On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, the Dallas City Council approved a proposal that would allow every single Dallas police officer to carry a taser. The police department also announced that it would be replacing its old stun guns, which totaled approximately 700, with new and improved tasers in an amount of 2,250—a $3.5 million expenditure. And most recently, in late April of 2015, Dallas police officers were granted more leniencies in regard to when the use of their tasers is allowed.
New Polices Change Taser Rules
The new polices will change the rules regarding when police officers are allowed to use their tasers. Currently, officers can only use a taser if they have reason to believe that the person they’re arresting is likely to harm them, of if they’re currently involved in a physical or violent confrontation.
The new edict, though, will allow Dallas officers to use their tasers well before a confrontation ever escalates that could result in officer harm. Now, officers can taser someone who is resisting arrest physically—a vague term that has lead to a number of questions in recent months over officers’ and suspects’ rights.
Tasers a Serious Weapon
While the public may regard tasers as a good alternative to shooting a person who is attempting to harm a police officer, the truth is that tasers can cause serious—and even fatal—harm. In 2006, for example, a 23-year-old man was killed by a taser’s shock. Some people argue that allowing police officers to use tasers with such latitude is unnecessary, and that the use of a taser should be continued to be reserved for situations where the officer is in imminent danger of physical harm.
The new tasers that were bought by the police department last year are designed to release a victim from shock after a five second period, reportedly making them slightly safer. However, Peter Williamson, a California-based lawyer, disagrees. Williamson told Dallas News reporters that the policy change was “laughable,” and that the new tasers should be limited in use.
Taser Policies in Houston and Other Areas of Texas
The new taser policy is unique to Dallas. However, it’s unknown whether or not other police departments throughout the state will follow suit. The Houston Police Department has already started to replace its old stun guns, investing $9.5 million over a five-year period (beginning in 2013) for a total of 4,500 new tasers. Other Texas county police departments, though, including departments in Burleson, Crowley, Mansfield, and Richland Hills, banned taser use in September of 2013.
Taser Use and Arrest – When You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for DWI, drug charges, theft crimes, felony charges, a misdemeanor crime, capital murder, or family violence in Houston, you need an attorney. If you were arrested in a manner that you believe violated your constitutional rights, or if a taser was wrongfully used against you, a defense attorney is even more essential.
At The Hill Law Firm, our attorneys can help you to build up your defense to have the charges against you dropped or reduced. To learn more about our strategy and why you need us on your side, call us at (713) 623-8312 today.