Sunday, January 8, 2017

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies to receive new tasers

Blog note: this article references a 2013 grand jury report on the subject.
SAN BERNARDINO >> Sheriff’s officials have completely replenished “non-lethal” Tasers used by deputies in the field with new devices.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department purchased 1,525 X2 Tasers to replace their current supply that has expired since the first purchase six years ago.
“The San Bernardino County order is the first complete replacement of a full deployment of X2s that was previously purchased as one of our earlier adopters of our first dual shot weapon when it was introduced in 2011,” Rick Smith, CEO and co-founder of Taser International, said in a written statement. “They are the first agency to fully replace their entire fleet of X2s after their full useful life.”
\The shelf life for the X2 Taser is rated at five years, according to a Taser International news release.
The use of the non-lethal weapon has come under fire in recent years and became the center of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in March 2015.
In the filing, the ACLU is suing the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to seek a judge’s order to force the law enforcement agency to produce records on its Taser policies and practices.
That case is not expected to be heard until later this summer, but attorneys for the ACLU said they are very optimistic a settlement could be reached in the near future.
Nearly seven months before the filing, a Victorville man, Dante Parker, was stunned approximately 25 times during a confrontation with a deputy in the High Desert.
The 36-year-old died shortly after the encounter. The Riverside County Coroner’s Office ruled his death an accident from PCP intoxication with a noted significant condition of hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
Three years before Parker’s death, deputies used a Taser on Alan Kephart 16 times after a traffic stop in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Kephart died, and the District Attorney’s Office also cleared the department of wrongdoing. However, Kephart’s family was awarded $4.25 million from the county to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
In its annual report released July 1, 2013, the San Bernardino County grand jury recommended, in response to newspaper articles that year regarding the Taser-related deaths of three men at the hands of sheriff’s deputies, that the Sheriff’s Department enhance deputy training on use of the “non-lethal” weapon.
In its response, the Sheriff’s Department agreed with the grand jury’s recommendation to amend its Taser training manual to include the requirement of greater communication among on-scene officers regarding the number of Taser discharges deployed on a person to avoid multiple, continuous exposures.
It also agreed to stress the importance of alternative methods of subduing individuals at future training sessions.
Under proposed regulations drafted by the state Attorney General’s Office to implement Assembly Bill 953, the Sheriff’s Department would be required to report some detailed information about its Taser use, which it has withheld from the public in the past, according to Adrienna Wong, staff attorney for the Inland Empire office of the ACLU of Southern California.
No added training will be required for the new cache of “non-lethal” Tasers, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Wednesday.
January 4, 2017
The Sun
By Doug Saunders

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