Cop Watch

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Too much Taser?

Since the Joplin Police Department began using Tasers in the spring of 2003, officers have fired them at suspects 88 times, or an average of about five times a month.

That's comparable with the rate in at least one similar-sized city, but higher than that in some other cities that are Joplin's size or larger. Two Joplin officers are responsible for 41 percent of all Taser firings since the city approved their use.

Capable of delivering 50,000 volts from more than 20 feet away, Tasers can stop a suspect cold. That has made them the weapon of choice for some officers and police departments.

Despite their popularity, the electroshock weapons have come under criticism from groups such as Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union. They argue that Tasers have caused deaths of dozens of people, and that more research is needed on their safety.