ACLU says Michigan law enforcement agencies need a uniform policy on the use of tasers

Feb 21, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union is raising questions about how Michigan police officers and sheriff’s deputies use tasers.

Tasers have become an important tool for law enforcement agencies across Michigan.    The devices are used to incapacitate individuals with a high voltage electric shock.

But the ACLU says there is not a uniform policy among Michigan law enforcement agencies for when to use a taser.

The ACLU of Michigan report finds that “some departments are at risk of not complying with federal court rulings and state guidelines, manufacturer safety standards or, in some cases, the departments own written policies.”

“The officers are probably very well trained in how to use the tasers,” says

Mark Fancher, ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Staff Attorney and principal author of the report, “But they may lack knowledge and information about when it’s appropriate to use them and when it’s lawful to use them.”

The head of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police takes exception to the ACLU report on tasers.

“Different departments have different standards of when you can use (a taser)…but the bottom line is they all comply with the federal and state laws,” says  association Executive Director Robert Stevenson.