REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Tasers in Minneapolis

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UPDATED: July 12, 2009
When should police be able to use tasers? What’s the current MPD policy and what changes are proposed?

Three new documents and a statement from Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) member Dave Bicking posted on 7/12/09:

Reasons for CRA Recommendation that CED (Taser) Policy be Explicitly Incorporated in the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual Approved at April 1, 2009 CRA Board meeting

CRA Quarterly Report – Taser section

Motions for CRA Board meeting, 3/04/09 (as passed, with amendment) Submitted by CRA Policy Committee

And from Dave Bicking
“It’s a lot to read, but I think much of it will be valuable, and frankly, shocking (bad pun). The police department has basically asserted that they will not accept any civilian control, input, or oversight into their policies. I have focused on the Taser policy, and so has the CRA, because it is one that is controversial, of public interest, and relatively easy to understand. The same problems exist for the entire Use of Force policy (section 5-300 of the Police Policy and Procedure Manual). That policy was also almost entirely rewritten on 8/17/07. But that policy is so extensive, and so complex, that it is much harder to wrap our minds around. We are just volunteers with limited time and resources.

“But the whole Use of Force policy is much more important than just the Taser section. Hopefully we can start work on that at some time. It just seems best to use this Taser policy as a “test case” to see how we can have an impact. IF we can have an impact.”

We have received lots of contributions to the Reporter’s Notebook, and are working to get them on-line so you can see them and respond. Keep those comments and documents coming!

The Notebook is getting long—here are some links to navigate through it:

The Story
What’s at stake
The MPD Response
The Community Response
Background
How can citizens respond?
Help us report this story
The MPD Taser Timeline

The Story
The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) is holding a forum on July 15 addressing the Minneapolis Police Department´s Taser policy. The forum is in response to the MPD changing their 2006 policy on Tasers for the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual. The MPD revised its entire Use of Force policy in the MPD manual in 2007 without consulting City Council, and the CRA is proposing that they change it back. (The CRA is made up of citizens appointed by the Mayor and City Council who investigate complaints against any Minneapolis Police Officer.)

The CRA’s demands

In April, the CRA recommended to MPD that they change the Taser policy back to the form it was in prior to 8/17/07. (Tasers are formally referred to in the CRA and MPD documents as “Conducted Energy Device” or CED.) Their recommendation included two aspects:

1. That the substance of the Conducted Energy Device (CED) policy be the same as that which was established on April 14, 2006.

2. That the CED policy be stated explicitly in the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual, without need for reference to training.


The reasons for the first aspect of the recommendation were that the former policy was still valid, that it had been written in a transparent manner with “opportunities for public comment and input” and was made by consulting all interested city departments.

By contrast, the CRA asserted that “the change to the text of the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual on 8/17/07 was made without consultation with, or even notification to, most of the interested and affected parties.” CRA also said they recommended switching back to the 2006 policy because it contains specific wording such as “Only one officer should activate a Taser against a person at a time” as opposed to more complex guidelines. The CRA’s recommendation said that words like “reasonableness” used in the newer policy, leads to “wide variations in application from officer to officer.”

The reasons CRA gave for the second aspect of their recommendation, to not include references to training were: greater transparency, public reassurance, verifiability, consistency and easier version control. Also, CRA felt that relying on the policy itself rather than references to training would aid CRA and Internal Affairs to provide oversight and accountability. “It is much more difficult to verify current policy if it is contained in a variety of training manuals, rather than in one comprehensive document,” the recommendation stated.

The MPD Response

In June, the MPD responded to the recommendation with a refusal. The response stated that the new Taser policy includes procedures for administering medical aid to citizens who had been affected by a Taser that the 2006 policy lacked.

