Citing public opposition, San Francisco’s police chief said Wednesday that the department will not move forward with a proposal to equip some officers with stun guns.

Chief Greg Suhr made the announcement at a Police Commission meeting at City Hall, saying there would be too many restrictions on officers using Tasers or other stun guns.

Last August, Suhr had asked the commission to approve a pilot program in which certain officers who have undergone crisis intervention training would be armed with the devices.

However, a series of community meetings earlier this year brought recommendations from the public on stun guns’ use that Suhr thought would be too restrictive.

“Not adjacent to traffic, not on the elderly, small, thin or at-risk,” Suhr said. “The constraints put on the officers were so onerous that they would be reticent to use the Tasers at all.”

Elsewhere

Police Chief Greg Suhr drops stun gun plan[Chron]
SF police withdraws its request to use stun guns [FOX2]
San Francisco police chief withdraws Tasers plan [ABC7]
San Francisco Police Chief Withdraws Stun Gun Proposal Amid Opposition [KCBS]

He said, “There’s no reason to have it if you aren’t going to use it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups opposed the Taser proposal, arguing that the devices are too dangerous and are often used unnecessarily.

The idea had also been viewed warily by some members of the Police Commission.

Commissioner Suzy Loftus said at Wednesday night’s meeting that shelving the proposal “is the right path moving forward.”

The devices are used by nearly every major police department in the country, as well as the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which has had Tasers since 2002.

Similar proposals to allow San Francisco police to carry stun guns also stalled at Police Commission meetings in 2010 and 2011.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • The mere mention of TASER, TASER, TASER must somehow send a special signal to the Chicken Little advocates in the Bay Area as THREE different police administrations in a row have been denied even the opportunity to test TASER technology!

    However, the community has spoken. While critics are resoundingly encouraged by
    this action, is this really a win for the great city of San Francisco?

    As I was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, “In reality, the activists have won a step back to the Stone Age in modern policing by preferring pain compliance & batons to beat dangerous subjects into submission instead of using a safer, more effective & accountable response to resistance.”

    Sadly in another article citing Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness said, “We’re very excited, we think they made the right decision. They’re going to save lives by not using Tasers.”

    How sad is it that a critic can say they’re going to save lives WITHOUT TASER CEWS? Isn’t it a shame that the technology wasn’t even allowed to be put to the test to prove or disprove that TASER technology was an advancement forward in safety,
    effectiveness & accountability. Imagine if it had the same results worldwide in which thousands of agencies saw use of force drop while reducing injuries to officers & suspects. Had it failed, the SFPD would have scraped the program.

    Instead, the SFPD is left without the opportunity to prove or disprove the success of TASER technology.

    Can you name another less lethal tool that has been studied more (try to find multiple human studies from PubMed on baton strikes, impact munitions, OC, fists, kicks, & punches), & you won’t find any of the tools that SFPD uses with any accountability means as our TASER with cameras & its secure Dataport downloads that are independent witnesses to the time, date & duration of each use or the effectiveness of stopping an escalation of force.

    I think we can all agree that beating someone into submission isn’t the answer. So, what’s up on deck next? Bean bag rounds, perhaps. Is this what was won: Shooting bean bags (akin to being hit by a Randy Johnson fastball) at dangerous suspects? Any cameras on those as you’ll really want to see what happens when that occurs for accountability & transparency. Any computer chips that record the time, date & duration on those or on any of those items listed a-f above? Nada

    Did the community really speak out? Of course, that’s the right & proper thing to do as a nation dedicated to public discourse.

    Can’t we trust the men & women in blue that protect & serve San Francisco with TASER CEWs that already have guns? I find it hard to believe that the vast
    majority of San Franciscans are jumping for joy that they are among one of only
    a handful (I mean this literally) of major cities in the U.S. that have not deployed TASER devices to save lives & protect officers.

    I know this sounds like sour milk (it even does to me), but it’s hard to say congratulations when a potential alternative to save lives, reduce injuries to suspects & officers wasn’t even at least tried.

    The sky is not falling but I can tell you that going back to the Stone Age is no accomplishment to be proud of today.

  • The mere mention of TASER, TASER, TASER must somehow send a special signal to the Chicken Little advocates in the Bay Area as THREE different police administrations in a row have been denied even the opportunity to test TASER technology!

    However, the community has spoken. While critics are resoundingly encouraged by
    this action, is this really a win for the great city of San Francisco?

    As I was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, “In reality, the activists have won a step back to the Stone Age in modern policing by preferring pain compliance & batons to beat dangerous subjects into submission instead of using a safer, more effective & accountable response to resistance.”

    Sadly in another article citing Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness said, “We’re very excited, we think they made the right decision. They’re going to save lives by not using Tasers.”

    How sad is it that a critic can say they’re going to save lives WITHOUT TASER CEWS? Isn’t it a shame that the technology wasn’t even allowed to be put to the test to prove or disprove that TASER technology was an advancement forward in safety,
    effectiveness & accountability. Imagine if it had the same results worldwide in which thousands of agencies saw use of force drop while reducing injuries to officers & suspects. Had it failed, the SFPD would have scraped the program.

    Instead, the SFPD is left without the opportunity to prove or disprove the success of TASER technology.

    Can you name another less lethal tool that has been studied more (try to find multiple human studies from PubMed on baton strikes, impact munitions, OC, fists, kicks, & punches), & you won’t find any of the tools that SFPD uses with any accountability means as our TASER with cameras & its secure Dataport downloads that are independent witnesses to the time, date & duration of each use or the effectiveness of stopping an escalation of force.

    I think we can all agree that beating someone into submission isn’t the answer. So, what’s up on deck next? Bean bag rounds, perhaps. Is this what was won: Shooting bean bags (akin to being hit by a Randy Johnson fastball) at dangerous suspects? Any cameras on those as you’ll really want to see what happens when that occurs for accountability & transparency. Any computer chips that record the time, date & duration on those or on any of those items listed a-f above? Nada

    Did the community really speak out? Of course, that’s the right & proper thing to do as a nation dedicated to public discourse.

    Can’t we trust the men & women in blue that protect & serve San Francisco with TASER CEWs that already have guns? I find it hard to believe that the vast
    majority of San Franciscans are jumping for joy that they are among one of only
    a handful (I mean this literally) of major cities in the U.S. that have not deployed TASER devices to save lives & protect officers.

    I know this sounds like sour milk (it even does to me), but it’s hard to say congratulations when a potential alternative to save lives, reduce injuries to suspects & officers wasn’t even at least tried.

    The sky is not falling but I can tell you that going back to the Stone Age is no accomplishment to be proud of today.