San Francisco Police Officers Associaton renews call to arm cops with Tasers

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Thursday, April 7, 2016
SF Police Officers Association renews call to arm cops with Tasers
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On the day that police commissioners are discussing arming officers with Tasers, the San Francisco Police Officers Association released the results of a survey showing the vast majority of polled residents support arming cops with them.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Police Officers Association has released the results of a survey which shows the vast majority of those polled want officers armed with Tasers. This comes on the day that police commissioners are discussing arming police with them.

An SFPOA radio advertisement states, "A recent survey reveals that 68 percent of San Franciscans favor Tasers for our cops."

The police commission is considering Tasers in its review of lethal force policies.

The SFPOA released the radio spot after getting results of a survey it commissioned, which shows 68 percent of those polled support arming officers with Tasers. Only 14 percent of the 500 San Francisco voters surveyed said they opposed the electronic control devices, while 18 percent weren't sure.

Our informal survey found similar views.

"It's less lethal than shooting somebody," said one resident.

Another added, "I think it's taken a little too long to get them armed with Tasers."

"If that helps cut down shootings and the firearms, then definitely," said another resident.

SFPOA President Martin Halloran says the poll validates his position that all the officers should be carrying Tasers as an alternative, when possible, to lethal force.

"Right now, SFPD officers go from a baton to a bullet," he said.

So far, two of the seven police commissioners have come out publicly against Tasers. The main argument being that they could result in medical emergencies, even sudden death.

Chief Greg Suhr has proposed a narrower policy -- that only select officers, like the tactical unit, should be equipped with them. Then maybe more later.

"I'm somebody that believes that to go in with some sort of measure of caution whenever you do something new, see how it goes, see if you have any problems, see how you can make it better," he said.

One hurdle to the police union proposal is the cost of deploying Tasers all at once to all officers.

"When it comes to saving a life, what's the cost to a human life in the city?" said Halloran.

Police commissioners are set to discuss the issue on Wednesday night.