The MPD also wrote that while it values the need for transparency, “transparency must sometimes yield to ensuring the safety of officers and citizens.” The MPD’s statement said that documenting specific law enforcement techniques and technical procedures “increases the risk of harm to officers and citizens.” It also assured the CRA that the use of Tasers would be “consistent with national standards, best practices and guidelines established by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).” Finally, the MPD’s response to CRA’s complaint that the change in policy came about without consulting other city departments was that “waiting until all interested entities have an opportunity to provide input or feedback before policy is adopted is impractical and clearly outside the scope of the City Charter.”

In response to a request for comment on this article, Jesse Garcia, spokesperson for MPD, said that “Our changes have become more stringent to provide more training, better first aid, use of also integration of crisis intervention.” In response to the training manual’s language about officers taking into account the “totality of circumstance,” Garcia said: “all situations are pretty fluid.” He said that the new policy allows officer to change as the situation changes. “You can’t have a manual for every situation that may occur,” Garcia said.

The Community Response

Dave Bicking sent us the CRA timeline, and other documents.

Alia Trindle, now a Philadelphia resident wrote in to say she was tasered by the MPD on in Minneanpolis on Friday August 31st, 2007 during a Critical Mass bike ride. “I was not resisting arrest or showing any signs of hostility before, during, or after their tasering me,” Trindle wrote. “I was eventually charged with three misdemeanors and a gross misdemeanor, all of which were subsequently dropped before the case ever went to trial.” Part of Trindle’s defense rested on this video of the incident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_PpgVUraQQ. If you watch the video, you will notice that many of the bystanders are shouting “she’s not resisting!”

Charley Underwood wrote in to correct this article’s use of the term “non-lethal” weapon. “They are not,” he wrote. Underwood also shared this study by Amnesty International, which documented 152 deaths by tasers between June 2001 and mid-February 2006. Underwood wrote that there were 61 taser-caused deaths in 2005 alone. “Likely the numbers will be higher for the years since then, since taser use has been increasing during that time,” he said.

Underwood went on: “In some ways, death is not the worse outcome. Being tased while handcuffed, restrained and in police custody is becoming quite common. In that case, it cannot really be called an instrument of compliance. I truly cannot think of any accurate name to call that use except “torture.” The pain of taser death is finite, but the memory of repeated taser shocks by police often lasts for an entire lifetime.”

Background
(Posting of the Timeline: CRA MPD Taser Policy Timeline.doc): CRA provides this history of the use of Tasers by the MPD beginning in 2001 until the present. It has links to official documents regarding changes in MPD Taser policy, and includes the Taser policy as implemented in 2006 and the current Taser Policy
Committee Will Examine Police Taser Use examines the 2006 controversy and city council action.
Getting Tased, Part I and Getting Tased, Part II examine the experience of tasers, training videos, arguments for and against taser use, and deaths related to taser use.

How can citizens respond?
The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) will hold a public forum on MPD Taser policy, and whether changes to the policy should be made at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15 in Room 319 of City Hall, 350 S. 5th St. (use after-hours entrance: the center doors on 4th St. – north side of building)

Help us report this story
Have you been tased? Do you know someone who has? If you have information, or suggestions about who should be interviewed for this story, email sheila@tcdailyplanet.net.
Or click on the comment box below, submit an opinion article or blog post to the Daily Planet, or create a 2-3 minute video of your response and send us the embed code for your video on YouTube or BlipTV.
We want to hear from you!


The MPD Taser Timeline
MPD CED (Taser) Policy Timeline and Documentation
Approved at April 1, 2009 CRA Board meeting

2001: First purchase and use of Tasers (the exclusive brand of Conducted Energy Device (CED) used by the MPD). These were provided to members of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) shortly after its formation.

10/16/02: Publication of first MPD Taser policy of which we are aware, in MPD Policy and Procedure Manual, Section 5-318. Not currently available online. See text in Appendix A.

2003: 50 Tasers issued. 80 certified operators. 85 deployments.

7/31/03: Minor changes made to Taser policy in MPD Policy and Procedure Manual.

