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Restricting Use of Conducted Energy Weapons in British Columbia, Braidwood Commission, 2009

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RESTORING
PUBLIC
CONFIDENCE
Restricting the Use of Conducted
Energy Weapons in British Columbia

BRAIDWOOD COMMISSION
ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE

JUNE 2009

Access to Report
Please contact the following if you are interested in receiving a copy of the report or a
CD-ROM of the report:
Distribution Centre-Victoria
PO Box 9455 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9V7
Fax:
250 952 4559
Email: DCVCustomerSer@gov.bc.ca
URL :
http://www.bcsolutions.gov.bc.ca/opc/
For general inquiries, please call Service BC Call Centre
Hours of operation are 7:30 AM to 5 PM PST—Monday through Friday
In Victoria call:
250 387 5121
In Vancouver call:
604 660 2421
Elsewhere in BC call:
1 800 663 7867
Outside British Columbia:
1 604 660 2421
Email address:
EnquiryBC@gov.bc.ca
Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD)
In Vancouver call:
604 775 0303
Elsewhere in BC call:
1 800 661 8773

RESTORING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
_______
Restricting the Use of Conducted Energy Weapons

BRAIDWOOD COMMISSION
on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

BRITISH COLUMBIA

June 18, 2009

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Restoring public confidence: Restricting the use of conducted energy weapons
Braidwood Commission of Inquiry on Conducted Energy Weapon Use (B.C.)
The Braidwood Commission of Inquiry on Conducted Energy Weapon Use.
ISBN 978-0-7726-6151-7
Commissioner: Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C.
1. Stun guns--British Columbia--Evaluation. 2. Nonlethal weapons--British
Columbia--Evaluation. 3. Police--British Columbia--Equipment and supplies.
4. Law enforcement--British Columbia. 5. Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
6. Governmental investigations--British Columbia. I. Braidwood, T. R. II. Title:
Restoring public confidence: Restricting the use of conducted energy weapons.
HV7936.E7B72 2009

353.4'6309711

C2009-902644-9

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

Braidwood, QC, Commissions of Inquiry
980 - 1500 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, Be v6G 2z6

BRITISH
COLUMBIA

TELEPHONE 6046601203 TOLL FRIlE 1877 660 1203

I FAX

6046601207 TOLL FREE 1 8776601207

www.braidwoodillquiry.ca

June 18, 2009
The Honourable Michael de Jong
Attorney General of British Columbia
Room 234, Parliament Building
PO Box 9044 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Dear Mr. Attorney:
Braidwood Study Commission report into the use of conducted energy weapons
I am pleased to deliver to you my report and recommendations respecting the use of
conducted energy weapons in British Columbia, as provided for in section 28 of the
Public Inquiry Act, S.B.C. 2007, c. 9.
Yours very truly,

Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C.
Commissioner

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

Commissioner
Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C.

Counsel
Art Vertlieb, Q.C., Commission Counsel
Patrick McGowan, Associate Commission Counsel
Keith Hamilton, Policy Counsel
Sharon Samuels, Research Counsel
Dolores Holmes, Advisor

Staff
Avramenko, Lisa, Legal and Policy Researcher
Chan, Jennifer, Legal and Policy Researcher
Cheung, Christine, Administration Assistant
Cutler, Erin, Legal and Policy Researcher
Flannigan, Jenna, Legal and Policy Researcher
Gilbride, Bridget, Legal and Policy Researcher
McKeachie, Jessica, Legal and Policy Researcher
Morgan, Jennifer, Empirical Research Assistant
Perra, Leo, Executive Director
Ryan, Cynthia, Research Librarian and Documents Manager
Ryan, Karen, Empirical Research Manager
Shaw, Jacquelyn, Legal and Policy Researcher
Stooshnov, Cathy, Manager, Finance and Administration
Whitaker, Ian, Legal Student Researcher
Yuen, Jeffrey, Legal and Policy Researcher

Contractors
Kingdon, Scott, Webmaster
Freimond, Chris, Media communications
McEachern, Melanie, Transcription and media services
Rainaldi, Linda, Editor
Rowlands, Christine, Proofreader

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS........................... 1
A.
B.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY...................................................................... 5
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS...................................................... 19

PART 2: THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY............................................... 27
A.
B.
C.
D.

THE COMMISSION.......................................................................... 31
PUBLIC FORUMS ........................................................................... 36
RESEARCH PROGRAMS .................................................................... 40
THE COMMISSION’S REPORT ............................................................. 43

PART 3: CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ............................................ 45
A.
B.

HISTORY OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS......................................... 49
TASER® INTERNATIONAL, INC. .......................................................... 50

PART 4: THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK ............................................ 57
A.
B.
C.

USE OF FORCE BY POLICE OFFICERS—THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK.................... 61
CURRENT REGULATION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ....................... 72
COURT DECISIONS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ......................... 83

PART 5: BC POLICE DEPARTMENTS’ POLICIES ON
CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ........................................ 89
A.
B.
C.
D.

INTRODUCTION............................................................................ 93
THE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM........................................................ 94
POLICIES ON USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS..............................104
CONCLUSIONS ............................................................................116

PART 6: TRAINING ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ..................... 119
A.
B.
C.
D.

INTRODUCTION...........................................................................123
TRAINING MATERIALS....................................................................123
ASPECTS OF TRAINING ..................................................................125
CONCLUSIONS ............................................................................141

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART 7: INCIDENCE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA....................................................... 145
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.

INTRODUCTION...........................................................................149
THE INTRODUCTION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ..........................149
MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS ....................................................151
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE..................................................169
TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE...........................................................171
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF SERVICES ........................................................171
PROVINCIAL CORRECTIONS BRANCH ..................................................175

PART 8: RECENT REPORTS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ............ 181
A.

RECENT REPORTS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE.........................185

PART 9: MEDICAL RISKS ............................................................... 213
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.

INTRODUCTION...........................................................................217
CARDIAC RISKS ...........................................................................219
RESPIRATORY RISKS .....................................................................242
METABOLIC RISKS ........................................................................245
MENTAL ILLNESS .........................................................................246
SUBJECTS WITH OTHER VULNERABILITIES ...........................................264
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HOW THE WEAPON IS USED ..............................266
THE IMPACT OF WEAPON USE ON INJURIES AND FATALITIES......................272

PART 10: RECOMMENDATIONS......................................................... 285
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
J.
K.
L.
M.

INTRODUCTION...........................................................................289
GUIDING PRINCIPLES ....................................................................289
DO WE HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT
CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS? ......................................................291
SHOULD BC ALLOW USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS?.....................293
THRESHOLDS FOR USE ..................................................................294
MULTIPLE DEPLOYMENTS ...............................................................311
OTHER PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES...................................................314
PROVINCIAL REGULATION ..............................................................318
TRAINING AND RE-TRAINING ...........................................................319
CERTIFICATION AND TESTING OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS...............321
REPORTING ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE................................325
THE NEED FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ..................................................329
FUTURE REVIEW..........................................................................332

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART 11: RCMP COMPLIANCE WITH PROVINCIAL REGULATION .................. 335
APPENDICES ............................................................................. 341
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.

Terms of Reference ...............................................................................343
List of Submitters .................................................................................345
Bibliography for Part 9: Medical Risks..........................................................349
Provincial Standards for Municipal Police Departments in
British Columbia ...................................................................................359
British Columbia Law Enforcement Agencies:
Comparisons of Use-of-Force and CEW Policies ..............................................363
British Columbia Law Enforcement Agencies:
Comparisons of CEW Training Policies and Practices ........................................397
Use of CEW by Municipal Police Agencies in BC ..............................................457
Use of CEW by the Sheriff Services in BC ......................................................505
Use of CEW by Provincial Corrrections in BC..................................................523

GLOSSARY................................................................................ 543
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1:
Table 2:
Table 3:
Table 4:
Table 5:
Table 6:
Table 7:
Table 8:
Table 9:
Table 10:
Table 11:
Table 12:
Table 13:
Table 14:

Delivered charge of M26 and X26 models............................................... 56
Abnormal electrical characteristics of tested X26 weapons ......................... 79
Municipal police departments in British Columbia .................................... 93
Inventory of CEWs by municipal police department, by year ......................154
Ratio between policing agencies’ authorized strength and number
of conducted energy weapons in their inventory.....................................155
Frequency of conducted energy weapon deployment ...............................158
Per capita CEW deployment by municipal police departments (2006)............160
Types of incidents resulting in conducted energy weapon deployment ..........161
Subject behaviours/actions ..............................................................162
Instances of single mode of deployment...............................................163
Method of CEW use by highest level of subject resistance .........................166
Number of weapons in use and number of weapon incidents, 2001-2007 ........173
Severity of injuries associated with conducted energy weapon use ..............278
In-custody deaths per 100,000 arrests, before and after deployment of
conducted energy weapons ..............................................................281

LIST OF GRAPHS
Graph 1:
Graph 2:

Increase in CEWs and CEW deployments, 1998-2007 ................................157
Increase in CEW deployments for four municipal police departments............159

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Graph 3:
Graph 4:
Graph 5:
Graph 6:
Graph 7:
Graph 8:
Graph 9:

Arrest-related officer injuries in Vancouver Police Department ..................273
Ratio of number of VPD officer injuries to authorized strength ...................274
WorkSafe BC injury claims by police officers .........................................275
WorkSafe BC injury claims by correctional service officers ........................275
WorkSafe BC injury claims by sheriffs and bailiffs ...................................276
Number of police-shooting deaths in British Columbia ..............................280
Number of police-shooting deaths in British Columbia, per capita ...............280

LIST OF DIAGRAMS
Diagram 1: National Use of Force Framework ....................................................... 95
Diagram 2: Incident Management/Intervention Model ............................................. 99
Diagram 3: Revised Incident Management/Intervention Model ..................................102

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

Part 1
Executive Summary
and Recommendations

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

2

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.............................................................. 5
Introduction .......................................................................................... 5
The Commission of Inquiry ......................................................................... 5
Conducted energy weapons........................................................................ 6
The regulatory framework ......................................................................... 7
Policies on conducted energy weapon use ...................................................... 8
Training on conducted energy weapon use...................................................... 9
Use of conducted energy weapons in British Columbia ...................................... 11
Medical risks......................................................................................... 13
Recommendations .................................................................................. 16

B.

