Ottawa police's Taser plans likely delayed

An Ottawa police plan to triple the amount of tasers in their department will likely be delayed because of a late delivery of provincial guidelines.

Provincial guidelines expected in October came Monday

Ottawa police use Tasers or conductive energy weapons about 18 times a year.

An Ottawa police plan to triple the amount of conducted energy weapons in their department will likely be delayed because of a late delivery of provincial guidelines.

Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said at Tuesday's police services board meeting that the province's rules for any department wanting to increase their amount of the stun guns were expected in October.

"(In August) they announced the expansion of that, but they also announced that there would be guidelines associated with the deployment, the training," he said.

"We are going to take our time now, review those guidelines and work with the board to put a report together for their consideration in the new year." 

Bordeleau had previously said he wanted to have a report ready for the police services board in January, a date that still falls in his given window of the first three months of 2014.

Province loosened rules after shooting

Ottawa's police chief said he would like to equip 300 more front-line officers with Tasers or other stun guns, which were previously limited to tactical officers of supervisors with at least 10 years of experience.

After the fatal shooting of a Toronto teenager in a streetcar this summer, the Ontario government said it would be loosening those rules on so-called conducted energy weapons.

On average, Ottawa police officers have used stun guns 18 times per year, with 2008's 27 uses the highest ever.

There have been 16 stun gun deployments as of August this year.

Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said they'll keep working to find more "efficiencies" in their budget.

Police budget approved by board

Money for the stun guns, around $2,000 each, would have come from the Ottawa police's $500,000 equipment budget, which covers everything from printers to pistols.

Bordeleau was speaking at the police board's meeting to approve their 2014 budget, which at $263.9 million is $4.5 million more than last year.

The 1.99 per cent increase follows the directive from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to keep tax increases below two per cent.

If approved, it would result in a tax increase of $11 annually for the city's average homeowner.

"It maintains the police services that our community expects, we've found $3.7 million worth of efficiencies and we've got programs in place to recover some costs and find other efficiencies as well," Bordeleau said, referring to cost savings from a move to online criminal record checks and crime reporting, for example.

Watson called it a "very solid" budget after it was approved by the board.

It now moves to city council on Wednesday. 


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