2004: 86 certified operators. 46 deployments.

9/17/04: Minor changes made to Taser policy in MPD Policy and Procedure Manual. Revised text not currently available online. See text in Appendix B. The text in Appendix B is believed to be the MPD Taser policy up until the changes made on 4/14/06 in response to CRA recommendations and City Council directive.

2005: 95 certified operators. 50 deployments.

2006: 167 certified operators. 232 deployments.

1/04/06: Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee (PS&RS) of City Council agenda includes a “Consent Item” #8: “Shocking Devices (Tasers): OP #6530, accept low bid meeting specifications of Uniforms Unlimited for furnishing shocking devices to the Police Department. (Refer to W&M/Budget)”
See agenda at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060113/psrs.asp

The staff report indicates that the purchase has been approved by Police Chief McManus, with the $163,000 cost being within the existing Police Department budget. The bid was for the purchase of 160 Tasers, model X26E, plus related equipment. The MPD indicated that 100 of the new Tasers would be used as replacements for 100 existing Model M26 Tasers. We are unaware of any previous action by City Council approving the purchase, or appropriating money for the purpose of purchasing Tasers.

This item was removed from the Consent Agenda for discussion, with the result:

“Postponed to February 15th Meeting; Public Hearing to be held (15 minutes). Staff directed to provide the following information:

a. Use of force policies in regard to taser technology

b. A review of active litigation in the United States regarding taser technology

c. Taser-related use of force complaints in Minneapolis to date

d. Taser use and policies in other police departments in the United States.”


This staff directive led to the formation of the CRA Taser Working Group, as well directing the MPD and the City Attorney to respond.

1/24/06: MPD releases “Conducted Energy Device (CED) Support Paper”, authored by Assistant Police Chief Tim Dolan (also acting chief at that time). Available online (but without appendices) at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060224/Docs/01_CED_Report_Paper.pdf

The paper supports the MPD use of CEDs and notes the current use of CEDs by about 100 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers. It asks for the City Council to “approve updating and expanding the deployment of CEDs in the Minneapolis Police Department.” It also notes that, “The key to reducing community fear about the CED abuses is good policy and oversight.”

2/01/06: The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA), at its regular board meeting, unanimously approves the recommendations of the CRA Taser Working Group.

2/07/06: The CRA releases its report, “Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority Taser Policy and Training Recommendations.” The body of the report is available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/docs/CRA_TaserRecommendations.pdf
The entire report, with cover letter and appendices (except the nonpublic Appendix D), can be accessed by following links at the bottom of the CRA webpage, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/

In their cover letter, the CRA summarizes its recommendations as follows:
• Place Tasers on the MPD’s use-of-force continuum

• Limit the use of Tasers on passive suspects

• Provide clear limits on Taser use on at-risk individuals

• Require officers to seek medical attention for persons who have been Tasered

• Require officers to wear their Tasers in a location below their service weapon or on the opposite side of their utility belt

• Develop appropriate department-specific training materials

• Offer Taser-awareness training to non-officers

• Continue mental health training for officers using Tasers

• Systematic download and archival of data chips

• Track Taser use and deployment trends


In making these recommendations, the CRA cites the following studies for support:
Appendix B: September 2005 Taser Study by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, titled, “Stun Gun Fallacy: How the Lack of Taser Regulation Endangers Lives”
Appendix C: October 25, 2005 report by Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), titled, “PERF Conducted Energy Device Policy and Training Guidelines for Consideration,” containing a model CED policy.

The CRA also refers to its own experiences with CED-related complaints.

2/14/06: City Attorney’s office issues a report titled, “Review of Litigation in United States regarding Conductive Energy Devices.” Available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060224/docs/CED-Report-Attorney.pdf

2/15/06: PS&RS Committee of the City Council holds public hearing on Taser purchase. Agenda at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060224/psrs.asp
Agenda has links to staff reports: Shocking Devices (Tasers) bid; Conducted Energy Devices (CED) paper [1/24/06 paper by MPD]; and CED Report – Attorney [2/14/06 report by City Attorney’s Office].