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS.............................................. 19
Seriousness of the matter threshold ............................................................ 19
Subject behaviour threshold...................................................................... 19
Emotionally disturbed people .................................................................... 19
Subject self-harm .................................................................................. 20
Multiple deployments .............................................................................. 20
Requesting paramedic assistance ................................................................ 20
Automated external defibrillators ............................................................... 21
Provincial regulation ............................................................................... 21
Training and re-training ........................................................................... 21
Certification of conducted energy weapons ................................................... 22
Periodic testing of conducted energy weapons................................................ 22
Testing after a serious injury or death.......................................................... 22
Reporting on conducted energy weapon use................................................... 23
Further research.................................................................................... 23
Future review ....................................................................................... 24
RCMP compliance with provincial regulation .................................................. 24

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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A. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Introduction
Conducted energy weapons, for the past decade, have been used widely by law
enforcement agencies in British Columbia, across Canada, and internationally. They
are designed to achieve control over a subject through pain compliance (when used in
push-stun mode) or through neuromuscular incapacitation (when used in probe mode).
In October 2007, at the Vancouver International Airport, an officer of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police used a conducted energy weapon (CEW) against Mr. Robert
Dziekanski, who died within minutes. Public reaction to this incident was immediate
and intense and, at a more general level, concern was expressed about the
deployment and use of conducted energy weapons by policing bodies in British
Columbia. In response to this public concern, the provincial government appointed me
to conduct two separate inquiries under the new Public Inquiry Act.

The Commission of Inquiry
I was appointed as sole Commissioner on February 15, 2008, under the Public Inquiry
Act to conduct a study commission to inquire into and report on the use of conducted
energy weapons by provincially regulated law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff
Services Division and the Corrections Branch.1 My terms of reference (set out in
Appendix A) were to:
• Review the current rules, policies and procedures applicable to constables,
sheriffs and correctional officers respecting their use of conducted energy
weapons, including their training and re-training;

Throughout this document we have provided website references, though it must be kept in mind that they
may change over time or become unavailable. They are up to date as of May 21, 2009. Wherever
possible, we have provided references to the original documents.
1 The second aspect of my mandate, to inquire into the circumstances of and relating to the death of
Robert Dziekanski, will be the subject of a second report that will be published following evidentiary
hearings that commenced in Vancouver, BC, on January 19, 2009.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

• Review research, studies, reports and evaluations respecting the safety and
effectiveness of conducted energy weapons when used in policing and law
enforcement; and
• Make recommendations respecting the appropriate use of conducted energy
weapons, including appropriate training and re-training.
The Commission convened for 15 days of informal, non-adversarial public forums in
May and June 2008, at which 61 people made presentations. They represented a wide
range of commercial, engineering, medical, mental health, law enforcement, civilian
oversight, political, non-governmental, and personal interests. Contemporaneously,
Commission researchers explored a variety of medical, scientific, legal, and policy
issues, and conducted a detailed empirical analysis of every BC law enforcement
agency’s use of conducted energy weapons.2

Conducted energy weapons
The only brand of conducted energy weapon authorized for use by law enforcement
agencies in British Columbia is manufactured by TASER International, Inc. According
to the manufacturer, 350,000 officers in over 12,750 agencies in 45 countries have
deployed the weapon in field uses approximately 547,000 times. In addition,
approximately 680,000 human volunteers have been exposed to the weapon, most
during police recruit training.
The newest model of the weapon, the TASER X26®, emits 19 electrical pulses per
second, each pulse lasting approximately 100 microseconds (100 millionths of a
second). It has a peak output current of 3 amperes and, according to the
manufacturer, 2.1 milliamps average. When used in push-stun mode, the nose of the
weapon is pressed against the subject’s skin. When the trigger is pressed, the
electrical current jumps between two electrodes in the nose of the weapon, causing
intense pain in the subject’s muscles in that area. When used in probe mode, the
2 BC law enforcement agencies examined by the Commission included: 11 municipal police departments
providing policing services in 12 municipalities, the RCMP (that acts as the provincial police force in the
remainder of the province), the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service
(Transit Authority Police), the provincial Sheriff Services Division, the provincial Corrections Branch (Adult
Custody Division), the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Force, and the Kitasoo-Xaixais Public Safety Department.

6

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

weapon fires two darts with barbed tips, which are intended to imbed in the subject’s
skin. The electrical current, conducted from the weapon through wires attached to
the darts, spreads out more and goes deeper into the body. In addition to the intense
pain, it causes neuromuscular incapacitation. In both modes, each cycle of electrical
current lasts five seconds.

The regulatory framework
Under Canada’s Criminal Code, a conducted energy weapon is classified as a
prohibited weapon, with the result that only law enforcement officers may possess the
weapon. By contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
does not classify it as a firearm because it uses compressed nitrogen rather than
gunpowder as the propellant, with the result that the weapon is unregulated and is
sold on the retail market.
In Canada, conducted energy weapons have been imported and sold to law
enforcement agencies without any prior regulatory approval under the federal
Hazardous Products Act, and without any certification by the Canadian Standards
Association (which would denote compliance with national and international standards
for electrical safety).
In British Columbia, no provincially regulated law enforcement agency requires
periodic testing of all its conducted energy weapons, or testing of a specific weapon
when there has been a death or serious injury proximate to weapon use. However, in
late 2008 all these agencies announced that they had agreed to withdraw from service
all weapons acquired before 2006 for independent testing, following a Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation-commissioned analysis of 44 weapons that concluded that
four weapons had peak currents 47–58 percent higher than the values specified by the
manufacturer.
In British Columbia, neither legislation nor regulation deals specifically with conducted
energy weapons, although the Police Act empowers the Director of Police Services to
make recommendations to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General on the

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

use of force by police officers (including training), and authorizes the Lieutenant
Governor in Council to make regulations on the use of force. Although the Use of
Force Regulation contains a definition for “intermediate weapon” that includes
conducted energy weapons, the Regulation does not specify which weapons (if any)
are approved. Rather, the Regulation leaves it up to the director and each chief
constable to approve the use of an intermediate weapon, which lacks transparency
and leaves open the possibility of inconsistent application across the province.
Further, there is no provincial regulation specifying when a conducted energy weapon
may be used. The Use of Force Regulation delegates to each police force the
responsibility to develop a use-of-force model and written policy, and leaves it up to
the director to approve each police force’s model, without establishing any criteria to
guide the police force or the director.

Policies on conducted energy weapon use
In British Columbia, 11 municipal police departments provide policing in 12
municipalities. The remaining cities and towns, and all rural areas (comprising 70
percent of the province’s residents) are policed by the RCMP, which has contracted
with the province to act as the provincial police force.
In 1999, use-of-force trainers from across Canada and the United States developed a
National Use of Force Framework (NUFF). The framework is not binding on municipal
police departments, although the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police endorsed it
as a framework from which law enforcement agencies could build their own use-offorce policies or standards. The RCMP developed a similar framework, called the
Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM). Both models divide subject
behaviours into five categories—cooperative, passive resistant, active resistant,
assaultive, and grievous bodily harm/death (GBH/death). Both models permit the use
of intermediate weapons (including conducted energy weapons) in the face of active
resistance, which they define as the subject using non-assaultive physical action, such
as pulling away, pushing away, or running away, to resist. The RCMP’s Incident

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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Management/Intervention Model must now be read in light of its February 2009 policy
amendment, which states: “The CEW must only be used in accordance with CEW
training, the principles of the Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM) and in
response to a threat to officer or public safety as determined by a member’s
assessment of the totality of the circumstances being encountered.”
The Commission undertook a detailed analysis of each law enforcement agency’s
policies respecting conducted energy weapon usage, on issues including weapon
designation, training, circumstances in which a weapon should not be used, predeployment considerations, categories of subject behaviour that justify deployment,
types of deployment, multiple discharges, post-deployment considerations, reporting
on weapon use, and administration. From this review I reached several conclusions:
• There is a troubling lack of consistency in the law enforcement agencies’
policies respecting conducted energy weapon use. This has occurred because
of a lack of leadership at the provincial level in developing province-wide
standards for all aspects of weapon use, with the result that each police
agency has had to develop its own policy.
• Although the policies of all agencies, when viewed collectively, appear to
identify all the issues that should be covered in policy, no one agency’s
policies come close to doing so. In addition, they fail to differentiate
between which matters should be addressed in policy and which matters
should be assigned to training.

