restrictions on taser use in the wake of 140 deaths of people being taken into custody. The group suggested that officers be allowed to use the stun guns only on people who are aggressively resisting arrest, not just refusing to follow orders. The group also recommened that officers pause and evaluate suspects after shocking them once, instead of repeatedly shocking someone without a break. Sales of the guns to police departments soared in 2003 and 2004, and more than 7,000 police departments now use them. But sales have plunged this year, as questions about the safety of the guns have increased. Taser shocks can cause a potentially dangerous condition called acidosis in which the blood becomes too acidic. Shares in Taser International, the company makes the weapons, have fallen 80% this year, and Taser is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over claims it made about the safety of the guns, as well as the way it disclosed an order it received last year.