The Committee heard from Acting Chief Tim Dolan, the City Attorney’s office, and many members of the public. Dolan indicated during his testimony that the MPD was willing to accept and implement the policy recommendations of the CRA. After the hearing, the Committee unanimously approved the purchase of the Tasers.

2/24/06: Full City Council meeting unanimously passes Taser purchase, but with an amendment. Agenda is online at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060224/

Before the vote on the motion, an amendment was proposed and unanimously approved, noting the MPD’s acceptance of the CRA’s “Taser Policy and Training Recommendations”, and directing the MPD to make changes to the CED policy to reflect said recommendations. The text of the amendment and a record of the vote is included in the Official Proceedings of the City Council, pages 139 – 140 (pages 26 – 27 of the pdf file), available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060224/20060224-proceedings.pdf

The relevant text from those Proceedings is also reprinted in Appendix C of this report.

4/14/06: Revision is made to CED Policy in MPD Policy and Procedure Manual (Section 5-318). Revised text not currently available online. See text in Appendix D. The new policy is the result of the CRA recommendation and the City Council directive.

The change is made through an MPD Special Order #SO6-007, approved by Police Chief Tim Dolan, available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/about/mcu/SO-Taser1.pdf

The introduction of the Special Order says,

“The MPD believes that Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), in our case, the brand “Taser,” are an extremely useful less-lethal tool and wants to expand their use. The MPD has seen very good results with the Taser. They have saved lives and reduced injuries to officers. The good results are due to the sound judgment of our officers and the skilled training provided by the Training Unit.

The MPD has participated in and is endorsing the Police Executive Research Foundation’s (PERF) model policy on Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). The model policy requires that some modifications and additions be made to our existing policies; ensuring that the MPD has defendable policies and good oversight.

The Use of Force continuum mentioned in the following policy is not in our policy and procedure manual since it is a guideline based on law, our policy, and training protocols.”

2007: 437 Taser deployments.

5/02/07: MPD makes a presentation to the PS&RS Committee of the City Council. See agenda item #21 at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2007-meetings/20070511/psrs.asp
During this presentation, they express their goal to train and equip all uniform street patrol officers and sergeants with Model X26 Tasers in the next 2 – 3 years. They state that they currently have 207 Tasers deployed, and that they need to add 484. The above goal and data is contained in a Power Point presentation linked to on the agenda. It is also available at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2007-meetings/20070511/docs/Tasers-PowerPoint.pdf

That same Power Point shows an implementation timeline on pages 21 and 22. In year one (2007? – not specified), the MPD plans to train and equip 275 officers, recruits, and cadets. In year two (2008?), the MPD plans to train and equip 205 officers, recruits, and cadets. The associated cost figures clearly include the costs of purchasing the additional Tasers.

At the same Committee meeting, the MPD presented its report titled, “TASERs: Evaluation and Statistical Analysis.” It is linked to on the Committee agenda, or can be found online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2007-meetings/20070511/docs/Taser-evaluation.pdf
It contains a discussion of Taser usage and benefits, along with data from 2003 through 2006.

The only official Committee action at this meeting was to receive and file these reports. We are aware of no further City Council action on this topic. We also do not know to what extent the MPD has implemented the plans outlined in the Power Point.

8/17/07: MPD revises its entire Use of Force policy in the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual, including a revision to the CED policy (now renumbered Section 5-314). The revision substantially shortened the text of the CED policy, and added the directive that, “The use of CED’s shall be consistent with current MPD training.” There is nothing in the new text to indicate whether the policies in the current training referred to are or are not identical to the previous CED policies adopted on 4/14/06.