Training on conducted energy weapon use
The Justice Institute’s Police Academy provides recruit training for all municipal police
departments and other justice-related agencies such as the Corrections Branch and
the Sheriff Services Division. Until 2006 it trained all police recruits in the use of
conducted energy weapons, which ensured province-wide consistency. However, in
that year the Vancouver Police Department decided that it did not want all its recruits
trained in conducted energy weapon use and since the VPD’s recruits accounted for
approximately half of all Academy students, the Police Academy withdrew from
training any police recruits in conducted energy weapon use. Responsibility for this

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

aspect of recruit training devolved to individual municipal police departments,
regardless of size or training expertise.
Commission researchers analyzed every law enforcement agency’s training materials.
Ten of these agencies (seven municipal police departments and three other agencies)
rely exclusively on the manufacturer’s training materials—some of these rely on earlier
versions, going back as far as 2004. The training issues examined include
qualifications to take training, duration and content of training, circumstances in
which a weapon should not be used, use of a weapon on a person with a known
medical condition, pre-deployment considerations, categories of subject behaviour,
multiple deployments, post-deployment considerations, “excited delirium,” and
voluntary exposure during training. From this review, I reached several conclusions:
• There is a troubling lack of consistency in the law enforcement agencies’
training materials respecting conducted energy weapon use. Much of this is
an inevitable consequence of the Police Academy’s 2006 decision to
withdraw from conducted energy weapon training. British Columbians would
be much better served if one body (i.e., the Police Academy) assumed
responsibility for basic training in conducted energy weapon use, as an
integral component of use-of-force training generally.
• The law enforcement agencies’ training materials reveal confusion about
what matters properly fall within the ambit of training and what should be
dealt with as policy. Training should focus on how, and policy should focus
on when.
• It is the responsibility of the provincial government to set policy on such
matters as qualifications of trainers, content and duration of training and recertification requirements, what threshold of subject behaviour must be met
before deployment is appropriate, circumstances in which a weapon should
never be deployed, and when multiple discharges are appropriate. It then
becomes the responsibility of trainers to train in the use of these weapons,
within that policy framework.
• There is an inappropriately high degree of dependence on the
manufacturer’s training materials, even among those agencies who profess to
have developed “vendor-neutral” training materials. Law enforcement
agencies should not rely on the manufacturer’s materials when they
encroach into policy areas or topics of medical risks that may be under
dispute.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Use of conducted energy weapons in British Columbia
In 1999, the Attorney General authorized municipal police departments to use
conducted energy weapons, after a six-month field study by the Victoria Police
Department. Approval was based on assurances that the weapon was absolutely safe
to use, the weapon had been thoroughly researched and would be used sparingly—
where the subject was assaultive or combative, a threat to themselves, the police, or
some other person.
By 2001, all 11 municipal police departments were using the weapon, and it was
subsequently authorized for use by the RCMP (2001), Sheriff Services Division (2001),
Corrections Branch (2003), and Transit Authority Police (2007).
Commission researchers examined every reported use of a conducted energy weapon
by every provincially regulated law enforcement agency from the time the weapon
was first authorized for use, to the end of 2007.
Municipal police departments deployed the weapon at least 1,397 times, although
the actual number of deployments may be much higher (up to twice as many). The
number of deployments has increased at a rate faster than the increase in the number
of weapons. There were surprising variations in the frequency of deployments by
individual police departments, ranging from a low of 5.2 deployments per 100,000
population, to a high of 130.7.
The weapon was most frequently used when police responded to calls concerning
suicide attempt/self-injurious behaviour (19.8 percent); violence/threat of violence
(17); disturbance (15.3); drug/alcohol intoxication (12.4); and emotionally disturbed
persons (10.7). Subject behaviours frequently included active resistance, alcohol/drug
intoxication, assaultive behaviour, and to a lesser degree, yelling and verbal
aggression/threats. When the type of weapon deployment (including use in display
mode only) was matched against the highest level of resistance by a subject, it was
revealed that officers deployed the weapon more than 160 times when the subject
was being cooperative or displaying passive resistance (neither of which justifies

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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PART 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

deployment), 485 times for active resistance, 669 times for assaultive behaviour, and
19 times when there was a risk of grievous bodily harm or death to the police officer
(when lethal force is authorized).
In two cases, the subjects died during or after an incident involving deployment of a
conducted energy weapon. In 336 incidents (24 percent), the subject suffered a
weapon-related injury. Although nearly all of these injuries were minor, eight
subjects suffered more serious injuries, including lung collapse, loss of consciousness
from falling on head while incapacitated, facial wounds, broken ankle, and probe dart
imbedded in clavicle bone. In 6 percent of cases, a police officer suffered some type
of injury, a quarter of which involved broken fingers, knee injuries, back injuries, or
exposure to infectious disease. In one-third of cases, provincial ambulance attendants
examined the subject at the scene, although that percentage varied widely (0 to 71
percent) among police departments.
RCMP officers deployed the weapon on at least 1,466 occasions, although this is
almost certainly a significant undercount. The distribution of incident types was
similar to municipal police departments, although cases involving alcohol or drugs
were higher (82 vs. 62 percent), as were cases involving weapons (35 vs. 20 percent).
Six subjects died during or after deployment of a conducted energy weapon.
Transit Authority Police deployed the weapon six times in 2007. In all cases, the
subject’s behaviour met the active resistance level, but in three cases the active
resistance consisted of fleeing from police after being stopped for a fare check.
Sheriff Services Division officers, who are responsible for court security and escort
and detention of prisoners, used the weapon 127 times between 2001 and 2007. The
types of events that occasioned use of the weapon were extraction from or placement
into a cell (42 percent), prisoner transfer (17), cell search (9), prisoner search (9), and
“other” (24). The most commonly identified subject behaviours were active
resistance, verbal aggression, assaultive, violence or threatened violence, agitation,
and yelling. In 80 percent of cases, compliance was achieved through display of the
weapon, without actually discharging it.

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Corrections Branch officers (Adult Custody Division) are responsible for the custody of
persons remanded for trial, persons sentenced to imprisonment, and persons detained
by immigration authorities. Between 2003 and 2007, the weapon was deployed 149
times. In 77 percent of cases, compliance was achieved either by warning or display,
without actual discharge. A weapon was used to assist in cell extraction (48 percent),
cell entry (17), lock-up (11), cell extraction and escort (9), escort (7), intake (6), and
hostage-taking (1). The most commonly identified subject behaviours were active
resistance, smashing/damaging property, verbal aggression, assaultive, and violence
or threatened violence. In 20 percent of cases, the subject was armed with a weapon.

Medical risks
Since 2003, 25 people in Canada, including eight in British Columbia, have died after a
conducted energy weapon was deployed against them. According to Amnesty
International, more than 300 people have died in the United States in similar
circumstances.
In an attempt to understand the role, if any, that the weapon might play in such
deaths, Commission researchers studied the medical literature, including controlled
studies involving deployment of the weapon on animals and human volunteers. I also
invited medical experts in emergency medicine, cardiology, electrophysiology,
pathology, epidemiology, psychology, and psychiatry to make presentations during our
public forums.
If a conducted energy weapon can cause or contribute to death, the most likely
ultimate cause of death is ventricular fibrillation, in which the weapon’s electrical
current triggers a chaotic rhythm of the heart’s two ventricles. The heart beats at
200–300 beats per minute, it cannot pump blood, and the subject will, if not
defibrillated, lose consciousness within 5–10 seconds and will die within 10 minutes.
From my review, I concluded that, even in the case of people with healthy hearts:
• An external electrical current can overtake the human body’s internal
electrical system, resulting in ventricular capture, which may lead to
ventricular tachycardia and, in some cases, ventricular fibrillation.

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• There is evidence that the electrical current from a conducted energy
weapon is capable of triggering ventricular capture.
• Based on animal studies, I am satisfied that the greatest risk of ventricular
fibrillation arises when the probes are vectored across the heart, and that
the risk of ventricular fibrillation increases as the tips of the probes get
closer to the wall of the heart.
• There is a short “window” during the heart’s normal beat cycle (the T-wave),
when the heart is most vulnerable to an external electrical shock. However,
this narrow window does not apply to rapid ventricular capture causing
ventricular tachycardia, which may degenerate into ventricular fibrillation.
• Although there is often a lack of physical evidence on autopsy to determine
whether arrhythmia was the cause of death, if a person dies suddenly and
from no obvious cause after being subjected to a conducted energy weapon,
death is almost certainly due to an arrhythmia.
The risk of ventricular fibrillation increases significantly in several circumstances—if
the subject has cardiovascular disease or in thin subjects who have a smaller skin-toheart distance. The intense pain, coupled with anxiety and stress, can cause an
outpouring of adrenaline that can stimulate the heart and lead to dangerous
arrhythmias. Skeletal muscle contractions can lead to acidosis, which affects the
electrolyte balance, making the heart more susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.
Also, an electrical current coinciding with the T-wave peak may induce fibrillation
with a threshold 25 or more times lower than at other times in the heartbeat cycle.
Finally, there are several risks associated with deployment against a subject who is
wearing an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator.
Several researchers have raised concerns that the electrical current from a conducted
energy weapon may induce spasm in the muscles of respiration (diaphragm and
intercostal muscles), interfering with the subject’s ability to breathe. This could, in
the case of prolonged deployment, lead to acute respiratory failure or acidosis. The
body’s natural response to acidosis is to hyperventilate, which can be frustrated if the
subject is lying face down, if pressure is applied to the chest or neck area, or if the
officers’ attempt to restrain the subject results in the subject struggling. The
weapon’s electrical current might also cause muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), which
can lead to cardiac arrest or acute renal (kidney) failure.

