Background

On August 27, 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Community and Correctional Services announced that it would change the guidelines associated with the use of Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs), commonly referred to as TASERs, by police to allow for the expanded deployment of the devices. On November 25, 2013, the revised guidelines entitled "Revised Use of Force Guideline and Training Standards to Support Expanded Conducted Energy Weapon Use" were issued.

The main points of the Revised Guidelines were as follows:

  1. Police Services Boards, in partnership with Chiefs of Police, may now develop a policy on CEW authorization that:
    • Preserves any current deployment
    • Authorizes additional "officer classes" to carry CEWs.
    • Police Services Boards are encouraged to invite community input regarding any plans to expand the use of CEWs
  2. Operator training must be increased from 8 hours to 12 hours, with the additional time being devoted to judgement-based training, including de-escalation techniques.
  3. The decision on future deployment rests with Police Services Boards.

Following a review and consultation process, the Ottawa Police Services Board approved a two-year plan in April 2014 that included:

  1. The purchase of 100 new CEW devices;
  2. The implementation of enhanced training;
  3. The introduction of increased accountability measures; and
  4. The expansion of access to CEWs to frontline Patrol Officers.

By February of 2016, the OPS had purchased 100 new TASER CEWs, provided training, and issued the new devices to Patrol Officers. Enhanced training and accountability measures were implemented in 2015.

The OPS also committed to conducting a review of this two-year plan to assess its effectiveness in improving CEW access, accountability and training, while also ensuring the devices were used safely and appropriately. The effectiveness of CEWs as an intermediate weapon, and whether there was a need for further expansion of CEW access were also to be explored.

The evaluation was conducted in 2016 by Planning, Performance and Analytics.

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