The revised text is available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/5-300/5-300.asp
[Note: the entire current Policy and Procedure Manual is online at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/ ]
The revised text is also included in Appendix E of this report for convenience.

The change is made through an MPD Special Order #SO7-041, approved by Assistant Police Chief Sharon Lubinski, available online at:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/about/mcu/UseofForcePolicy.pdf

The introduction of the Special Order says simply,

“The Use of Force policies have been updated to comply with current standards and reflect MPD policy/practice and training.”

Fall, 2007: The MPD prepares “MPD 2007 CED Recertification”, a CED recertification training outline. It is not available online. It appears to be for use after the 8/17/07 change to the CED policy, because it refers to that policy as being in Section 5-314 of the MPD Policy and Procedure Manual – the new numbering after the 8/17/07 change.

The following quotes from pages 6 and 8 of that document appear to indicate that there has been a substantive change to the MPD CED policy, and that at least some of the policy restrictions on CED deployment have been modified or removed:

“MPD Policy & Procedure Updates”
“New Use of Force Policy Changes”
“Notes: Policy – Explain that new policy gives the Officer more flexibility in the judgement and decision making areas during an incident. The Officer needs to use the ‘totality of circumstances’ factor to deploy the CED.”
“Why the change?”
“Advantages: Officer has more discression (sic) & is looked at by others with the ‘totality of circumstances’ at the time & the ‘reasonableness standards’ theories vs the strict Do’s and don’ts policy.”

We do not know to what extent this training outline has been used, nor whether it is current.

2008: 402 Taser deployments.


—- Report prepared by CRA Policy Committee, 3/04/09

Appendix A: Original Taser policy

5-318 USE OF TASERS (10/16/02)

(A-D)

Deployment of MPD-issued Tasers are considered non-deadly force. Deployment of MPD-issued Tasers is not meant to take the place of deadly force options and should not be used in deadly force situations without firearm backup (see Equipment section). Under normal circumstances, only CIT members are authorized to use MPD-issued Tasers. Officers need to consider any risks to the public or themselves.

A Taser may be used as follows:

When possible, the Taser should be directed at center mass of the body, i.e., to the subject’s back where clothes tend to be tighter.

The Taser shall not be aimed at the head or face.

Officers should announce over the radio that they are going to “Code Yellow.” It is important that, whenever possible, all officers involved and possible responding officers know that a Taser is being deployed so they don’t mistake the sight and noise from the Taser going off as a firearm discharge. Officers actually firing the Taser should yell “Code Yellow!” prior to and/or during firing. However, officers using Tasers must use their judgement to determine if a verbal warning of the Taser discharge is appropriate in each specific situation.

A supervisor shall respond to the scene where a Taser is being used or has been used.

Consideration should be given prior to Taser deployment in cases involving children, women who are known to be, or are obviously pregnant, and people with known heart problems. Other methods of control should be considered first in those cases unless unreasonable or too dangerous. Consideration should be given before deployment on individuals who are in an elevated position or in such a position where a fall could likely cause serious injury or death.

Electronic restraining devices including the Taser can ignite flammable substances. The Taser shall not be used on subjects who have come in contact with flammables or in areas where flammables are obviously present.

DUTIES AFTER DEPLOYMENT:

Once the subject is restrained or has complied, the Taser shall be turned off and wires disconnected.


[Appendix A, page 2]

Probes located in sensitive areas such as the face, neck, groin, and breast shall be removed by medical personnel. Probes located in other areas may be removed at the scene by officers at the direction of the on-scene supervisor. Officers removing Taser probes should practice universal precautions against bloodborne pathogens. If possible, officers will provide first aid following removal of the probes with alcohol/antiseptic wipes and adhesive bandages. Officers will ensure that proper medical care is provided to the subject.

Photographs should be taken of the probe sites. Once the probes have been removed, the probes shall be treated as biohazard “sharps” and placed point down into the expended cartridge and sealed with tape. The officer shall then place his/her initials and badge number on the tape.