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Based on the presentations of psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, and
emergency medicine physicians, I concluded that:
• Police officers are called upon, with increasing regularity, to deal with
emotionally disturbed people who display extreme behaviours, including
violence, imperviousness to pain, superhuman strength and endurance,
hyperthermia, sweating, and perceptual disturbances.
• Such emotionally disturbed people are often at an impaired level of
consciousness; may not know who they are or where they are; may be
delusional, anxious, or frightened; and may be unable to process or comply
with an officer’s commands.
• This cluster of behaviours is not a medical condition or a diagnosis. They are
symptoms of underlying medical conditions that, in extreme cases, may
constitute a medical emergency.
• The officer’s challenge is not to make a medical diagnosis, but to decide how
to deal with the observable behaviours, whatever the underlying cause.
• It is not helpful to blame resulting deaths on “excited delirium,” since this
conveniently avoids having to examine the underlying medical condition or
conditions that actually caused death, let alone examining whether use of
the conducted energy weapon and/or subsequent measures to physically
restrain the subject contributed to those causes of death.
• The unanimous view of mental health presenters was that the best practice
is to de-escalate the agitation, which can best be achieved through the
application of recognized crisis intervention techniques. Conversely, the
worst possible response is to aggravate or escalate the crisis, such as by
deploying a conducted energy weapon and/or using force to physically
restrain the subject. It is accepted that there may be some extreme
circumstances, however rare, when crisis intervention techniques will not be
effective in de-escalating the crisis. But even then, there are steps that
officers can take to mitigate the risk of deployment.
There are other risks associated with how the weapon is deployed, such as when the
subject is driving or operating machinery, or may fall from a height or fall in water
and drown. In addition, I concluded that multiple deployments increase the medical
risks discussed above.
Several studies have attempted to determine whether the use of conducted energy
weapons reduce injuries and deaths to subjects and officers. I concluded that the

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results are, to date, inconclusive—it is notoriously difficult to isolate a particular
weapon’s impact on injuries and deaths, when so many variables are at play.

Recommendations
In developing my recommendations, I was guided by several principles—that the police
are subject to civilian authority, that the police must be given appropriate tools to do
their job, that the police should use the least force necessary to manage the risk, and
that the use of force must be proportionate to the seriousness of the situation.
I was satisfied that, notwithstanding the inadequacy of the medical research
conducted to date, we as a society know enough about conducted energy weapons to
make important decisions relating to their use. Conducted energy weapons do have
the capacity (even in healthy adult subjects) to cause heart arrhythmia, which can
lead to ventricular tachycardia and/or fibrillation, which if not treated immediately,
can cause death, and that risk increases in certain circumstances. However, there are
ways to ameliorate those risks and there is no doubt that in the great majority of
deployments, the weapon is effective. On balance, I concluded that our society is
better off with these weapons in use than without them. However, my support for
their use is conditional on significant changes being made in when, and the way in
which, the weapon is deployed.
In the same way that proportionality dictates that the punishment must fit the crime,
a fairly high “subject matter” threshold should be set for deployment of a conducted
energy weapon. It should not be used to enforce municipal bylaws, provincial laws,
and federal regulatory laws, but only truly criminal offences.
With respect to a “subject behaviour” threshold, I concluded that the behaviours
caught in the definition of “active resistance” (the current threshold) are not
egregious enough to warrant deployment of a weapon that is designed to inflict
intense pain and to totally incapacitate the subject, given the medical risks,
proportionality concerns, and my sense of Canadian values—it would embarrass me as
a Canadian to watch a police officer deploy a conducted energy weapon against a

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subject, even one under investigation for a criminal offence, for merely walking or
running away from the officer. Neither was I satisfied with the RCMP’s new threshold
of a “threat to officer or public safety,” nor with the “assaultive behaviour” threshold
recommended in several recent reports. Although the definitions for “assaultive
behaviour” in both use-of-force continuums can be traced back to the Criminal Code’s
language for common assault, they also justify use of the weapon when there has been
only an attempted common assault, and even when no criminal offence has been
committed. I concluded that the subject behaviour threshold should be met when the
subject is causing bodily harm or the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that
the subject’s behaviour will imminently cause bodily harm. Even then, an officer
should not deploy the weapon unless satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that no lesser
force option would be effective, and de-escalation and/or crisis intervention
techniques would not be effective. That is particularly important when dealing with
an emotionally disturbed subject.
Given the increased medical risks associated with multiple or prolonged deployments
of the weapon, I concluded that officers should be required to stop after the first fivesecond deployment and reassess the situation.
I also concluded that paramedic assistance should be requested in every medically
high-risk situation, such as deployment in probe mode across the chest or for longer
than five seconds, and when dealing with subjects who are emotionally disturbed,
elderly, pregnant, or medically vulnerable. In addition, every officer who has a
conducted energy weapon should have an automated external defibrillator readily
available for use.
The provincial government should exercise its unquestioned legislative authority to set
province-wide standards relating to conducted energy weapons, on issues such as
approval of specific weapon models, the circumstances in which the weapon may (or
must not) be used, qualifications, training, and mandatory reporting on weapon use.
One agency, the Police Academy within the Justice Institute, should be responsible for

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training officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies in the use of
conducted energy weapons, and that training should emphasize the medical risks.
Every conducted energy weapon in use should be periodically tested for electrical
output, as should a specific weapon when there has been a death or serious injury
proximate to use of that weapon.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General needs to strengthen the reporting
requirements relating to conducted energy weapon usage, and that data needs to be
regularly reviewed for the purposes of informing the development of policy and
training. The ministry, and each law enforcement agency, should publish regular
reports on weapon use. The ministry should also encourage other provinces and
territories, and the federal government, to develop and fund a national research
program for conducted energy weapons.
This Report is a starting point, not the final chapter on conducted energy weapons. I
recommended that the Legislative Assembly ensure that a comprehensive review be
conducted after three years, to determine the extent to which my recommendations
have been implemented, to examine new information about medical risks and new
models of weapons, and to make any necessary recommendations about weapon use
and training.
Finally, I expressed concern that because the RCMP (which polices 70 percent of
British Columbians) is regulated federally, the provincial government has very limited
constitutional authority over the RCMP’s internal management and administration. I
concluded that, as a precondition to the province renewing its policing agreements
with the RCMP in 2012, the minister require that the RCMP contractually agree to
comply with the rules, policies, and procedures respecting conducted energy weapons
that are applicable to provincially regulated law enforcement agencies.

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B. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Seriousness of the matter threshold
1.

I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies

be authorized to deploy a conducted energy weapon only in relation to enforcement of
a federal criminal law.

Subject behaviour threshold
2.

I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies

be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy weapon unless the subject’s
behaviour meets one of the following thresholds:
• the subject is causing bodily harm; or
• the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s behaviour
will imminently cause bodily harm.
3.

I recommend that, even if the threshold set out in Recommendation 2 is met,

an officer be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy weapon unless the officer
is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that:
• no lesser force option has been, or will be, effective in eliminating the risk
of bodily harm; and
• de-escalation and/or crisis intervention techniques have not been or will not
be effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm.

Emotionally disturbed people
4.

I recommend that the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General approve a

curriculum for crisis intervention training comparable to that recommended by
presenters at our public forums, and require:
• that it be incorporated without delay in recruit training for officers of
provincially regulated law enforcement agencies; and
• that all currently serving officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies satisfactorily complete the training within a time frame established
by the ministry.

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5.

I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies,

when dealing with emotionally disturbed people, be required to use de-escalation
and/or crisis intervention techniques before deploying a conducted energy weapon,
unless they are satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that such techniques will not be
effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm.

Subject self-harm
6.

I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies

be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy weapon in the case of subject selfharm unless:
• the subject is causing bodily harm to himself or herself; or
• the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s behaviour
will imminently cause bodily harm to himself or herself.

Multiple deployments
7.

I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies

be prohibited from discharging an electrical current from a conducted energy weapon
on a subject for longer than five seconds, unless the officer is satisfied, on reasonable
grounds, that:
• the five-second discharge was not effective in eliminating the risk of bodily
harm; and
• a further discharge will be effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm.

Requesting paramedic assistance
8.

I recommend that paramedic assistance be requested in every medically high-

risk situation, preferably before deployment of a conducted energy weapon or, if that
is not feasible, then as soon as practicable thereafter. Medically high-risk situations
include, but are not limited to:
• deployment in probe mode across the subject’s chest;
• deployment in probe mode for longer than five seconds;

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• deployment in any mode against:
o an emotionally disturbed person;
o an elderly person;
o a person who the officer has reason to believe is pregnant; or
o a person who the officer has reason to believe has a medical
condition that may be worsened because of the deployment (e.g.,
heart disease, implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, etc.).

Automated external defibrillators
9.

I recommend that whenever a conducted energy weapon is assigned to an

officer of a provincially regulated law enforcement agency, that the officer also have
an automated external defibrillator readily available for use.

Provincial regulation
10.

