The provincial government has approved the wider use of Tasers by police, and Sudbury’s police chief is applauding the move.
Until now, only supervisors and tactical team members of the police force were able to use the weapons.
Now, all trained front line workers can carry Tasers as part of a use-of-force review by the province.
Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Service said the decision was made after carefully considering both peer-reviewed medical research and coroners’ inquest findings.
"Our police officers are trained to de-escalation first whenever possible," Madeleine Meilleur explained.
"But when that approach does not work, we need to equip our officers with another tool."
Sudbury’s police chief says this is a change police chiefs have been asking for.
Frank Elsner said it’s especially important for officers who have to respond to a call in a remote area.
"It’s really important that all officers have the availability of that instrument," he said.
"Over the last 10 years or so, there’s been no less than 12 various coroner's inquests and all of them, without exception, have all said that we should be expanding the use of conductive energy weapons."
It will be beneficial for all officers to have access to non-deadly force, Elsner said, adding that now, officers either have to use a baton or a handgun.
The change will require local police forces to pay for the equipment and training.
Elsner said for the police force in Sudbury, that could run upwards of $500,000.