Though the Police Commission may have agreed to allow SFPD to consider adding Tasers to their arsenal it appears that the SFPD may be too busy to do the work to get them approved, and too broke to afford them.
In a contentious, six-hour meeting last February, the San Francisco Police Commission voted 6-1 to allow the Police Department to look into the use of Tasers by officers, nearly a year after shooting down a similar proposal.
In March 2010, the commission voted 4-3 against a proposal by then-Police Chief George Gascon to study the use of Tasers by the department.
Three new members had been appointed to the commission since then, and then-interim Police Chief Jeff Godown was hopeful that the commission’s new makeup would result in a different approach to the Taser issue.
In the commission chambers, the Police Department reenacted a typical scenario that would require the use of a Taser, while other officers recounted dangerous incidents in which the devices could have helped take suspects into custody.
An opposing presentation, organized by Commissioner Angela Chan, had several experts outline the dangers of the less-than-lethal devices, which provide an electrical charge that they said can still cause serious injury or death and are frequently used unnecessarily.
Godown said the department would take a “thoughtful approach” to studying the use of Tasers and agreed to return to the commission to report its findings within 90 days.
However, as the Ex reports, budget cuts and the search for a permanent police chief soon occupied the Police Commission and the study never happened.
Not only did the study never happen, but now, police Sgt. Michael Andraychak tells the Ex, the SFPD can’t even afford Tasers.
Police Chief Greg Suhr “would like to have Tasers, but there’s no money right now,” he told the Ex. However, without the required study, SFPD could have all the money in the world and the plan won’t move forward.