I recommend that the provincial government set province-wide standards

relating to conducted energy weapons, including, but not necessarily limited to:
• which conducted energy weapon models are approved for use;
• the circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon may, or must not, be
used;
• qualifications to begin training as an operator, instructor, or master trainer;
• the curriculum for operator, instructor, and master instructor training
programs, including content, duration, pass/fail level, remedial training, and
re-certification;
• mandatory reporting of each conducted energy weapon use, including what
information must be reported and in what form; and
• periodic province-wide analysis of usage reports, with mechanisms to ensure
that the results of such analysis inform policy development and training.

Training and re-training
11.

I recommend that the Police Academy be responsible for training officers of

provincially regulated law enforcement agencies in the use of conducted energy
weapons, as an integral component of use-of-force training generally, and that

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training be conducted in accordance with the policies established by the provincial
government, taking into consideration the medical risks discussed in this Report.
12.

I recommend that the province’s standards relating to the curriculum for

operator, instructor, and master instructor training and re-training prohibit a trainer’s
or trainee’s exposure to the electrical current of a conducted energy weapon.

Certification of conducted energy weapons
13.

I recommend that the Attorney General ask the federal minister responsible for

administration of the Hazardous Products Act:
• to add conducted energy weapons to the schedule of restricted products
under that Act; and
• to make regulations prescribing the circumstances and conditions under
which such weapons may be imported into, and sold in, Canada.

Periodic testing of conducted energy weapons
14.

I recommend that every conducted energy weapon used by officers of

provincially regulated law enforcement agencies be periodically tested for electrical
output, according to a testing protocol approved by an independent body and
according to a schedule established by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor
General, and that the test include, but not necessarily be limited to:
• the number of pulses per second;
• the duration of each pulse; and
• the maximum current during each pulse.

Testing after a serious injury or death
15.

I recommend that whenever there is a serious injury or death proximate to use

of a conducted energy weapon by an officer of a provincially regulated law
enforcement agency, the weapon be withdrawn from service and its electrical output
be tested in accordance with, and for the matters referred to in, Recommendation 14.

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Reporting on conducted energy weapon use
16.

I recommend that the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General,

without delay:
• develop a province-wide conducted energy weapon incident report form that
will capture enough information to permit the type of analysis undertaken by
this Commission, as reported in Part 7 of this Report;
• require that the report form be completed whenever an officer of a
provincially regulated law enforcement agency deploys a conducted energy
weapon, even if deployment is limited to display mode only;
• develop a province-wide electronic system for the reporting and analysis of
conducted energy weapon incidents;
• require that every completed report form be forwarded without delay to the
ministry, and that the data on the report form be entered into the provincewide electronic system;
• review reported incidents, at least quarterly, for the purposes of informing
the development of policy and training;
• publish, at least annually, a detailed report on conducted energy weapon
usage by provincially regulated law enforcement agencies; and
• require each provincially regulated law enforcement agency:
o to implement a “sign out” policy whenever a conducted energy
weapon and/or a probe cartridge is issued to an officer;
o to designate a specific employee to download the data from every
conducted energy weapon at least once every month (matching the
data relating to each deployment against the related incident
report), and to report any discrepancies to that employee’s
supervisor;
o to review the use of conducted energy weapons by its own officers
at least quarterly, to determine compliance with policy; and
o to report at least annually, to the responsible provincial minister,
and in the case of a municipal police department to the police
board, on the agency’s use of its conducted energy weapons.

Further research
17.

I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General encourage

the minister’s federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts to develop and fund a

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national research program for conducted energy weapons that will promote
independent, science-based, and peer-reviewed research that attaches priority to:
• quantifying the medical risks associated with conducted energy weapon use;
• identifying the highest-risk subjects;
• identifying the highest-risk external circumstances; and
• developing recommendations for best practices, including but not limited to:
o deployments in probe mode across the subject’s chest;
o multiple deployments; and
o emotionally disturbed people.

Future review
18.

I recommend that the Police Act be amended to require that a special

committee of the Legislative Assembly, or an individual appointed by the Legislative
Assembly, begin a comprehensive review of conducted energy weapons within three
years after this Report is made public and submit to the Legislative Assembly, within
one year after beginning the review, a report that includes, but is not necessarily
limited to:
• the extent to which the recommendations contained in this Report have been
implemented;
• new information about the medical risks associated with the use of
conducted energy weapons, including new models of weapons that have
become available since this Report was written; and
• recommendations relating to the circumstances in which it is appropriate to
use conducted energy weapons, and to training of officers in the use of such
weapons.

RCMP compliance with provincial regulation
19.

I recommend that, as a precondition to the Province of British Columbia

entering into new policing agreements with the RCMP in 2012, the provincial Minister
of Public Safety and Solicitor General require that the RCMP (in its capacity as the
provincial police force) contractually agree to comply with the rules, policies, and

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procedures respecting conducted energy weapons that are applicable to provincially
regulated law enforcement agencies.

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Part 2
The Commission of Inquiry

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A.

THE COMMISSION .................................................................. 31
1.
2.
3.
4.

B.

PUBLIC FORUMS ................................................................... 36
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

C.

Commercial interests .................................................................... 37
Electrical and biomedical engineering ................................................ 37
Medicine ................................................................................... 37
Law enforcement ......................................................................... 38
Politicians.................................................................................. 40
Non-governmental organizations....................................................... 40
Concerned citizens ....................................................................... 40

RESEARCH PROGRAMS ............................................................ 40
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

D.

Appointment of commissioner.......................................................... 31
Terms of reference....................................................................... 32
The commission team.................................................................... 34
The commission’s activities............................................................. 35

Medical and scientific issues............................................................ 41
Legal issues ................................................................................ 41
Policy analysis............................................................................. 42
Empirical research........................................................................ 42
Written submissions ...................................................................... 43

THE COMMISSION’S REPORT ..................................................... 43
1.
2.

The purpose of this Report.............................................................. 43
The minister’s responsibilities.......................................................... 44

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A. THE COMMISSION
1. Appointment of commissioner
On November 19, 2007, John Les, the provincial Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor
General, announced the government’s commitment to hold a commission of inquiry
into the circumstances surrounding the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver
International Airport on October 14, 2007, and a review of the appropriate use and
policies currently employed by police in British Columbia with respect to conducted
energy weapons.
The Minister stated at that time:3
This incident has British Columbians, Canadians and people all over the world
seeking answers with regard to not only this human tragedy, but how the
province welcomes the world to our airport. By calling a full public inquiry, we
want everyone to know that all the facts will be put on the table, we will take
action based on those facts and we will learn from this tragedy.
On February 15, 2008,4 I was appointed sole commissioner under the Public Inquiry
Act5 to conduct two separate inquiries:
• a study commission to inquire into and report on the use of conducted energy
weapons by constables, sheriffs, and authorized persons in British Columbia;
and
• a hearing and study commission to inquire into and report on the death of
Mr. Dziekanski.
When Attorney General Wally Oppal announced my appointment on February 18, he
stated:6
Given the overlapping reviews and investigations now being conducted,
combined with the jurisdictional complexity of this tragic incident, we felt it

3 See http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007PSSG0070-001490.htm.
4 See Order in Council 92, approved and ordered on February 15, 2008.
5 S.B.C. 2007, c. 9. The Public Inquiry Act can be viewed on the Commission website, at
http://www.braidwoodinquiry.ca/legislation.php.
6 See http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2008AG0006-000220-Attachment1.htm#.

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prudent to adopt a two-phased approach. The federal government has
indicated that it will co-operate.
This Report deals only with the study commission into the use of conducted energy
weapons. I will publish, at a later date, a separate report dealing with the hearing
and study commission into the death of Mr. Dziekanski at the Vancouver International
Airport.

2. Terms of reference
Section 2 of the Public Inquiry Act states that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may
establish a commission to inquire into and report on a matter that it considers to be of
public interest. When it does, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must define the
purposes of the commission, set the terms of reference of the inquiry, and designate
the commission as a study commission, a hearing commission, or both.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council designated this Commission as a study
commission.7 The parts of the Order in Council applicable to this Commission state as
follows:
THE THOMAS R. BRAIDWOOD, Q.C., COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ORDER
Definitions
1

In this Order:
“conducted energy weapon” means a weapon or device commonly
referred to as a Taser;
…
“RCMP” means the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force continued under
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (Canada).

Establishment of two commissions
2

(1) A study commission, called the Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., Study
Commission, is established under section 2 of the Public Inquiry Act to

7 The full text of the Purpose and Terms of Reference can be found in Appendix A.

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inquire into and report on the use of conducted energy weapons by the
following in the performance of their duties and the exercise of their
powers:
(a) constables of police forces of British Columbia, other than the RCMP;
(b) sheriffs under the Sheriff Act;
(c) authorized persons under the Correction Act.
….
(3) Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., is the sole commissioner of each of the
commissions established under this section.
Purposes of the commissions
3

(1) The purpose of the study commission established under section 2(1) is
to make recommendations respecting the appropriate use of conducted
energy weapons by constables, sheriffs and authorized persons referred
to in section 2(1), in the performance of their duties and the exercise of
their powers.
….

