It’s back to tasers at the Police Commission where a working group is set to present its findings at Wednesday’s meeting. The city has been debating whether to arm police officers with tasers (a.k.a stun guns) in an effort to decrease shootings.
The debate has been ongoing for several years.
The working group is headed by Police Commissioner Sonia Malera and has been looking at the debate around equipping SFPD officers with tasers.
The San Francisco Police Department is the last major city force in the country without Tasers. Proposals in the past have been repeatedly criticized and turned down by local community members despite pushback from the officers’ union.
The major concern expressed against tasers in the past has been about deaths and serious bodily harm. Proponents have argued that the devices could give officers another choice short of pulling a firearm and thus could lead to fewer shootings.
At the Wednesday meeting, however, a slightly different question will come up: Are tasers effective and if so what role can they play in a dangerous escalating situation?
The Former Chief Greg Suhr was a big proponent of using tasers and suggested it could help prevent officers from using lethal force. Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus has long opposed the use of tasers: “I think it is seen as that the Tasers are being given as a reward for the shootings and I think that is the perception that is out there, I think taser is not the answer right now,” DeJesus said on a panel during the criminal justice summit last year.