MONTPELIER, Vt - The top dogs from Taser International were in Montpelier Thursday.
“We've saved about 120,000 lives from potential death or serious injury in law enforcement confrontations,” claimed Taser International CEO Rick Smith.
Smith talked about how the tasers work and safety. His company trains law enforcement groups that purchase and use them. That includes officers deploying them on people with mental disabilities.
“Now in our training we don't go so far as saying don't use the weapon these populations because there have been numerous situations where you might have someone who is impaired but they're threatening to harm themselves or do something,” Smith said.
That’s the same issue Vermont is struggling with in developing its own policy.
“The concern was what does the officer know about that person's state of impairment,” Police Academy Director Rick Gauthier.
Rick Gauthier sits on the Law Enforcement Advisory Board, the group is in charge of creating a statewide policy for tasers. This came after the death of Macadam Mason, a Thetford man who died in 2012 after he was tased by state police.
The advisory board finished its work in November but opened it back up to review after public comments raised three main concerns.
1. Using tasers on people with impairments.
2. Measuring the voltage and amps of the taser.
3. Defining the terms when one should be used.
But this conversation won't just stay between lawmakers and law enforcement. There are two public meetings scheduled on taser use and policy.
February 27, 2014: Agenda, Minutes Details: 6-8 pm, State House Room 11, Montpelier
March 20, 2014: Agenda, Minutes Details: 6-8 pm, VSP Barracks, Derby VT