1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
June 02, 2005 00:00
On June 1, 2005, Chief Derrick Foxworth authorized the Training Division to begin the delivery of Tasers to all divisions and precincts of the Portland Police Bureau. This deployment comes after almost three years of study, including extensive research into “best practices” of law enforcement agencies in several different countries around the world and several meetings where local citizens and advisory groups provided input into the Police Bureau’s Taser policy. In addition, during the Police Bureau’s in-service, all sworn personnel were required to go through a day long training Taser course.
Since beginning the pilot program in 2002, the officers have deployed Taser more than 850 times. Other facts observed during the pilot program include a decrease in other forms of less lethal, including baton, pepper spray, and bean bag rounds, and a decrease in injuries to officers and citizens.
Under the new policy, Taser is authorized when a person, engages in or displays the intent to engage in physical resistance to a lawful police action, engages in or displays the intent to engage in aggressive physical resistance to a lawful police action, or engages in or displays the intent to engage in suicidal behavior. Some restrictions include the use of Taser for children, who are known to be, or are obviously under the age of twelve, adults, who are known to be, or are obviously older than 60 years of age, woman who are known to be, or are obviously pregnant, and the obviously medically fragile. The entire directive is available on the Police Bureau’s website at www.portlandpolicebureau.com.
“I believe that Tasers ultimately save lives and reduce injuries. However, it is not a magic tool, but another less lethal option for officers,” said Chief Derrick Foxworth. “It is important that the community understand that the Taser is not 100 percent effective and is not appropriate in every situation. The new policy is very thorough and clearly outlines when Tasers should be used. I want to thank the many community members who helped the Police Bureau draft the new directive.
“The Police Bureau will continue to monitor the use of Tasers, looking for trends or any necessary adjustments the Bureau needs to make in our policy or training.”
Sgt. Pete Simpson