BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Use of non-lethal force is changing in Baltimore. Police Commissioner Davis is now speaking out about the use of tasers by his officers, following a report by our media partner, the Baltimore Sun. Commissioner Davis says the numbers are out of date and out of context.
Commissioner Davis says his department has made major strides in the last year, but that data from two years ago doesn’t show.
“Sometimes, tasers are used when they shouldn’t be used,” he says.
The report shows a 10-percent jump in taser use by Baltimore City Police from 2014 to 2015.
All while Maryland’s overall tasing incidents went down. During that time, Baltimore Police came under scrutiny for use of a taser on George King — who died after he was shocked five times.
“Why are these law enforcement agencies using tasers so much in instances where they really don’t need to use it,” King Family Attorney Granville Templeton.
But this July, the Baltimore Police Use of Force Policy and the Electrical Weapons policies tightened, permitting taser use on only actively aggressive people.
“We can no longer use tasers to deploy against people who are merely noncompliant. We now only use tasers to deploy against people who are displaying active aggression,” says Commissioner Davis.
The exact numbers of tasing incidents for 2016 aren’t yet available. But Commissioner Davis says they are trending down — even with more tasers on the streets.
Police issued more than 1400 tasers this year, up 28 percent, but excessive force complaints are down almost 40 percent.
Improvements, that data from 2015 just doesn’t show.
“We have gotten better and we’ve actively taken steps to get better and we’re going to keep trying and keep getting better,” says Commiss
Starting in 2017, Baltimore Police is doubling the number of mandatory training hours for its officers to 80 hours.
That’s twice the amount required by the state of Maryland.
Commissioner Davis says much of those 80 hours will be about de-escalation.
To read the full report from The Baltimore Sun CLICK HERE.