The last of three community meetings held by the San Francisco Police Commission on a proposal to equip some police officers with Tasers or stun guns is taking place tonight in the city’s Bayview District.

Police Chief Greg Suhr last August asked the commission to approve a pilot program in which crisis intervention-trained officers would be armed with Tasers or stun guns.

The Police Commission has delayed a decision on the use of the devices until the series of public meetings on the issue has wrapped up.

Tonight’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House at 4705 Third St.
Suhr has said the stun guns could allow officers to subdue potentially dangerous or mentally unstable suspects without having to use lethal force, citing a July 2012 incident in which an officer fatally shot a man armed with a box cutter who lunged at her.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups have opposed the proposal, saying the devices are too dangerous and that police should instead focus on fully implementing its crisis intervention program established in February 2011 that focuses on de-escalation strategies.

Police say that under the proposed pilot program, the officers carrying the stun guns would face many restrictions on their use and would also be required to have a defibrillator nearby.

The Police Commission could reconsider the proposal anytime after today’s meeting, but has not yet scheduled the item on an upcoming agenda.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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