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Tasers – alternative to death by cop

By John Hargreaves 1 October 2014 28

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When I was in the Assembly, as a minister for these sorts of things, I wanted to do a trial to see if TASERs were an effective alternative to firearms.

The Liberal Opposition was vehemently opposed to the whole idea saying that the TASERs would kill more people from heart attacks than the conventional weapons carried by front line police officers.

I wanted to take the advice of the police themselves and also the interstate experience.

In the end, a successor minister ok’d the carrying of TASERs by sergeants with the development of protocols to make sure that they were not abused.

Enter the Diving Champions of the Assembly in recent times. Double backflip with pike!

The Libs now want all front line police officers to carry TASERs. Heavens, they are difficulty to predict and to work with in the interests of community safety.

My position though, is akin to those who want the firearms taken from police. The use of lethal force is really unnecessary in this town. There are other ways of subduing people if need be.

My position is drawn from the experience of a good mate of mine who lived in Chapman and was shot by police during a mental health episode. If the police had TASERs he would not be paraplegic now.

Word limits don’t allow me to go into this into much detail but I feel two frustrations. The first is that the Libs could have been more helpful earlier and not just grandstanding and the second is that I foresee the time when another person is killed or crippled unnecessarily in this town.

TASERs do have the potential to kill but they are not as guaranteed as a Glock! In the hands of the wrong and untrained they can be lethal some of the time. But Glocks have the potential to be lethal all of the time.

I just don’t reckon the level of crime in Canberra justifies the carrying of weapons by police everywhere, including to schools and in shopping centres.

Thoughts?

What’s Your opinion?


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28 Responses to
Tasers – alternative to death by cop
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milkman 7:06 am 07 Oct 14

Not sure what the problem is with having police carry firearms. I’ve never seen a cop get one out and wave it about.

They have a difficult job and lots of people like to criticise. Give them the tools they need. If some mong is attacking them with a weapon they need to shut down the situation quickly and safely. If that means said mong gets shot and killed, so be it.

dungfungus 2:12 pm 03 Oct 14

HenryBG said :

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

While I agree with most of this post, I need to advise that the whole incident with the guy in Chapmen took 42 seconds from “offender” threat to shooting. I have a copy of the police incident report. I, personally, couldn’t make the decision to shoot in that time unless I was conditioned to it. I feel for the officers and think that hey should not have been placed in this position.

The lefties want the loonies “living in the community”, but when the inevitable happens, it’s the cops that get called in to deal with it, not the healthcare community.
The cops are there for law enforcement and to protect members of our society from harm, not to conduct long drawn-out negotiations with irrational people who refuse to comply with lawful directions.

42 seconds is a *very* long time when you’re faced with a threat of violence, and the cop who shot Crowley was entitled to make that decision when faced with a violent offender refusing to follow directions.

If sick people are incapable of obeying the law, they should be kept safely in a controlled environment not unleashed on society, and the cops are absolutely not at fault for this situation developing. As it does on a daily basis.

A huge proportion of the prison population consists of people who became criminals as a result of mental illness. Had the health system dealt with them competently and responsibly, they would not be criminals and they would not be in prison.

That is the most sensible comment on this issue yet. It is proven by history also.

Antagonist 12:57 pm 03 Oct 14

gazket said :

How insightful! I’ll bet you are a qualified psychologist too. How have the UK police managed without firearms for 80+ years, I wonder?

The UK police have guns, to say they don’t is very fanciful .

While I am loath to rely on anything from Wikipedia, here goes anyway: “British police officers are not routinely armed.[1] Instead, they rely on specially trained Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO) to attend incidents where firearms might be needed.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_police_firearms_in_the_United_Kingdom

Not routinely armed. And given the size of the municipality that is the ACT, I don’t see that we need police to be ‘routinely armed’ either.

When you quoted me, you conveniently disregarded this bit, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it: “Perhaps an approach might be to limit access to firearms, OC Spray and tasers to officers of certain rank and/or amount of experience? Not just some wet behind the ears junior officer just out of police college who panics in civic at the sound of a sparrows fart 1km away, something I have personally been exposed to as a sober and innocent bystander?”

HenryBG 11:14 am 03 Oct 14

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

While I agree with most of this post, I need to advise that the whole incident with the guy in Chapmen took 42 seconds from “offender” threat to shooting. I have a copy of the police incident report. I, personally, couldn’t make the decision to shoot in that time unless I was conditioned to it. I feel for the officers and think that hey should not have been placed in this position.

The lefties want the loonies “living in the community”, but when the inevitable happens, it’s the cops that get called in to deal with it, not the healthcare community.
The cops are there for law enforcement and to protect members of our society from harm, not to conduct long drawn-out negotiations with irrational people who refuse to comply with lawful directions.

42 seconds is a *very* long time when you’re faced with a threat of violence, and the cop who shot Crowley was entitled to make that decision when faced with a violent offender refusing to follow directions.

