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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204


Index: Title, Taser; Weapons, Less Lethal
Refer: ORS 161.015 Physical Injury, defined
DIR 341.00 Discipline Process and Review Boards
DIR 940.00 After Action Report and Operations Orders
DIR 1010.20 Physical Force
Training Application (Training)
After Action Report (CHO)

POLICY (1051.00)
The Taser is a less lethal weapon system that delivers electrical energy, and is deployed against subjects who are placing themselves or others in danger of physical injury and/or death. The Taser is designed to incapacitate a person rather than injure him/her. This allows members to take a combative person into custody with a minimum risk of injury to all of the parties involved. Members deploying the Taser operationally, if feasible, should be supported by at least one officer capable of providing immediate cover. The Taser is not meant to take the place of deadly force options. The amount of control or force used in an encounter will be governed by the Bureau's Application of Force and Deadly Force policies (refer to DIRs. 1010.00 and 1010.10).
The use of the Taser probes and a drive stun will be considered as the same level of control when deployed.
Only those members currently certified with the Taser are authorized to deploy the Taser. The Taser is a mandatory uniform instrument for officers and sergeants assigned to uniform assignments. Exceptions to this may be made by the member's Branch chief. Other units or divisions will be issued Tasers at the discretion of his/her manager.

Considerations for Less Lethal Force Applications (1051.00)
Members shall consider the current mental health condition of the subject as a factor in determining whether Taser is the appropriate tool to resolve a confrontation with as little reliance on force as practical.
Members shall not use Taser to stop a subject who is running unless the member has reason to believe the subject presents an immediate threat of physical injury, or the escape of the subject presents a significant danger to the public, officers or the subject. This threat must outweigh the risk of injury to the subject that might occur as a result of an uncontrolled fall while the subject is running.
Members should evaluate their force options and give strong consideration to other force options, if the Taser is not effective after two applications on the same person.
Members must give a warning prior to using a Taser unless doing so would place any person at unreasonable risk. Warnings should be verbal. Display, laser painting, arcing, or a combination of these tactics may suffice to satisfy this requirement if likely to inform a subject of an imminent deployment.
Members shall make every reasonable effort to handcuff the subject during and between Taser cycles.
Except in situations specifically described below, members are authorized to use Taser in probe mode only in response to active aggression or active resistance that, in the member's reasonable judgment, may result in physical injury to the member or another.
Members may use Taser to prevent suicide when reasonable in light of available options.
Members are authorized to use Taser to take a subject into custody when the subject makes or is a credible threat to engage in physical resistance that is likely to create a risk of injury to members or others.

Prohibited Use of the Taser (1051.00)
Taser shall not be used on the following persons, unless the person is armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon, or is about to commit suicide, or is capable of imminent harm to themselves or others.
a. Children, who are known to be, or are obviously under the age of 12.
b. Persons, who are known to be, or are obviously older than 60 years of age.
c. A woman who is known to be, or is obviously pregnant.
d. A person known to be, or who is obviously medically fragile.
Exceptions that would permit the use of Taser on the above persons:
a. The person is armed with a dangerous weapon.
b. The person is engaging in suicidal behavior.
c. The person cannot safely be controlled with other force options. Taser shall not be used on a handcuffed subject unless the subject is actively engaged in behavior that is a substantial risk to the subject, member or others, and no other reasonable force options are available. Members should obtain, when time permits, supervisory authorization before deploying Taser on a handcuffed suspect. If used, a supervisor will be notified immediately. In addition, the use of the Taser is prohibited:
a. For horseplay or practical jokes.
b. At demonstrations or protests without the permission of the Incident Commander.
c. To harass or unduly influence a person under any circumstances.
Taser shall not be used on subjects engaging in passive resistance in an apparent act of civil disobedience who display no indication they might take action against members or others if not controlled.
Taser shall not be intentionally aimed at the head, face, or to target sensitive areas (e.g., head, neck, genitalia).
Drive stun mode may be used to complete an electrical circuit in the event of insufficient spread or an ineffective or dislodged probe, or in close quarters to protect a member, create a safe distance between a member and a subject, or to avoid the use of a higher level of force.
Members may not intentionally activate more than one Taser at a time against a subject.
Taser shall not be used on subjects who are known to have come in contact with flammables or those in areas where flammables are present. The Bureau currently authorizes the use of a water based oleoresin capsicum spray that is not flammable. However, some police agencies use an alcohol based oleoresin capsicum that is flammable. This should be considered when working with outside agencies.

