Tasers approved for San Francisco Police Department, activists cry foul

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Officers with the San Francisco Police Department may be carrying tasers by December 2018, but the police union wants a policy on how officers can use them as soon as possible.

The San Francisco Police Commission approved the use of tasers in a 4-3 vote late Friday, after a loud, contentious meeting which lasted seven hours.

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Now, the San Francisco Police Officers Association wants the Commission to draft a policy which doesn't place too many restrictions on how officers can use tasers.

"When you restrict it to the point where an officer is unable to use the taser, what's the point in having the policy?" said San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran.

Halloran said if a use policy isn't drafted soon, he'll take it to the voters next June.

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"If commissioners cannot come up with policy, the POA is prepared to take it to the voters and have them weigh in and decide," Halloran added.

Meantime, Bay Area activists are disappointed by the taser approval.

"People die from tasers. To approach someone with a weapon versus 21st-century policing measures like de-escalation techniques, it's the wrong way to go," said Alex Post from Democratic Socialists of America.

Police Chief William Scott wants all officers to carry tasers by December 2018. Scott issued a written statement acknowledging the need for a usage policy before tasers are issued.

"We understand and acknowledge the public's ongoing concerns about conductive energy devices (tasers). Before these devices can be deployed, it is critical that we submit a solid policy based on national best practices."
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