If sick people are incapable of obeying the law, they should be kept safely in a controlled environment not unleashed on society, and the cops are absolutely not at fault for this situation developing. As it does on a daily basis.

A huge proportion of the prison population consists of people who became criminals as a result of mental illness. Had the health system dealt with them competently and responsibly, they would not be criminals and they would not be in prison.

gazket 11:11 am 03 Oct 14

How insightful! I’ll bet you are a qualified psychologist too. How have the UK police managed without firearms for 80+ years, I wonder?

The UK police have guns, to say they don’t is very fanciful .

John Hargreaves Ex MLA 9:50 pm 02 Oct 14

LSWCHP said :

ScienceRules said :

neanderthalsis said :

My position though, is akin to those who want the firearms taken from police. The use of lethal force is really unnecessary in this town. There are other ways of subduing people if need be.

There have been cases in other jurisdictions where multiple uses of tasers and CS spray has failed to subdue a violent individual and lethal force has been employed. There is, of course, always the option of taking a non-lethal disabling shot to subdue an individual.

I do support all coppers having a variety of means to do their jobs effectively, if this means all officers having tasers, glocks and pick handles; then so be it.

No, “taking a non-lethal disabling shot…” is never an option. Not here or anywhere else in the country either.

Correct. I’ve been using firearms regularly for nearly 35 years, including competitive handgun shooting. Anybody who believes the Hollywood nonsense about shooting to wound etc etc simply doesn’t know how hard it is to hit something with a pistol, even under ideal circumstances. And following on from that, if you do hit something with your handgun, the results are *far* less effective in real life than what you’ll see depicted in the movies.

So….any attempt by a police officer to shoot to wound will most likely result in nothing more than a really p$ssed off opponent and a dead cop.

And in the Chapman shooting case that John mentioned, the individual involved was a very large man having a violent psychotic episode and armed with a martial arts training stick. He’d beaten one officer to the ground and knocked a baton from the hands of the officer who eventually shot him. A Taser might’ve been an option at the time, but if it didn’t work then without a firearm that officer would probably be dead.

The police have taken a fairly large number of illegal firearms off the streets in the last couple of years, but I have no doubt that there are a lot more out there. Just because they haven’t been used yet doesn’t mean that they might not be used tomorrow.

The ACT police do a great job under very difficult circumstances, so I’m quite happy to see them armed with handguns or whatever firearms they want.

While I agree with most of this post, I need to advise that the whole incident with the guy in Chapmen took 42 seconds from “offender” threat to shooting. I have a copy of the police incident report. I, personally, couldn’t make the decision to shoot in that time unless I was conditioned to it. I feel for the officers and think that hey should not have been placed in this position.

Antagonist 9:29 pm 02 Oct 14

Tooks said :

Antagonist said :

Postalgeek said :

No cop should have to face an armed offender with just a taser.

Just out of interest, and I ask this question seriously, how often do ACT police encounter ‘armed offenders’ – that is, offenders with firearms or samurai sword for example, not just a knife or shank? And how many of those situations could be dealt with by calling in a specialised armed response unit, which I am pretty sure we have already? And finally, does that number justify police carrying firearms through places like the Hyperdome Food Court while the police are out getting their lunch?

Hahaha ‘just’ a knife or shank..which can easily kill a person. You are clueless. Absolutely clueless. You’re one of these poor little petals intimidated by police walking around properly armed. Thankfully civil libetarians like you who have never had to face an armed or violent offender in your life have no say as to what police can carry. Otherwise they’d be carrying a radio and a white flag.

Armchair experts. FMD.

How insightful! I’ll bet you are a qualified psychologist too. How have the UK police managed without firearms for 80+ years, I wonder?

Perhaps an approach might be to limit access to firearms, OC Spray and tasers to officers of certain rank and/or amount of experience? Not just some wet behind the ears junior officer just out of police college who panics in civic at the sound of a sparrows fart 1km away, something I have personally been exposed to as a sober and innocent bystander?

Antagonist 9:22 pm 02 Oct 14

Tooks said :

Antagonist said :

justin heywood said :

Who would be a copper? When it all hits the fan, we expect them to come and deal with it. Huge drunken brawlers, half mad ice-addicts, assorted crazies with unknown weapons hidden or at hand, etc etc.

We expect the cops to sort out these dangerous situations on our behalf. Yet some here, who are at no risk themselves, think that THEY should decide what tools they need to do it.

Give them what they need. If they abuse the power, deal with it then.

Without turning this into a cop bashing session (they do a good job, and a dangerous one at that) remind us all what happened to the officer that used OC spray on a chained up dog while his cop mates cheered and filmed it on their phones? And you want to give these people a taser now?

So based on the actions of one, all police should suffer? Can’t say I agree with your line of thought there. As far as cops wearing personal cameras, I’ll give you the hot tip: crooks (and their lawyers) would hate and and claim it is a human rights or abuse of privacy issue. I’ll let you figure out why.

Actually, I am very much in favour of personal cameras for the protection of police and citizens. Bring it on I say.

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