Terms of reference
4

(1) The terms of reference of the inquiries to be conducted by the study
commission established under section 2(1) are as follows:
(a) to review current rules, policies and procedures applicable to
constables, sheriffs and authorized persons referred to in section
2(1) in respect of their use of conducted energy weapons and their
training and re-training in that use:
(b) to review research, studies, reports and evaluations respecting the
safety and effectiveness of conducted energy weapons when used in
policing and law enforcement in British Columbia and in other
jurisdictions;
(c) to make recommendations respecting
(i) the appropriate use of conducted energy weapons by constables,
sheriffs and authorized persons referred to in section 2(1) in the
performance of their duties and the exercise of their powers,
and
(ii) the appropriate training or re-training of those constables,
sheriffs and authorized persons in that use of conducted energy
weapons.
(d) to submit a report to the Attorney General on or before November
30, 2008.8

8 The original Terms of Reference required that I submit my final report to the Attorney General on or
before June 30, 2008. However, by late April 2008 it became clear that this Report date was no longer

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3. The commission team
In the weeks following my appointment, I appointed Leo Perra to act as Executive
Director, and Cathy Stooshnov to act as Manager of Finance and Administration. They
both brought a wealth of administrative experience—Mr. Perra as a former president
of a regional college and executive director of several previous public inquiries, and
Ms. Stooshnov as an administrator for numerous other public inquiries since the early
1990s. Together, they secured office space for the Commission in downtown
Vancouver, hired staff, and made administrative arrangements for our public forums.
I retained as Commission Counsel Art Vertlieb, Q.C., a partner in the Vancouver law
firm of Vertlieb Dosanjh. Mr. Vertlieb brought to this task his considerable experience
as a senior civil, criminal, and administrative law litigator. I retained Patrick
McGowan as Associate Commission Counsel. Mr. McGowan is an experienced criminal
and civil law practitioner in Vancouver.
In light of the many complex scientific, medical, legal, and public policy issues arising
out of the Terms of Reference, I retained Sharon Samuels as Research Counsel. She
had served in a similar capacity in several other public inquiries since the mid-1990s.
As well, Karen Ryan managed an extensive empirical research project relating to
conducted energy weapon incident reports. I retained Keith Hamilton as Policy
Counsel. Mr. Hamilton has acted as policy counsel and principal report-writer for
numerous previous public inquiries. I also retained former Provincial Court judge,
Dolores Holmes, to provide advice.
I retained Chris Freimond, of Chris Freimond Communications Inc., as our
communications manager. He advised the Commission on matters of public and media
communications, and was the key contact person for the Commission.

realistic, given the 61 witnesses scheduled to make presentations at our public forums during May and
June 2008, and the time required to complete the Commission’s extensive research program, to formulate
my recommendations, and to draft the Commission report. Consequently, on April 28, 2008, I wrote to
the Deputy Attorney General, requesting an extension of time until December 31, 2008, to file my report.
On June 10, 2008, it was announced that the Lieutenant Governor in Council had granted an extension
until November 30, 2008. A further extension to June 30, 2009, was granted on November 28, 2008.

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A listing of the Commission staff, contractors, and consultants is included at the
beginning of this Report.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all members of the Commission
team, for the professionalism, hard work, and enthusiasm they brought to this task.
While I accept sole responsibility for the ultimate recommendations, in all other
respects it was a team effort, and all members of the team can be proud of their
contributions.

4. The commission’s activities
The Terms of Reference are exceptionally broad. They invite me to:
• review the current rules, policies, and procedures applicable to constables,
sheriffs, and correctional officers respecting their use of conducted energy
weapons, including their training and re-training;
• review research, studies, reports, and evaluations respecting the safety and
effectiveness of conducted energy weapons when used in policing and law
enforcement; and
• make recommendations respecting the appropriate use of conducted energy
weapons, including appropriate training and re-training.
It was obvious to me at the outset that my primary concern, arising from the
unfortunate events at the Vancouver International Airport and other conducted energy
weapon incidents, was an erosion of public confidence in our law enforcement
agencies.
Whatever conclusions I may reach concerning the future use of conducted energy
weapons, the most important weapon in the arsenal of the police will be public
support. Confidence can be furthered only by a completely open, public, objective
process, where the premier experts in their relevant fields can present their views.
To address my mandate, I developed a two-pronged approach. In order to further my
own understanding of the complexities of these issues, and to assist in educating the
public so that they have confidence in my recommendations, Commission Counsel and
Associate Commission Counsel organized a series of informal public forums, where a

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wide range of people with varying interests and perspectives were invited to make
presentations.
In order to pursue the many technical and policy issues in more depth, our Research
Counsel brought together a team of legal, medical, empirical, and policy researchers
who analyzed an enormous volume of Canadian and international material and
prepared very helpful research papers, which I relied upon in preparing this Report.
I turn now to a more detailed discussion of both of these Commission activities.

B. PUBLIC FORUMS
The public forums were informal, non-adversarial sessions open to the public, held in
downtown Vancouver between May 5 and June 25, 2008. In some cases, the
Commission invited presenters to participate, based on their medical or scientific
knowledge, their law enforcement experience, or their public policy interests. In
other cases, individuals or organizations requested an opportunity to make
presentations.
Presenters were invited to make their presentations uninterrupted, following which
Commission Counsel, Associate Commission Counsel, and/or I asked questions for
clarification.9
Later in this Report when I discuss policy issues, I will refer to what these presenters
told me. At this point, I will only identify each presenter, and their area of interest or
the organization they represent (listed alphabetically within each category).
I found every presentation to be well prepared, thoughtful, and respectful. I express
my sincere appreciation to every presenter for taking the time to attend our forums
and for assisting in the work of the Commission. I learned a great deal, and gained an
appreciation of the complexity of these important issues.

9 Verbatim transcripts of presentations are available on the Commission’s website at
http://www.braidwoodinquiry.ca/transcripts.php.

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1. Commercial interests
Thomas Smith, Chairman of the Board, TASER International, Inc.
Kenneth J. Stethem, Chairman and CEO, Aegis Industries.

2. Electrical and biomedical engineering
Dr. Dorin Panescu, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison, Wisconsin
J. Patrick Reilly, Principal Staff Engineer Supervisor; Applied Physics Laboratory,
Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore, Maryland
Dr. Pierre Savard, Professor of Biomedical Engineering; École Polytechnique de
Montréal, Montréal, Quebec
Dr. John G. Webster, Department of Biomedical Engineering; University of WisconsinMadison, Madison, Wisconsin

3. Medicine
Emergency medicine
Dr. William Bozeman, emergency department physician; North Carolina
Dr. Christine Hall, emergency department physician, Victoria General Hospital and
Royal Jubilee Hospital; Victoria, BC
Dr. Jeffrey D. Ho, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hennepin County Medical
Center; University of Minnesota Medical School
Dr. Christian Sloane, emergency department physician; California
Cardiology
Dr. Michael Janusz, Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of British Columbia;
Vancouver, BC; specialist in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
Dr. Charles Kerr, Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Department of Medicine,
University of British Columbia; Vancouver, BC
Dr. Charles Swerdlow, Clinical Professor of Medicine (cardiac electrophysiology),
Cedars-Sinai Hospital; Los Angeles, California
Dr. Zian H. Tseng, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cardiac Electrophysiology Section,
University of California; San Francisco, California
Epidemiology
Dr. Keith Chambers, former Assistant Director, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and
Evaluation, Vancouver General Hospital; Vancouver, BC
Pathology
Dr. John Butt, former Chief Medical Examiner for provinces of Alberta and Nova
Scotia; consulting forensic pathologist; Vancouver, BC

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Psychology
Dr. Michael Webster, counselling psychologist, consultant on police training; Denman
Island, BC
Psychiatry
Dr. Shaohua Lu, addiction psychiatrist, clinical assistant professor, University of
British Columbia; Vancouver, BC
Dr. Joseph Noone, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia;
Vancouver, BC; Medical Director of Adult Program, Riverview Hospital;
Coquitlam, BC
Dr. Maelor Vallance, Clinical Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of British
Columbia; Vancouver, BC
Mental health
Beverly Gutray, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division;
Vancouver, BC
Dr. Nancy Hall, policy consultant, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division;
Vancouver, BC
Camia Weaver, justice coordinator, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division;
Vancouver, BC

4. Law enforcement
Police departments
Delta Police Department:
Chief Constable Jim Cessford
Cst. Jason Martens
Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service:
Deputy Chief Ken Allen
New Westminster Police Department:
Staff Sgt. Joseph Spindor, training supervisor
Port Moody Police Department:
Cst. Chris Birtsch, Traffic Section
Detective Cst. Paul Dungey, Major Crime Section
Chief Constable Brad Parker
Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
Corp. Gregg Gillis, Use of Force Subject Matter Expert, “E” Division;
Vancouver, BC
Insp. Troy Lightfoot, Officer in Charge, Use of Force and Operational
Programs, National Headquarters; Ottawa, Ontario

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Assistant Commissioner Alastair Macintyre, Officer in Charge of
Criminal Operations, “E” Division; Vancouver, BC
Toronto Police Service:
Staff Superintendent Michael Federico
Vancouver Police Department:
Chief Constable Jim Chu
Cst. Graham Edmunds
Cst. Darren Hall, force options trainer
Cst. Tammy Hammell, conducted energy weapons coordinator, Control
Tactics Section
Sgt. Clive Milligan, in charge of use-of-force training, Control Tactics
Section
Deputy Chief Constable Bob Rich (and President, BC Association of
Municipal Chiefs of Police)
Victoria Police Department:
Cst. Mike Massine, Conducted Energy Weapon Program
Interim Chief Constable Bill Naughton
Corrections Branch
Pete Coulson, Warden, North Fraser Pretrial Centre; Port Coquitlam, BC
Sheriff Services
Supt. Paul Corrado, Strategic Security Operations, Court Services Branch, Ministry of
Attorney General, Province of British Columbia
Policing policy
Kevin Begg, Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services, Ministry of
Public Safety and Solicitor General, Province of British Columbia; Victoria, BC
Staff Sgt. Joel Johnston, Provincial Use of Force Coordinator, Ministry of Public Safety
and Solicitor General, Province of British Columbia; Victoria, BC
Civilian oversight
Paul Kennedy, Chair, Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police; Ottawa, Ontario
Michael MacDonald, Director of Strategic Policy and Research, Commission for Public
Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Ottawa, Ontario
Dirk Ryneveld, Q.C., Police Complaint Commissioner; Victoria, BC

