Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lawrence Police Department report of Taser usage released

March 2, 2011


From swords to infected blood, Lawrence police officers had multiple reasons to deploy their Tasers in 2010, according to a new report from City Hall.

They also had a couple of reasons to get a little additional training with the devices as well.

New police chief Tarik Khatib delivered his first annual report on Taser usage to city commissioners on Tuesday, and said a 3-year-old program to add Tasers to the department had been a success.

“Tasers really do help us take people into custody who are becoming aggressive or physically combative,” Khatib said. “A lot of times in that situation (without Tasers) we would have to go hands on or roll around on the ground with the suspect. That’s not a good situation either for the officer or the person we’re trying to apprehend.”

In 2010, Lawrence police officers used their Tasers on suspects eight times. That’s up from two times in 2009. The department found all eight incidents to be justified and within the department’s policy, but Khatib said three of the instances perhaps could have been avoided by using a different philosophy. Khatib ordered additional Taser training for all police officers to review the department’s philosophy that Tasers are best used to prevent a physical attack on an officer or other person rather than simply as a tool to apprehend someone who is resisting arrest.

“We found all of them to be legal and within our policy, but we thought perhaps other methods could have been used in three of these cases,” Khatib said.

The three cases were:

• April 6, when a police sergeant attempted to use the Taser to stop a passenger who was suspected in an aggravated robbery case from fleeing on foot from a vehicle.

• May 4, when police officers used a Taser on a driver of a vehicle twice after the driver, who was suspected of reckless driving and had attempted to allude police, refused to exit his car.

• June 2, when officers use the Taser on an individual suspected of domestic violence. The individual ran from police and eventually went back into his trailer house where he grabbed his mother and used her as a shield between himself and the officers. An officer eventually got behind the individual and used a Taser to get him to release the woman.

The other five cases that officers used Tasers were:

• Jan. 21, when officers used a Taser on a man who brandished a sword. Officers were checking on the welfare of the man when he emerged from his room with a sword and refused to put it down after being ordered to do so several times.

• Jan. 23, when officers used a Taser on an individual who became suicidal while being transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital via ambulance. The individual pulled a knife and held it to his stomach and then began slashing his leg.

• March 7, when officers used a Taser on a suspect who brandished a gun and began chasing a car on foot. The suspect became cornered in a parking lot, and when told to show his hands reached inside his jacket pocket.

• May 8, when officers responded to a suicidal person at LMH’s emergency room who had been found in need of involuntary commitment to a state mental hospital. The patient had deep cuts on his arms and removed the bandages and begun bleeding on the floor. He announced that he had a highly contagious blood disease and made statements that he was willing to infect officers and others if they tried to take him to the state hospital. Officers used a Taser on the individual after he could not be convinced to allow medial personal to reapply the bandages.

• Sept. 16, when an officer used a Taser twice after an individual suspected of driving while intoxicated struck an officer in the head and then continued to flee on foot. The first use of the Taser was ineffective. Officers used the Taser again when the suspect began to hit the officer again.

The annual Taser report is required by City Manager David Corliss as part of the police department’s Taser policy. Corliss said he approved of the report’s findings and also said he was approving $14,000 in purchases that will add 16 new Tasers to the department’s supply.


littlexav 7 years ago

and "medial" should be "medical"

Richard Payton 7 years ago

me dial 911 for medical how bout U! New football chant?

who_said_it 7 years ago

A good percentage of the LPD officers are on a power trip

Liberty275 7 years ago

I've never seen any evidence of that. I've only been here since 97 though.

oldvet 7 years ago

In the years that I have lived in Lawrence I have had occassion to deal with about 10 different LPD patrol officers. I have never experienced anything but professional, polite, courteous behavior from them. Maybe it helps that I am polite, courteous and respectful towards them during those encounters...

BlackVelvet 7 years ago

what kind of behavior are you displaying that has caused you to interact with "a good percentage of the LPD officers"?

stevebrighton 7 years ago

I would like to reiterate what the others have said...As a business owner for 10 years in Lawrence and also a rowdy KU grad prior to that, in my younger years, I had the opportunity to interact with numerous LPD officers during my bar escapades. Every single one of them treated me fair and professional. It seems like society expects police officers to kiss their as* while performing their duties, especially here in Lawrence. They have a job to do, a very tough one at that, and I expect them to be firm, fair, and professional, which I have come to see in my interaction.

As a business owner, I have had the opportunity to interact with several of the downtown beat officers over the years. I can say that each situation was courteous and my expectations were fully met with professionalism.

Amy Heeter 7 years ago

I don't like tasers but I guess it is better then shooting like in the Greg Seveir case.

Dec84 7 years ago

I no longer live in Larryville, but have been told by some of my Police buddies that the difference between Tasering and Shooting is who completes the after action report.

RoeDapple 7 years ago Rated as the 10th most dangerous job in America on this site, I would argue that most other jobs, even those with higher death rates, are dangerous mostly due to human error/natural causes. Law enforcement officers potentially face injury, hospitalization, even death with every encounter every day they are on the job. Power trip? Maybe some, just like any job, but most just want to do their job to the best of their ability and go home to their families at the end of the day. Many times an officer must make split second decisions as to how to handle emotional situations with citizens on their OWN power trip due to drug, alcohol, anger, etc. issues. Don't want to get tazered/pepper sprayed? Cooperate. If you are cited for a traffic infraction, present your evidence to the judge. Believe it or not, sometimes charges get dropped. Got a little weed tucked between the seats? Tell him so. A simple misdemeanor charge can rapidly escalate to more serious felony charges if you lie, argue, fight or flee. I'm sure the usual whiners will be here soon to cry about LPD officers being "dirty". My old grandaddy used to say, "Those that pray the loudest got the most sins to hide."

oldvet 7 years ago

The police officer on the street has about 2 seconds to make a decision and take action which will result in six years of court litigation and be decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision...

purplesage 7 years ago

allude / elude

I noticed it, too, soap; it is a different word, sort of like accept / except, e.g..

Ceallach 7 years ago

Power Trip? Not true. They are tasked to enforce the law, period. I prefer the John Spartan model to the Andy Taylor type.

They have tremendous responsibilities, and as previously stated, have little time to make decisions that may be scrutinized over a long period of time. I've lived in Lawrence for many years and have always found the LPD to be courteous, fair-minded and professional.

BlackVelvet 7 years ago

waiting for the obligatory Smitty rant....................................

Hong_Kong_Phooey 7 years ago

Really? People are accusing the officers of power trips? Most officers respond to at least 10 calls per shift (not including traffic stops), and with about 12 officers on a shift, that's around 120 calls per day and 43,800 calls per year. In other words, that's less than 1/10 of 1% of all calls. Yep, such blatant abuse of power should be severely punished...

p.s. in reality, the dude with the sword should have been shot, not tased.

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