People who endanger police, or anyone else, could be in for a high-voltage surprise starting today.
Officers on the street in Saskatoon are now equipped with stun guns. Chief Clive Weighill said there will be very strict guidelines about the use of the controversial weapons and what happens after.
"It's not a come-along weapon, it's not a compliance weapon, it's not to be taken out to threaten people with. It's there as an option of almost last resort," Weighill said in an interview.
"And we've already cautioned our members it's very high on our use of force continuum. It's only to be used in the event where you've got to make a split second decision — am I going to use this, or am I going to use lethal force?"
Service has 44 weapons
Weighill said that a suspect armed with a knife is the most likely scenario where a stun gun would be used. The devices shoot electrified darts attached to cables, allowing an officer to safely disable the suspect while keeping their distance.
He said police will treat the use of a stun gun the way they handle firearms. There will be reports and investigations into each incident, and the media will be informed.
Officers will be picking up the devices at the start of their shift. Each member received 11 hours of training.