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Review of Taser rules urged

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By David Giuliani

The Las Vegas Police Department should consider changes to its policy regulating the use of high-voltage stun guns, an advisory panel member urged this week.

However, the police chief contended the policy in place is a good one.

Pat Leahan, co-chairwoman of the city’s public safety advisory committee, noted that Raton police officers fired their Tasers 23 times in a case in which a man died as the officers were trying to subdue him in January.

She said much has happened across the country with Tasers over the last few years and that it’s time to review the city’s policy. “We have learned a lot more about Tasers,” she said.

Former Police Chief Tim Gallegos drafted the city policy three years ago, taking into account public input, including the views of Leahan herself.

For instance, Leahan suggested the department revise its policy for using Tasers on pregnant women, similar to that proposed by the International Association of Police Chiefs.

She also suggested that officers undergo annual training on the user of Tasers.

Tibor Remenyik, a committee member, asked Leahan about alternatives to Tasers if a pregnant woman were to pose a danger to officers. “What’s the option? Shoot them?” he asked.

Leahan responded that no one is suggesting officers shouldn’t use Tasers but that there should be a “continuum of force” depending on the level of the threat.

Police Chief Gary Gold said he liked the policy that Gallegos drafted but that he was willing to take input.

“I’m here for any suggestions,” he said. “If we can make the public safer, we should make changes.”