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Police services board wants to talk Tasers

Board holding public meeting Dec. 10

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

The Hamilton police services board is seeking input into the expanded use of Tasers.

The board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at city hall to hear from residents on whether all front-line officers should carry Tasers, what conditions should be attached to the use of the weapons and what kind of training is appropriate.

“It’s simply to gain feedback from the public with respect to their attitude towards the use of Tasers and what benefit they bring to the table at what cost,” board chair and central Hamilton councillor Bernie Morelli said. “It’s really seeking input from knowledgeable community people that have now an opportunity to put their views forward, which is really one of the things we want to accomplish as well because what they have to say is important to us.”

Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire proposed expanding the use of Tasers, or stun guns, in September, after the province approved their broader use in August.

The city was asked to foot the bill for the expansion – $992,462 for 150 Tasers, holsters, cartridges, targets, personnel and training in 2014 and $635,433 for ongoing costs annually thereafter – but council balked at the cost, arguing Hamilton doesn’t have the money to fund such a large program.

“One of the criteria for approving anything is not just what is it you want to do, but how much it costs and for what benefit. The financial requirements for this project are substantial, but that doesn’t preclude the fact that we need to seek feedback in how people feel first of all before any final decisions are made,” Morelli said. “It just means that you need to make sure that consideration is part of the overall final decision-making. The bottom line is we want to do the right thing.”

Residents who want to make a five-minute deputation at the meeting should contact board administrator Lois Morin at 905-546-2727 or lmorin@hamilton.ca.

 

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