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5. Politicians
Ujjal Dosanjh, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Vancouver South; former
Attorney General and Premier, Province of British Columbia

6. Non-governmental organizations
Hilary Homes, Amnesty International; Ottawa, Ontario
Murray Mollard, Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association; Vancouver, BC

7. Concerned citizens
Zofia Cisowski, mother of Robert Dziekanski
Cathy Gallagher and Joseph Gallagher, on behalf of their mentally ill son
Walter Kosteckyj, lawyer; Vancouver, BC; counsel for Zofia Cisowski
Jay Page, computer graphics and image processing consultant
Errol Povah, political activist
Randy Puder, caregiver for family members with mental illnesses
Jude Swanson, citizen with a mental health diagnosis and a seizure disorder
Cameron Ward, lawyer; Vancouver, BC; counsel for Patti Gillman (sister of Robert
Bagnall, who died after being shot with a conducted energy weapon)

C. RESEARCH PROGRAMS
Contemporaneously with the public forums, the Commission’s Research Counsel
developed an ambitious research program, aimed at a more in-depth analysis of the
many legal, scientific, medical, and public policy issues arising out of the Terms of
Reference (Appendix A).
In the scientific and medical areas, I retained Dr. Keith Chambers, the former
Assistant Director at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation at Vancouver
General Hospital, to oversee a comprehensive literature survey and the work of the
Commission’s medical and scientific researchers.
The Commission’s research team prepared numerous research memoranda and
discussion papers, which have greatly fostered my understanding of these issues, and
which were invaluable in the drafting of this Report.

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1. Medical and scientific issues
In addition to preparing summaries of the international academic literature identified
by Dr. Chambers,10 the Commission’s researchers also prepared discussion papers on
topics such as the following:
• cardiac, respiratory, and metabolic risks;
• mental health and “excited delirium”;
• use of conducted energy weapons in push-stun and probe modes;
• repetitive deployment of conducted energy weapons;
• vulnerable groups and higher risk situations;
• post-deployment medical procedures;
• use of conducted energy weapons in clinical settings; and
• reduction in fatalities and injuries.

2. Legal issues
It is important to understand the legal and regulatory framework within which
conducted energy weapons are deployed. To that end, the Commission’s legal
research included an examination of the following:
• product safety and standards regulation of conducted energy weapons in the
United States and Canada;
• product safety testing of the TASER M26® and TASER X26® in the United
States;
• the legal status of a conducted energy weapon as a prohibited firearm
and/or a prohibited weapon under the Canadian Criminal Code;
• classification of the TASER M26 and TASER X26 as firearms under USA law;
• review of Canadian court decisions involving the use of conducted energy
weapons;
• international law implications of conducted energy weapon use;
• the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the provincial police force in British
Columbia—its roles, responsibilities, and governance; and

10 See Appendix C.

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• the legal and regulatory framework for conducted energy weapon use by
municipal law enforcement agencies in British Columbia.

3. Policy analysis
While a clear understanding of the scientific, medical, and legal issues is essential, the
final decision about whether conducted energy weapons should be authorized for use,
and if so in what circumstances, is ultimately a public policy decision. Consequently,
the Commission’s researchers prepared discussion papers on topics such as the
following:
• comparative analysis of municipal police department policies respecting use
of conducted energy weapons;
• guiding principles for the deployment of conducted energy weapons—subject
behaviour, proportionality considerations, contextual factors, and
preclusions; and
• cultural differences between Canada and the United States relating to the
use of conducted energy weapons.

4. Empirical research
Soon after the Commission began its work, an initial review of information supplied by
law enforcement agencies indicated that municipal police officers, sheriffs, and
correctional officers had deployed conducted energy weapons approximately 1,500
times since they were introduced in December 1998.
In order to gain a better understanding of the circumstances in which conducted
energy weapons have been used by the various policing bodies in British Columbia over
that time period, I authorized a comprehensive review of every incident. This
necessitated the cooperation of all law enforcement agencies, who gave the
Commission’s researchers access to their incident reports.11
11 I note in passing that while a public inquiry designated as a hearing commission under section 2(2)(c)
of the Public Inquiry Act has the statutory authority under s. 22 to issue a summons requiring a person to
produce for the commission information or a thing in the person’s possession or control, no such authority
is granted to a study commission (such as this one). Given the delay (and in some cases reluctance) of
some law enforcement bodies to provide this Commission with information about conducted energy
weapon deployments, I invite the Attorney General to consider amending the legislation to extend the
summons power to study commissions.

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On April 1, 2008, Commission researchers requested incident reports from the RCMP
concerning the use of conducted energy weapons in British Columbia. However, by
the time these reports were provided (July 31, 2008), there was insufficient time to
undertake a comprehensive analysis of them. Fortunately, Mr. Paul Kennedy, Chair of
the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, agreed to extract and isolate
BC data from his “Quantitative Analysis of RCMP CEW Database,” contained in his June
12, 2008 report entitled RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon: Final Report,
which he provided to the Commission.
The results of the Commission’s empirical analyses will be discussed in detail in Part 7
of this Report.

5. Written submissions
The Commission also received 38 written submissions from members of the public.
Some recounted personal experiences of having a conducted energy weapon deployed
against them or a family member, while others emphasized the need to use crisis
intervention techniques when dealing with people with disabilities. Some submitters
supported the continued use of conducted energy weapons, while an equal number
wanted them banned, at least pending further research. I acknowledge with thanks
those who took the time to express their views and concerns.

D. THE COMMISSION’S REPORT
1. The purpose of this Report
As stated earlier, this Report addresses only the use of conducted energy weapons as
set out in the Terms of Reference. I will publish, at a later date, a separate report
dealing with the hearing and study commission into the death of Mr. Dziekanski at the
Vancouver International Airport.

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2. The minister’s responsibilities
Section 28 of the Public Inquiry Act directs a commission to make its final report to
the minister (in this case the Attorney General of BC), setting out:
• any findings of fact made by the commission that are relevant to the
commission’s terms of reference, and the reasons for those findings; and
• if required by the commission’s terms of reference, any recommendations of
the commission.
The minister must submit the report to the Executive Council (Cabinet) at its next
meeting. On receiving the report, the Executive Council may direct the minister to
withhold portions of the report because of privacy rights, business interests, or the
public interest. If it so directs, the minister must remove any portions to be withheld
and, in the report, identify any withheld portions and, to the extent possible,
summarize them.
Following its review of the report, the Executive Council must then direct the minister
to lay the report (except any withheld portions) before the Legislative Assembly. The
minister:
• must promptly lay the report before the Legislative Assembly if it is in
session or will be in session within 10 days of receiving the direction; and
• in any other case, must promptly file the report with the Clerk of the
Legislative Assembly.
Section 28(8) is clear that: “A person [which I interpret to include a commissioner]
must not release a report of a commission except in accordance with this section.”

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Conducted Energy Weapons

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A.

HISTORY OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ................................. 49
1.
2.

B.

Origins ...................................................................................... 49
Manufacturers ............................................................................. 49

TASER INTERNATIONAL, INC..................................................... 50
1.
2.

3.

Origins and growth of the company ................................................... 50
Models used by policing bodies in British Columbia................................. 51
a.
The Advanced TASER M26 ..................................................... 51
b.
The TASER X26 .................................................................. 53
How a TASER conducted energy weapon works...................................... 54

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A.

HISTORY OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS
1. Origins
Conducted energy weapons or devices, which are designed to use a conducted
electrical current in order to incapacitate a person or to ensure compliance through
pain, have been available for more than three decades.
It is my understanding, based on the presentation of Thomas Smith (Chairman of the
Board of TASER International, Inc.) at our public forums and the TASER International,
Inc., website, that the first device was developed in the late 1960s by Mr. Jack Cover,
an American physicist and NASA researcher. His inspiration was drawn from the 1966
Blue Ribbon Crime Commission that called for the development of non-lethal devices
for use in controlling riots, which were occurring across the United States at that time.
His first model, known as the Tasertron Taser,12 was a pain compliance device, which
he patented in 1974. By 1976, several police agencies were utilizing his products.

2. Manufacturers
There are several manufacturers of conducted energy weapons, including:
• TASER International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. It
manufactures devices for civilian, policing, and military purposes.
• Stinger Systems, Inc., of Tampa, Florida. It manufactures a projectile stun
weapon, as well as an electronic stun restraint device used for prisoner
transport and an electrified riot shield.
• Aegis Industries, Inc., of Delaware. It develops intermediate-force devices,
including its MK63 Trident, a close-quarters engagement device that also acts
as a stun device.

12 The name TASER is apparently an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle,” named for a science
fiction teenage inventor and adventure character: see http://www.taser.com/legal/Pages/trademarks
.aspx.

