More Ottawa police officers will be carrying stun guns after a Taser expansion plan was approved by the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday.
Before the plan was approved, 149 officers — supervisors and specially trained tactical unit officers — had access to 200 Tasers. In general, five to 15 Tasers were being carried by patrol officers at any given time.
In the last five years those Tasers were deployed an average of 19 times per year.
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The force will not be buying more conducted energy weapons this year, but the two-year plan approves the purchase of up to 100 weapons in 2015.
They cost about $2,000 each.
The focus in 2014 will be training more officers to use the weapons. First class constables who meet a certain criteria and have the recommendation of their supervisors will receive training priority, followed by other front-line officers.
The plan calls for 29 to 39 officers on patrol at any given time to have access to Tasers.
'This is a measured approach,' police chief says
Ottawa police will conduct a review of the system after two years.
"This is a measured approach. We're going to come back after the initial two years, back to the board, to report back on the effectiveness and how the deployment plan has gone so far," said Chief Charles Bordeleau.
The force had been pushing for the expanded use of Tasers for months.
Initially, police said they'd like to see 300 officers trained to use Tasers, but training capacity issues and budgetary restrictions forced them back to the drawing board.
The two-year plan approved Monday came after consultations with officers, stakeholders and the public.