Nova Scotia has issued new guidelines for the use of stun guns and they go into effect immediately.Image credit
The guidelines call on police officers, court security and jails guards to consider whether a person is mentally ill before they use a shock to try to subdue them.
When confronting someone who is known to suffer from a mental illness, the officer or guard should only use a conductive energy weapon — more commonly known as a stun gun or Taser — as a last resort.
If there's a danger that shock could seriously hurt that individual, paramedics should be called to the scene before deploying a stun gun.
Landry said Nova Scotia is the first province in the country to spell out when a Taser should be used on someone who may be mentally ill.
Officials with the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia are pleased.
"These guidelines direct the officer to make the best possible decision as to whether or not this individual... actually is affected by a mental illness and in crisis," said Stephen Ayer, the executive director of the society.
Ayer said the key to the new rules is proper training and awareness.
Stronger Guidelines for Conducted Energy Weapons
Nova Scotia Guidelines on Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs)
Conducted Energy Weapons (CEW) Fact Sheet (PDF)