Plan for more tasers for Montreal police on hold

TASER

The plan by Montreal police to more than double the number of Tasers for officers by next year has been put on hold.

Montreal police announced the plan in April of last year to the surprise of the city.

Right now, each pair of beat officers patrolling downtown and the Plateau has tasers. The plan was to have all teams of patrolling officers across the island be equipped with the weapons.

But a spokesman for the Plante administration told CJAD 800 that they discussed it with the police force in September and agreed to talk about it again next year, adding that "the number of stun guns has increased considerably over the past few years prompting numerous concerns among elected officials, media and the public."

Executive committee member in charge of public security Rosannie Filato told the EliasMakos Show that the police have other matters to deal with, especially in light of the report released earlier this week showing systemic bias among certain officers when stopping or conducting street checks on members of visible minorities.

"The priority right now is to focus on de-escalation tactics, social (and) racial profiling," said Filato.

Montreal police say they had to delay the plan because they decided to get a newer model of Taser so they're putting out a call for tenders soon. But inspector André Durocher told CJAD 800 they intend to re-activate the plan this coming spring.

Durocher said more training in dealing with members of cultural communities doesn't mean they'll delay their plan or training to use the electroshock weapons.

"They're independent as far as I'm concerned. If we need more training in regards to minorities, that has nothing to do whether we have training with the firearms, we have training with the Taser, we have training with the various laws," said Durocher.

Opposition councillor for Snowdon Marvin Rotrand was among those concerned about the police use of stun guns and said he is glad the plan is not going forward but will fight again if it resurfaces next year.

"There are a ton of documented Taser deaths in Canada and the United States - these are not harmless instruments," Rotrand said in an interview with CJAD 800.

"If you have more Tasers, you tend to use them more often. There's also a possibility of abuse no matter how good the training is."

A recent police annual report showed taser use was up 62% but they were mostly shown by police during an intervention and not used.