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Archive for Saturday, December 25, 2004

Nebraska union probes stun-gun use

December 25, 2004

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— The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska is investigating law enforcement policies on use of electronic stun guns to subdue suspects.

The guns are designed as nonlethal force, but ACLU of Nebraska executive director Tim Butz said he had fielded complaints from defense attorneys in Omaha and Hastings that some police officers might be using the guns more frequently than is necessary.

Butz said he had concerns about policies that put stun guns on the same level with pepper spray. Stun guns can be lethal when combined with drug use or heart conditions.

Butz said he would like law enforcement agencies to place the guns just under use of deadly force, making them more of a last resort for officers.

On the use of force continuum, the Hastings Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff's Office puts stun guns on the same level as pepper spray.

Hastings Police Chief Larry Thoren said he has received no complaints about use of the stun guns.

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