Conduct Energy Weapons

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CEWConducted Energy Weapons (CEWs), commonly referred to as Tasers, are one of several less-than-lethal use of force options available to Ottawa Police officers.

They function through the application of electrical impulses that cause involuntary muscle contractions and temporary immobilization, assisting officers in gaining control of a subject.

The use of CEWs is regulated in Ontario by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) under the Police Services Act, including which model can be used and which officers are qualified and permitted to carry a CEW.

An Ottawa Police Service (OPS) report outlining a proposed two-year plan to improve ready access to Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs) to front line patrol was approved by the Ottawa Police Services Board (Board) on April 28, 2014.

The report is the culmination of several months of consultation, research, and study on CEWs. It takes into account ideas and input received during the public consultation and stakeholder meetings, as well as internal feedback, and details a measured approach to improving ready access to CEWs for front line patrol.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)?

A CEW is one of several less-than-lethal use of force options issued to some Ottawa Police officers.When deployed, the device functions by applying electrical impulses to the receiver, causing involuntary muscle contractions and temporary immobilization. This assists officers in gaining control of a subject in situations where the subject is assaultive, or where there is an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, for example.

What is the difference between a CEW and a Taser?

The term "Taser" refers to the brand name of a manufacturer of CEWs, TASER International .

On average, how often does the Ottawa Police deploy CEWs?

The Ottawa Police yearly average is 19 deployments.

Have any serious injuries been reported to the Ottawa Police as a result of CEW deployment?

To date, no serious injuries resulting from CEW deployment have been reported to the OPS.

What sort of training do Ottawa Police officers receive on CEWs?

Officers receive 12 hours of study and scenario based exercises, including both a practical and written examination. There is also five hours of recertification training that takes place every 12 months.The training on CEWs represents only a portion of the training officers receive as part of their overall use of force training, however. A key focus of all their training is around communication and de-escalation as these are always the preferred response options for resolving a situation.

How much does a CEW cost?

Each device costs approximately $2000.

How long has the OPS been using CEWs?

The OPS has had CEWs since 2000.

Is there any accountability around the use of CEWs by officers?

Yes. CEWs have strong accountability measures associated with their deployment and use. When a CEW is deployed, both a Use of Force report and a Deployment Report are required. In addition, every time a CEW is deployed, it automatically records and stores information on the date and time of the deployment as well as the amount of firings and duration of firings. No one is permitted to use a CEW without first being fully trained by a Ministry certified use of force instructor. 

When are officers authorized to use a CEW?

In accordance with Ministry standards and the Use of Force Model, a CEW can only be used to gain control when a subject is assaultive as defined by the Criminal Code, and/or based on the totality of the situation.  This includes an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death as well as suicide threats or attempts.  However, in every call, officers must use their knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to assess a situation and make a number of assessments on how to plan and act accordingly to ensure public safety, as well as officer safety. For example, is the subject threatening serious bodily harm or death? Are they assaultive? Is there an imminent need to gain control of the subject?