Cautionary Use of the Taser (1051.00)
Consideration should be given before deployment on individuals who are standing in or near a body of water, in an elevated position or in such a position where a fall could likely cause serious injury/death. In those cases, other methods of control should be considered unless they are unreasonable, too dangerous or pose a higher likelihood of injury than using Taser.

PROCEDURES (1051.00)
Directive Specific Definitions
a. Active aggression: is a threat or overt act of an assault (through physical or verbal means), coupled with the present ability to carry out the threat or assault, which reasonably indicates that an assault or injury to any person is imminent
b. Active resistance: is physically evasive movements to defeat an officer's attempt at control, including bracing, tensing, pushing, or verbally signaling an intention to avoid or prevent being taken into or retained in custody
c. Probe cartridge: is a device that contains two probes, connected to light gauge wire that is propelled and attaches to the subject upon activation of the Taser.
d. Drive stun: is the procedure of using the Taser with a spent probe cartridge or no probe cartridge to make physical contact with a subject and deliver energy.
e. Immediate cover: is a member who stands ready to deploy additional control if needed (i.e., the Taser is ineffective or it fails to function properly).

Training and Certification Required Prior to Deployment (1051.00)
The Training Division (Training) is responsible for the training, certification and recertification of members in the proper use and deployment of the Taser. To obtain certification, members must complete the Taser Basic Operator's course as conducted by Training. To maintain certification, members must attend periodic refresher training as mandated by Training.

Conditions and Behaviors Requiring Medical Treatment after Deployment (1051.00)
When members deploy the Taser on a person who fits any of the following categories, members must summon EMS to the scene. Members will ensure that EMS examines the person at the scene and transports the person to a hospital unless the person is not in custody, is mentally competent, and refuses examination and transport.
a. Children, who are known to be, or are obviously under the age of 12.
b. Persons, who are known to be, or are obviously older than 60 years of age.
c. A woman who is known to be, or obviously pregnant.
d. A person who is known to be, or obviously medically fragile (i.e., any individual with a chronic medical illness). Examples include diabetes, seizure disorder, emphysema, asthma, heart disease (previous heart attack, chest pain, angina), history of pacemaker or defibrillator, kidney failure, cancer, or transplant.
e. A person suffering from hyper stimulation (before, during or after deployment). This includes the following: behaviors such as rapid speech, agitation, apprehension, excitation, restlessness, verbalization of impending doom, emotional instability; physical symptoms such as dilated pupils, headache, teeth grinding, clenched teeth, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, tremor (i.e., twitching of small muscles, especially facial and finger), tics, non purposeful movements, pseudo hallucinations (e.g., cocaine bugs), seizures or coma; pale skin, racing pulse or increased breathing; skin temperature hot or very warm to touch.
f. A person suffering from agitated delirium (before, during or after deployment). This includes the following: severe agitation, over-amped or wired; paranoia; delirium (an abnormal mental state characterized by disorientation, fear, and irritability), altered mental status (a change in the level of consciousness or the content of consciousness), confusion or disorientation, restlessness or purposeless movements in the setting of cocaine use, tremor (i.e., twitching of small muscles, especially facial and finger).

Other Medical Treatment After Deployment (1051.00)
When the Taser is deployed on a person, other than those listed above in required medical treatment, using:
a. Drive stun mode:
1. EMS personnel will not be summoned to the scene unless medical treatment is necessary.
b. Probe deployment mode:
1. If the probes are embedded in the skin, once the person is in custody, EMS will be summoned to remove the probes and provide medical treatment if necessary.
2. If the probes are not embedded in the skin, EMS will not be summoned unless medical treatment is necessary (probes may be attached to clothing only).
c. PFB will be the first responder to deployments that require only the removal of probes and no other medical treatment, other than removal and treatment of the wound caused by the Taser probes. To ensure a response from PFB only, members must advise BOEC that the patient is breathing, conscious, and only PFB is needed to remove the Taser probes.
d. If the Taser is deployed outside of PFB's response area, and medical treatment is mandated by this Directive or other injury, the fire department or EMS with jurisdiction will be summoned.
e. Member responsibilities:
1. The primary member for the incident will ensure that his/her on-duty supervisor is notified about any Taser related EMS transport.
2. The supervisor that is notified will follow the normal procedures for posting a guard at the hospital as needed.