Officers should attempt to locate any of the expended microdots that were dispersed during firing. The photographs, expended cartridge with probes, and microdots shall be property inventoried as evidence.

When the subject is turned over to detention or medical personnel, they shall be informed that a Taser was used.

Officers shall complete a CAPRS report titled, “Use of Force,” indicating the reason for its use and the method of application. See Section on Critical Incident Team (CIT) for further information.

(from http://web.archive.org/web/20030421042848/http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/5-300/5-300.asp Archived on 4/21/03. Original policy, before 7/31/03 changes)


Appendix B: Taser policy after 7/31/03 and 9/17/04 changes
5-318 USE OF TASERS (10/16/02)

(A-D)

Deployment of MPD-issued Tasers are considered non-deadly force. Deployment of MPD-issued Tasers is not meant to take the place of deadly force options and should not be used in deadly force situations without firearm backup (see Equipment section). Under normal circumstances, only CIT members are authorized to use MPD-issued Tasers. Officers need to consider any risks to the public or themselves.

A Taser may be used as follows:

The Taser may be used with or without the air cartridge. When using the Taser in the touch stun mode (without the air cartridge), it is necessary to place the Taser directly onto the body in order to maximize effectiveness. (09/17/04)

When possible, the Taser with air cartridge should be directed at center mass of the body, i.e., to the subject’s back where clothes tend to be tighter. (09/17/04)

The Taser shall not be aimed at the head or face.

Officers should announce over the radio that they are going to deploy the Taser. It is important that, whenever possible, all officers involved and possible responding officers know that a Taser is being deployed so they don’t mistake the sight and noise from the Taser going off as a firearm discharge. Officers actually firing the Taser should yell “TASER!” prior to and/or during firing. However, officers using Tasers must use their judgement to determine if a verbal warning of the Taser discharge is appropriate in each specific situation. (07/31/03)

A supervisor shall respond to the scene where a Taser is being used or has been used.

Consideration should be given prior to Taser deployment in cases involving children, women who are known to be, or are obviously pregnant, and people with known heart problems. Other methods of control should be considered first in those cases unless unreasonable or too dangerous. Consideration should be given before deployment on individuals who are in an elevated position or in such a position where a fall could likely cause serious injury or death.

Electronic restraining devices including the Taser can ignite flammable substances. The Taser shall not be used on subjects who have come in contact with flammables or in areas where flammables are obviously present.

DUTIES AFTER DEPLOYMENT:

[Appendix B, page 2]

Once the subject is restrained or has complied, the Taser shall be turned off and wires disconnected.

Probes located in sensitive areas such as the face, neck, groin, and breast shall be removed by medical personnel. Probes located in other areas may be removed at the scene by officers at the direction of the on-scene supervisor. Officers removing Taser probes should practice universal precautions against bloodborne pathogens. If possible, officers will provide first aid following removal of the probes with alcohol/antiseptic wipes and adhesive bandages. Officers will ensure that proper medical care is provided to the subject.

Photographs should be taken of the probe sites. Once the probes have been removed, the probes shall be treated as biohazard “sharps” and placed point down into the expended cartridge and sealed with tape. The officer shall then place his/her initials and badge number on the tape.

The photographs and expended cartridge with probes shall be property inventoried as evidence. (7/31/03)

When the subject is turned over to detention or medical personnel, they shall be informed that a Taser was used.

Officers shall complete a CAPRS report titled, “Use of Force,” indicating the reason for its use and the method of application. See Section on Critical Incident Team (CIT) for further information.
(from http://web.archive.org/web/20050907173142/http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/5-300/5-300.asp Archived on 9-7-05. After 7/31/03 and 9/17/04 changes, before 4/14/06 changes)

,Appendix C: City Council directive on CED policy, from Official Proceedings of 2/24/06 meeting

PS&RS – Your Committee recommends acceptance of low bid meeting specifications received on

OP#6530 (Petn No 271009) submitted by Uniforms Unlimited, in the amount of $163,362.20, for furnishing Conductive Energy Devices (tasers) to the Police Department, all in accordance with City specifications, contingent upon approval of the Civil Rights Department. Vendor offers to increase amounts up to 50% at bid prices. Vendor further offers to extend the terms and conditions for one additional year after December 31, 2006 at the sole option of the City of Minneapolis.

