New Jersey law enforcement officials now have the authority to use electronic stun guns, also called tasers, in limited circumstances involving emotionally disturbed individuals.
State Attorney General Anne Miligram approved the state’s primary attempt with tasers in late November.
“This is the first time in this state that officers are going to be authorized to carry and use stun guns in any capacity,” said Milgram.
The policy states that stun guns can only be used by officers authorized by each department’s chief executive.
The number of officers authorized to carry or use the weapons depends on the size of the department. In a municipality with 25,000 or fewer residents, one officer can carry the stun gun. Two stun guns are permitted in a town with 25,000 to 50,000 residents. If a municipality houses 75,000 residents or more, four officers can be authorized to carry the weapon.
Attorney General Milgram said that such an important shift in policy means limited deployment and adequate controls are necessary for accountability measures and evaluating the use of tasers. Only officers of supervisory rank can be authorized to use the tasers. The exceptions are for certified officers of a regional S.W.A.T. team.
As I live in North New Jersey and am a resident of one of the towns mentioned I urge these police departments *NOT* start carrying or using tasers in any capacity. I think its been well demonstrated in recent years that the claim of non-lethal for these devices incentivies officers to use the weapon when it’s not really necessary. Often for general pain compliance. Tasers certainly are potentially deadly weapons and too often used as cruel punishment for a baligerant or uncooperative individual.
The incentives too perverse and the outcome is too random to justify utilizing such a weapon.