Actions Following the Use of the Taser (1051.00)
Following the operational discharge of Taser probes, the Taser probes will be collected and placed into evidence. Members will use biohazard precautions when handling Taser probes that were removed from a person. The used Taser probes will be re-inserted, point down, into the discharged air cartridge and covered with biohazard tape before being placed into evidence bags.
Members will photograph the areas of the probe strikes, if possible, before and after probe removal. Consent should be obtained before photographing personally sensitive areas. All photographs of probe strikes will be placed into evidence in accordance with DIR 660.10.

Notification and Reporting of Use (1051.00)
After a Taser deployment, the deploying officer will immediately notify an on-duty supervisor. If the deploying member is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make the notification, another member at the scene will make the notification.
Members using a Taser on a person will, in accordance with DIR 1010.00 Application of Force, complete the appropriate police reports documenting the circumstances of the Taser deployment prior to the end of shift. At the top of the narrative section of the report the member will write TASER to assist with report tracking. The report shall document:
a. The specific circumstances leading to the use of the Taser.
b. All verbal warnings given to officers and the subject. If no warnings were given, members will document the circumstances that precluded any warnings.
c. If deployed on any person or in any circumstance described in prohibited use of the Taser or cautionary use of the Taser, members will explain what considerations were taken and why other methods of control were unreasonable, too dangerous or posed a higher likelihood of injury than deploying the Taser. For example, the subject was armed with a dangerous weapon.
d. The distance from which the Taser was used.
e. The serial numbers of all air cartridges expended.
f. The serial number of the Taser used.
g. The name and DPSST number of the member designated as immediate cover.
h. The name and DPSST number of the notified and/or reporting supervisor.
i. That EMS responded, and the results of any medical evaluation. If EMS is not summoned, members will document the reason why.
j. Any evidence of injury or illness (notations should be in the appropriate box on the face sheet of the report).
k. Any complaints of injury or illness (notations should be in the appropriate box on the face sheet of the report).

Negligent Discharge (1051.00)
An on-duty supervisor will respond and assume investigative responsibility for all negligent or unintentional discharges, except:
a. At Bureau authorized training events. In those circumstances, Training will have responsibility for investigation and reporting.

Member Responsibilities (1051.00)
Members carrying the X-26 Taser will check the battery level at the beginning of each shift and ensure that the battery charge meets or exceeds recommended levels outlined by Training.

Supervisor Responsibilities (1051.00)
Supervisors shall ensure that all pertinent information is documented in the appropriate reports, and that all appropriate evidence is collected, following the use of the Taser. The supervisor will also respond to the scene and complete an After Action Report in accordance with DIR 940.00 After Action

RU Manager Responsibilities (1051.00)
RU managers are responsible for the security of the Tasers and associated equipment, assigned to their RU.

Training Manager Responsibilities (1051.00)
The Training manager is responsible for the following:
a. Procurement, maintenance, and issuance of the Tasers, and associated equipment.
b. The training, certification and recertification of members in the use of the Taser.
c. The Training manager will conduct a review of the Taser program when requested by the Chief of Police, Branch chief or as necessary. The review may include an analysis of all deployments, training, and examination of the Taser policy. At the completion of the review, the Training manager will prepare a written report outlining the results and forward it to the Chief or Branch chief.
d. Meet with the Taser Medical Safety Committee (TMSC) when directed by the Chief, Branch chief or as necessary. Taser Medical Safety Committee (TMSC): TMSC is a committee comprised of members from Training, the Director of Multnomah County's Emergency Medical Services or designee, the State Medical Examiner or designee, citizens appointed by the Chief of Police and members of PFB.