On her way out the door, Attorney General Anne Milgram has amended the use of force policy to include the use of taser guns by New Jersey law enforcement officers under certain circumstances. The use of taser guns will be limited to circumstances involving emotionally disturbed suspects. Emotionally disturbed, for taser purposes, is defined as mentally ill or temporarily mentally deranged and presents the threat of serious bodily harm to police, himself, or others.
In addition, not all law officers will be allowed to carry the weapons. The number of officers allowed to carry be determined by the size of the police force and the population of the municipality. Additionally, there will be a certification process and training program implemented.
The Taser gun is considered a “less deadly” weapon, and in theory, will cut down on the number of lethal confrontations between law enforcement and others. It will also apparently increase officer safety.
From my perspective, there is a fundamental flaw with the policy in that officers left making on the spot decision as to whether a suspect is “mentally ill.” For example, highly intoxicated suspect may be of no threat but appear to fit within this definition. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but I have two predictions…..pain….as Clubber Lang would say…and numerous questionable applications of Taser force.