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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, October 19

Tasers in Saratoga Springs and New York in general

Here are all of the reports on Taser use in the state prepared by the NY Civil Liberties Union. Of course, they conclude the results are shocking (I had to).

As one police officer I spoke to offhandedly said, "When you set out looking for a problem, you'll find it."

Of course some of the statistics the NYCLU point out are somewhat "disturbing" to quote the author of the report. 75 percent of people tased weren't warned first, 15 percent of taser use is "clearly inappropriate" and 60 percent of people tased were essentially not a threat to officers or the general public.

Really, though, there were very few incidents from Saratoga Springs. Six incidents with seven people tased over a 22 month period.

If you take the time to read through the reports, it seems the police were dealing with some VERY drunk and belligerent people when deploying the tasers, at least according to their reports.

The NYCLU condemned all use of Tasers where someone was already handcuffed. Chief Chris Cole said the one incident in Saratoga Springs where that happened would have to be "extreme" for it to be deemed appropriate, but the use of force report vindicates the officers.

Well, anyone who wants 150 pages of reading here are the police reports.

02.26.10 Saratoga UOF Reports

Then here is the Saratoga Springs Policy on taser use. It's been redacted. I have seen the un-redacted version and compared the two. The blacked-out spots outline general situations where tasers cannot be used.

Cole worried that someone who knows some of the general situations where the police cannot use the tasers could use those to his or her advantage by creating those situations and limiting officers' ability to tase them.

That, to me, gives the criminal mind a lot of credit, but going with the journalism mantra of "Do no harm" I'll ere on the side of caution, so I posted the redacted.

02.26.10 Taser Uof Policy-redacted

And finally, here is the NYCLU report. It mentions Saratoga Springs in the body of the report twice, both times in a more complimentary way than most other cities/departments mentioned in the report. It is also found in the footnotes several times.

NYCLU Taser Final

The Saratoga Springs Police Department released this statement Wednesday following up on the report's release.

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