By Frank Noto
President, Stop Crime SF
Marty Halloran, the president of San Francisco police union, declared recently in a Police Officers Association blog post that "the time for tasers is now."
We wholeheartedly agree at Stop Crime SF.
According to Halloran, the San Francisco stands apart from most police departments in the country without access to tasers. Halloran said the lack of a less lethal option means police officers may be forced to use deadly firearms in dangerous situations.
"We do not want that," Halloran said. "The public wants a well equipped police department and they want us to be able to protect them and save lives."
While the San Francisco Police Commission voted 4-3 in October to approve tasers, the commission only approved them in concept. There has been no progress in creating a policy so the tasers can actually be issued to police officers.
A recent report on ABC 7 News said the police commission has been debating the taser issue for eight years while four police chiefs have asked for the device.
Halloran said the delay has been too long. That's why the police union is going to voters in June 2018 with a ballot initiative to approve tasers once and for all.
The most important point regarding tasers is the policy that will direct their use. If the police commission creates a policy that is overly restrictive or lacks common sense, the fact officers have tasers won't matter if they can't use them effectively.
The police union wants to craft its ballot initiative so it is practical enough to actually protect officers and the public.
Stop Crime SF supports a practical, easy-to-understand taser policy that saves lives and protects suspects, officers and their respective families from trauma due to unnecessary officer-involved shootings. Even one more preventable death is too many.