Gordon moved to amend the report by adding the following staff directive:

“The Minneapolis Police Department, pursuant to their acceptance on February 15, 2006 of the

Taser Policy and Training Recommendations of the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority, will report back to the Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee in no more than 90 days to show the changes to CED policies that have been made to reflect said recommendations.”

Seconded.

Adopted upon a voice vote.

Absent – Colvin Roy.

The report, as amended, was adopted 2/24/06.

Absent – Colvin Roy.

Appendix D: Taser policy after 4/14/06 change
5-318 USE OF TASERS (10/16/02) (07/31/03) (4/14/06)

(A-D)

Use of MPD-issued Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) is considered less lethal force. The MPD issued “Taser” brand is the only authorized CED for MPD on-duty officers.

Tasers may be used as follows:

Holstered Tasers must be carried on the officer’s weak (support) side to avoid the accidental drawing or firing of a sidearm.

The use of Tasers is normally considered to be at the “hard empty hand” level of force or above on the MPD’s Use of Force Continuum. This level of force is approved for aggressive resistance and above. Tasers shall not be used on passive subjects or as a come-along tool.

The Taser may be used with or without the air cartridge. The Taser “probe mode” should be the primary setting option with “drive stun mode” generally used as a secondary option.

When activating a Taser, officers should use it for one standard cycle and stop to evaluate the effectiveness and the situation (a standard cycle is five seconds). Tasers should only be used for more than two cycles if the subject continues to be serious threat of bodily harm to the officers or citizens. If the Taser is being effective, a longer cycle facilitating handcuffing is appropriate. The electronic discharge from a Taser will not affect, transfer or “jump to” officers attempting to restrain the subject.

When possible, the Taser with air cartridge should be directed at the center mass of the body, i.e., to the subject’s back where clothes tend to be tighter. The lower body may be the only available target area if the subject is wearing heavy clothing. The Taser shall not be intentionally aimed at the head neck, face or genitalia.

Only one officer should activate a Taser against a person at a time.

When feasible and practical, officers should announce over the radio that they are going to deploy the Taser. It is important that whenever possible, all officers involved and possible responding officers know that a Taser is being deployed so they don’t mistake the sight and noise from the Taser going off as a firearm discharge. Officers announcing the actual firing of the Taser should yell “TASER!” prior to and/or during firing. If the firing of the Taser is not announced previous to the firing of the Taser, it shall be announced as soon as practical after the firing of the Taser. However, officers using Tasers must use their judgment to determine if a verbal warning of the Taser discharge is appropriate in each specific situation.

Officers should know that conducted energy devices, including the Taser, can ignite flammable substances. The Taser shall not knowingly be used on subjects who have come in contact with flammables or in areas where flammables are known by the officer deploying the Taser to be present.

[Appendix D, page 2]

Tasers may only be used on fleeing persons if the subject’s actions justify the use of hard empty hand or “intermediate weapons” as outlined on the MPD Use of Force Continuum. This level is appropriate for fleeing felons or the arrest of a subject who is actively aggressive, i.e., actually fighting against police officers.

Tasers may only be used on children, visibly frail persons, women who are known to be pregnant, and people with known heart problems when other hard empty-hand control methods have failed or deadly force is justified.

Tasers may only be used on those in control of a motorized vehicle or bicycle in motion or those in a location where a fall may cause substantial injury or death when the subject’s actions justify deadly force.

