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Grand jury: Uniform police Taser policy needed

 | Published on 5/25/2011


Most police agencies in San Mateo County use Tasers and similar rules for them, but the civil grand jury recommends uniform policies for all. 

An investigation into local police agencies and the use of Tasers by the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury found only two agencies — the East Palo Alto and Menlo Park police departments — don’t use the device. While most of the 20 agencies use Tasers and have similar policies, none of the officers are required to have it on them, according to the 11-page report. Since police agencies often work out of their jurisdiction or collaboratively for drug enforcement or SWAT activities, the grand jury suggested agencies adopt a similar policy and training requirements. 

The grand jury’s investigation included 20 uniformed police agencies including all cities, the Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police. All but two agencies, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, use Tasers. Those who use the device use the same brand and often similar if not identical policies, according to the report. 

The Sheriff’s Office has different policies, which the grand jury suggested should be changed to match the other agencies. In addition, it recommended Menlo Park and East Palo Alto agencies begin to use Tasers. Lastly, it recommended that all agencies require uniformed officers to have Taser devices available to the same extent that they are required to have a firearm. 

To read the full report visit www.sanmateocountycourt.org/grandjury.