Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stun gun report delayed till next year

From the August 27th edition of The Chronicle Herald:
MONTREAL (CP) — A report on electronic stun gun safety that was expected this week at a police chiefs convention has been delayed until next year.

The report on the weapons, commonly known by the brand name Tasers, will be subjected to an independent peer review and will only be released in 2009 with a longer-term study due in 2010, says Steve Palmer, the executive director of the Canadian Police Research Centre.

Palmer says until then, police should follow the recommendations of the 2005 report released by the research centre that suggests Tasers are "an acceptable intermediate force option."

"It’s important that this (report) is done well and that this is done in a way that brings value to a broad group of stakeholders: public, police, and policy makers," Palmer said at a news conference Tuesday at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police convention.

The convention runs until Wednesday.

The police chiefs’ association commissioned the review into stun guns last fall after Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport after being hit with the device by RCMP.

The five-part, federally funded report will compare stun guns to other weapons used by police and will look at medical research surrounding the use of Tasers and research pertaining to so-called excited delirium.

Excited delirium is a state of extreme mental and physiological excitement characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility and exceptional strength.

It’s commonly seen in cases of drug abuse and mental illness, most notably schizophrenia.

The problem became linked to police activity in the 1980s, paralleling increasing use of cocaine by drug users.

Unexpected deaths during police activity relating to people suffering from excited delirium have been linked to pepper spray, certain police restraint methods, and most recently, stun guns.
Bold emphasis is mine.

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