Since a Taser is considered a “hard empty hand” or above option per Use of Force reporting policies, a supervisor shall respond to the scene where a Taser is being used or has been used, and will complete a Supervisors’ Force Review Report to be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Unit.

THREATS FROM CEDs:
Officers threatened by a subject armed with a CED are at risk of being incapacitated and possibly disarmed. They should take defensive measures to protect themselves when feasible. The range of possible threat is just over 20 feet. Optimum range for current market CEDs is 15 feet. If the situation permits, officers should consider taking cover, backing up, and try to split up, to allow for a safer attempt to disarm the subject. It is not automatically a deadly force situation if one officer is shot with a CED, when there are other officers at the scene unless the subject makes an effort to get the downed officer’s gun or poses other serious threats to the officers.

DUTIES AFTER DEPLOYMENT:
Once the subject is restrained or has complied, the Taser shall be turned off and wires disconnected. Officers shall use a continued restraint technique that does not impair respiration.

Probes located in sensitive areas such as the face, neck, groin, and breast shall be removed by medical personnel. Probes located in other areas may be removed by officers at the scene at the direction of the on-scene supervisor. Officers should treat used probes as a biohazard and remove Taser probes using practiced precautions against blood borne pathogens. Officers will ensure that proper medical care is provided to the subject, and officers will regularly monitor anyone subjected to Taser activation until they are in the custody of detention or medical personnel.

Per MPD use of force reporting policies (AA05-031), a supervisor shall respond to the scene where a Taser is being used or has been used, and will complete a Supervisor Force Review Report and forward it to the Internal Affairs Unit.

The responding supervisor should take a photograph, or arrange for a photograph to be taken, of the probe site marks. Once the probes have been removed, the probes shall be treated as biohazard “sharps” and placed point down into the expended cartridge and sealed with tape. The officer shall then place their initials and badge number on the tape.

[Appendix D, page 3]

The photographs and expended cartridge with probes shall be property inventoried as evidence. (07/31/03)

Officers shall inform detention or medical personnel that a Taser was used when they turn over the arrestee or subject.

Officers shall complete a CAPRS report titled, “Use of Force,” indicating the reason for its use and the method of application. See Section on Critical Incident Team (CIT) for further information.

Officers must submit discharged Tasers for downloading following Training Unit protocols.

(from http://web.archive.org/web/20060919033654/http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/5-300/5-300.asp Archived on 9/19/06 In effect from 4/14/06 until 8/17/07)

Appendix E: Taser policy after 8/17/07 change (current as of 3/04/09)
5-314 USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY DEVICES (CED) (08/17/07)

The MPD approved CED (P/P Section 3-200 Equipment) is considered a non-lethal weapon. The use of CED’s shall be consistent with current MPD training.

The CED shall be holstered on the sworn MPD employee’s weak (support) side to avoid the accidental drawing or firing of their firearm. (SWAT members in tactical gear are exempt from this holstering requirement.)

The CED can ignite flammable substances and gases. The CED shall not be deployed anytime there is a reasonable belief that a flammable substance or gas is present and may ignite.

Post exposure treatment (Medical Aid) for a person that has been exposed to the electricity from the CED shall include the following:

• Determine if the subject is injured or requires EMS.

• Render medical aid consistent with training and request EMS response for evaluation at anytime if necessary

• Request EMS response for probe removal if probes are located in sensitive areas (face, neck, groin or breast areas).

• Wear protective gloves and remove probes from the person’s non-sensitive body areas.

• Secure the probes (biohazard “sharps”) point down into the expended cartridge and seal with tape.

• When appropriate, visually inspect probe entry sites and/or drive stun locations for signs of injury.

• When appropriate, photograph probe entry sites and/or drive stun locations.

Sworn employees shall routinely monitor the medical condition of a person that has been exposed to the electricity from a CED until they are released to medical or other law enforcement personnel.

(from http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mpdpolicy/5-300/5-300.asp )