Archive for Monday, March 2, 2009

Police want to certify more officers to use Tasers

The Lawrence Police Department would like to expand their deployment of Taser guns.

March 2, 2009


After using Taser guns eight times to subdue people last year, Lawrence police are seeking to expand their deployment of the weapons.

In a recently released report to city commissioners, Police Chief Ron Olin said a nine-month trial period with Tasers -- which deliver an electric jolt to bring down unruly people -- has been "very successful."

About 20 officers went through training to use Tasers - the department initially purchased 10 - but Olin is recommending more officers be certified to carry them.

In a supplement to the report, Sgt. Stephen Zarnowiec detailed the eight circumstances which prompted officers to use Tasers between March 25 and Dec. 31, 2008:

- April 19: A Taser was deployed at The Ranch, 2515 W. Sixth, to break up a beating.

- April 19 : An officer used a Taser on a fleeing suspect who was resisting arrest along Kansas Highway 10.

- June 1: A Taser was used against a man who was attacking an officer outside Club Axis, 821 Iowa.

- June 18: A Taser was used to control an intoxicated person who was resisting arrest in the 2300 block of Belle Crest Drive, near 25th and Alabama streets.

- July 12: An officer used a Taser to break up a fight near 14th and Ohio.

- July 20: An officer used a Taser on a suspect who wasn't complying with orders at a home near 28th Street and Kasold Drive.

- Aug. 30: An officer used a Taser on a man who was pushing and spitting at an officer and not complying with orders near Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

- Sept. 21: An officer used his Taser three times on a man who was resisting arrest during an out-of-control party at a home in the 1200 block of Ohio Street.

"All of these Taser uses were the result of officers lawfully intervening in physical violence against another member of the public or police officer," Zarnowiec said in his Taser usage report.

Of the people who were tased, all were men, seven were between the ages of 19 and 25, and one was 53, said Scott Miller, staff attorney.

Miller said the city's received no complaints as a result of Taser use.

Each time a Taser is used, a mandatory internal review takes place, a procedure that would continue under Olin's recommendation to expand Taser deployment, which will be reviewed by city commissioners during their meeting at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

In his memo, the police chief said he’d like to have additional officers trained on the weapons. The memo does not say whether the chief would like to purchase additional Tasers for the department.

Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Cory said Monday that it would be “inappropriate” to discuss the department’s request before it is presented to commissioners.


Danimal 9 years ago

Sweet, I have no problems with this. LPD is using Tasers in a responsible manner when the only other option is using mace, which doesn't always work and with the slightest wind maces the entire area, or drawing their weapon. I think every officer should be allowed to carry as many Tasers as they want, provided they are trained of course.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Nothing like a few Tasers and a little pepper spray to liven up a party!

Omegatron 9 years ago

"I love the sound of teaser fire in the morning."

planetwax 9 years ago

The wanton misuse of Tasers by officers concern me more than the use of guns. They have been involved in more than 300 unnecessary deaths since being instituted. Their perceived safety is overstated, in my opinion. Take a look at this article:,1299,DRMN_15_5632116,00.html

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Can their certification involve telling them it's more than just a magic falling down device?

WHY 9 years ago

Strange I remember a story about Lawrence police tasering a guy downtown for not putting his beer down. Spin is everything when it comes to reporting a story.

tellthetruth 9 years ago

WHY- If the incident you are referring to was during the National Championship, it wasn't an LPD officer that did the tasing. It was a KHP.

WHY 9 years ago

Good to know. Either way we might want a view of the events leading up to all of these taserings from the perspective of someone other than the guy holding the taser.

tellthetruth 9 years ago

WHY- From the perspective of the other guy, I think that I'd rather be tased than shot.

I'm totally in favor of giving officers equipment that will help them do their jobs more safely. Imagine someone coming at you with a knife. Give the officers a way to defend themselves besides putting their lives in danger or shooting someone. These people put their lives on the line everyday. I think the least we could do is give them a taser.

FenixKS 9 years ago

Better a tingle than a bullet hole.
Ever since Stephanie Plum started using a taser, I've been a fan of them. =)

Omegatron 9 years ago

"Of the people who were tased, all were men, seven were between the ages of 19 and 25, and one was 53, said Scott Miller, staff attorney.

Miller said the city's received no complaints as a result of Taser use."

If I was on that commission, I'd wait til an officer used it to break up a cat fight before I'd consider further deployment...

FenixKS 9 years ago

No one breaks up a cat fight, they're too entertaining.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

"Miller said the city's received no complaints as a result of Taser use.”

Heck no, at least not while the officer still had the Taser in his hand!

The odds of a "law abiding" citizen being Tasered are less likely than winning the lottery

woodenfleaeater 9 years ago

I think the citizens of Lawrence should all be required to wear shock collars.

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

Seems like Bars, alcohol, and tasers seem to be related. Maybe I should quit drinking...... nope I'll just drink at home and get my butt knocked off by the toaster.

throatwobbler 9 years ago

Tasers have never been the cause of death for anyone. They have been used immediately prior to death, but have never been found to be the actual cause (cocaine, meth, suffocation, etc. have usually been the case) Luckily we have a pathologist for a coroner and his objectivity will over rule any media spin labeling the Taser as killing someone.

HermioneElliott 9 years ago

Sounds like the guy who refused to put his beer down was behaving like a two year old defying authority. I could never be a police officer and deal with people being deliberately obnoxious and then daring you to do something about it. My emotional response would be to just taser the s.o.b.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Everyone deserves the right to go home when the work day is over. Being a cop is no different. If "breaking a sweat" means taking the risk that a belligerent stranger with unknown abilities or advantages could injure or kill, then on the side of the officer looking out for himself I say, "Tase him first, work out the details later." It's all too easy to sit here at our keyboards and second guess something we have little or no experience with.

And if you do have a "run in" with a policeman who is a little quick on the trigger, wouldn't you rather it was pepper spray or Taser, and not his firearm? "

Fatty_McButterpants 9 years ago

Apparently, censorship is hard at work at the LJ-World, so I'll post it again. Is it just me...or does that reporter look like he's perpetually surprised? And leaning as he speaks?

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Amnesty International claimed 156 deaths "after" use of tasers. Taser claims 9000 policemen lives saved by use of tasers. Most of these deaths were crime related. These 9000 police officers went home at the end of the day to their families, after doing the job we pay them for.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

"Police want to certify more officers to use Tasers"

A more accurate headline would read, "Police want to ensure that someone dies needlessly from the indiscriminate use of Tasers"

FenixKS 9 years ago

Woah. Get a look at that cop's bicep. drool drool

Hoots 9 years ago

As for the idiot who wouldn't put down his beer he got less than he had coming. If the KHP hadn't Tased him the altercation could have easily turned into a riot. I was downtown during the last few games and I was worried something stupid would happen.

I would much rather get tased than the alternatives of being shot or beaten with a battan. Seems most of the deaths I have read about related to tasers had everything to do with what the person ingested prior to freaking out and needing a good tasing.

WHY 9 years ago

Hoots. I worked security in down town Lawrence for years and I have taken hundreds of beers away from people without a taser, I just take it. But then again I am smarter than any cop working in this town.

labmonkey 9 years ago

Lawrence police, especially the campus deserve to be called "bacon." The less power you give them, the better because they tend to abuse whatever power they do have. Anytime they have needed real law enforcement, like after Final Four wins, I have seen more KHP officers (who I would trust much more than a LPD officer anyday) on Mass. Street. Don't give these a-holes tasers.

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