SAN FRANCISCO—On November 3, the San Francisco Police Commission voted to authorize the implementation of Conductive Energy Devices (CEDS), also known as Tasers- as a use of force option in the city of San Francisco.
According to a press release from the SFPD, the Police Commission was tasked with determining whether or not to authorize the use of the devices after the 2016 U.S. Department of Justice Collaborative Reform Initiative report indicated the City and County of San Francisco should “strongly consider deploying” CEDs. The report noted the use of the devices could lead to less use of force, reduced injuries to officers and community members and fewer officer-involved shootings.
A CED is defined as a weapon designed primarily to discharge electrical impulses into a subject that will cause neuromuscular incapacitation and override the subject’s voluntary motor responses. The SFPD indicated in a CED policy draft from August 25, 2017 noted that an officer with the Police Department is not allowed to hold a firearm and CED device at the same time. In addition, if multiple officers are present, “only one officer shall activate the device on a subject. If the CED malfunctions or if both probes do not make contact with the subject, an additional officer may activate a CED if compliance from the subject has not been achieved. Officers shall coordinate which officer will activate the CED and which officer(s) will act as the cover officer(s),” stares the CED police draft. Officers are also expected to deliver a warning before using a CED device on a subject.
“CEDs are a sound, less-lethal force option that complement the de-escalation principles and techniques our officers practice every day,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. “On the behalf of the SFPD, I thank the Commissioners and their staff for their many months of hard work to facilitate analysis of and discussion about CEDs. I would also like to thank the many residents of our diverse City who provided thoughtful, articulate statements and feedback on this issue, and participated in stakeholder workgroup sessions with our officers.
We understand and acknowledge the public’s ongoing concerns about CED use. Before these devices can be deployed, it is critical that we submit a solid CED policy based on national best practices, extensive research and input from medical professionals and subject matter experts to the Commission for consideration and approval. The CED policy will be a thoughtful document developed with input from the community and will include requirements for robust training, strong supervision, reporting and accountability.”