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B. TASER INTERNATIONAL, INC.
1. Origins and growth of the company
Since the only conducted energy weapons authorized for use in Canada are those
manufactured by TASER International, Inc., I will limit my discussion to that firm’s
products. Mr. Smith told me that he and his brother Patrick bought the company, and
rights to the TASER name, from Mr. Cover in 1993. Their initial goal was to use
modern technology to develop a self-defence device for the civilian market, after two
friends were shot and killed in a road rage incident in Scottsdale. In 1993, after
switching from gunpowder to a compressed nitrogen propellant (which meant that the
device was no longer classified as a firearm), the company introduced the Air Taser™
to the civilian market. It has subsequently developed a compact C2™ model that it
markets primarily to women.
In 1999, the company expanded into the law enforcement market, with its
development of a handgun-shaped model (the Advanced TASER M26), which could be
used for incapacitation as well as pain compliance. In 2003, it introduced a smaller,
lighter and more advanced X26 model that police officers could wear on their belts.
Both models are also marketed to the military.
The company is currently field testing a new model. The XREP projectile is selfcontained, wireless, and fires from a 12-gauge shotgun. It delivers the same neuromuscular incapacitation as the handheld TASER X26 (but for 20 seconds instead of five
seconds), but can be delivered to a distance of 20 metres.
According to Mr. Smith, 350,000 officers in over 12,750 agencies in 45 countries use his
company’s technology today. He estimates that approximately 680,000 human
volunteers have been exposed to the company’s conducted energy weapons, most of
them being law enforcement officers who have been exposed as part of their training.
In addition, there have been approximately 547,000 field uses. He told me that in
Canada, 160 agencies are using almost 2,300 M26s and almost 4,200 X26s.

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2. Models used by policing bodies in British Columbia
TASER M26 and TASER X2613

a. The Advanced TASER M26
Introduced to the law enforcement community in 1999, the Advanced TASER M26 is a
pistol-shaped weapon. It can be used in two modes:
• Push-stun mode—the end of the weapon is pressed against the target’s body
(with an expended cartridge attached or without a cartridge attached), and a
pulsed electrical current is transferred to the adjacent muscles; or
• Probe mode—when a cartridge is attached to the end of the weapon, it fires
two metal darts or probes (using compressed nitrogen as a propellant), which
imbed in the target’s skin or clothing. The probes, which have hooked tips,
can penetrate up to 9 mm into the subject’s skin. If the probes do not reach
the skin due to bulky clothing, the high voltage creates an arc enabling the
current to enter the body. The probes are connected to the weapon by wires
that conduct a pulsed electrical current from the weapon into the target’s
body.
The trigger activates a five-second electrical current cycle, which can be stopped by
placing the safety lever in the safe position, or can be repeated by re-pressing the
trigger after the completion of the first cycle. Holding the trigger down continuously
can extend a cycle.

13 Photos and approval for use provided by TASER International, Inc.

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Eight AA nickel metal hydride or alkaline cell batteries power the M26. Depending on
the battery brand used, the electrical current has a pulse rate of 15 or 20 pulses per
second, with a pulse duration of 40 microseconds (40 millionths of a second) full
waveform.
When the M26 is held level, the upper probe is propelled in a horizontal direction and
the lower probe is propelled at an eight-degree downward angle, which means that,
for every seven feet of travel, there is a one-foot spread between the probes (or, for
every 2.1 metres of travel, there is a 0.3 metre spread). Four different colour-coded
single-use cartridges can be installed, with different wire lengths—yellow (15 feet),
silver (21 feet), green (25 feet), and orange (35 feet).
For the M26 to be effective when used in its probe mode, both probes should hit the
subject.14 To assist the officer in aiming, the M26 emits a red laser beam, which
marks where the upper probe will hit the target.
Every cartridge has a unique serial number. When it fires out the two probes and
wires, it also disperses about 30 small discs, called Anti-Felon Identification tags, with
the same serial number on it. This enables investigators to link up the user of the
weapon with the person to whom the cartridge was issued.
The M26 has an LED indicator showing that the laser is on and the weapon is capable
of firing, but it does not indicate whether there is sufficient battery power to fire or
discharge. The weapon stores data about firings, date, and time for approximately
585 firings, which can be downloaded using an M26 dataport download kit.
The manufacturer’s specifications respecting the M26’s electrical output, which I will
discuss in more detail later, include the following:
• Voltage:
o Peak open circuit arcing voltage—50,000 V
o Peak loaded voltage—5,000 V
14 However, Mr. Reilly testified that an electrical shock can be delivered across several inches of air and
if one probe hits the subject and the other probe falls on wet ground, the subject may still receive a
shock.

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o Average voltage over duration of main phase—3,400 V
o Average voltage over full phase—320 V
o Average voltage over one second—1.3 V
• Current: 3.6 mA average (milliamps)
• Energy per pulse:
o Nominal at main capacitor—1.76 joules
o Delivered into load—0.50 joules
• Power rating:
o Nominal at main capacitor—26 watts at 15 pulses per second
o Nominal delivered into load—7.39 watts at 15 pulses per second

b. The TASER X26
The manufacturer introduced its X26 model, for law enforcement and military use, in
2003. It was more compact, 60 percent lighter, and designed to be carried in a holster
on an officer’s service belt.
The X26’s specifications are similar to the M26, except for the following:
• Batteries—digital power magazine (two 3-volt lithium batteries, as used in
digital cameras)
• Pulse rate—19 pulses per second
• Pulse duration—100 microseconds (100 millionths of a second)
• Peak loaded voltage—1,200 V
• Average voltage over duration of main phase—400 V
• Average voltage over full phase—350 V
• Average voltage over one second—0.76 V
• Current—2.1 mA average
• Energy per pulse:
o Nominal at main capacitors—0.36 joules
o Delivered into load—0.07 joules
• Power rating:
o Nominal at main capacitors—6.84 watts
o Delivered into load—1.33 watts

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• LED display—a two-digit display of remaining digital power magazine energy
percentage, burst time, warranty expiration, unit temperature, illumination
status, and current time and date.
• Data storage—stores time, date, burst duration, unit temperature, and
remaining digital power magazine energy percentage for approximately 1,500
firings. The data can be downloaded using a USB data interface module.
• Video and audio—available with an optional video and audio recorder that is
activated when the safety switch is armed. It is capable of recording for up
to 90 minutes.

3. How a TASER conducted energy weapon works
In order to understand how a conducted energy weapon works, a basic understanding
of electricity is required. I am indebted to Mr. J. Patrick Reilly, from the Applied
Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, for his very informative presentation
during our public forums. Much of the explanation that follows is based on what he
said and his PowerPoint presentation.
To begin with a question, if putting my finger into a 120-volt light socket could kill
me, why could I walk away from a 50,000-volt shock from a conducted energy weapon?
There are two reasons. First, the “peak open circuit arcing voltage” is rated at 50,000
volts when nothing is connected to the probes, such as when the officer is testing the
weapon by creating an electrical arc between the two electrodes. When the weapon
is under load (such as when imbedded in a person’s skin or clothing), the voltage is
much less—7,000 volts for the M26 and 1,300 volts for the X26, according to Mr. Reilly.
Second, the duration of the conducted energy weapon pulse is short. In the case of
the wiring in our homes, the electrical current is continuous. However, in a conducted
energy weapon, a new electrical pulse begins 19 times every second. The actual
duration of each of these pulses is much briefer—30 microseconds (30 millionths of a
second) with the M26 and 80 microseconds (80 millionths of a second) with the X26.15

15 The pulse durations of 30 and 80 microseconds are taken from Mr. Reilly’s presentation. According to
the manufacturer’s specifications, the pulse durations are 40 and 100 microseconds for the M26 and X26
respectively.

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There is an important reason why a conducted energy weapon needs 50,000 volts.
This voltage (analogous to pressure in a water hose) is required in order to create an
electric arc that bridges an air gap. For example, if one of the probes is imbedded in
clothing and does not touch the skin, the high voltage creates an arc between the
probe and the skin, enabling the electrical current to enter the body. Similarly,
although the outer layer of a person’s skin (the corneum) is dry and normally a poor
conductor, the high voltage breaks down the dryness and makes the skin a good
conductor.
Turning now to current (analogous to the water flow rate in a hose, such as litres per
minute), the manufacturer’s specifications state that the M26 has a current of 3.6
milliamps (3.6 thousandths of an ampere) average, and the X26 has a current of 2.1
milliamps (2.1 thousandths of an ampere) average. Mr. Reilly, on the other hand,
cites the M26 as having a peak output current of 17 amperes, and the X26 as having a
peak output current of 3 amperes. He explained the difference between his numbers
and the manufacturer’s numbers as follows. His numbers measure the actual
amperage during a pulse, whereas the manufacturer’s numbers are an average over
the total time period, during and between pulses. In his view, average current is
irrelevant to electrostimulation.
According to Mr. Reilly, “delivered charge” is the best indicator of the potential
electrostimulation. It is measured in coulombs, which is analogous to the volume of
water delivered by a hose during a set period of time. The significant point is that
both the M26 and the X26 have an almost identical “delivered charge” for each pulse—
approximately 100 micro-coulombs (or 100 millionths of a coulomb). This is so
because of the differing currents and pulse durations of the two models, as shown in
Table 1.

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Table 1: Delivered charge of M26 and X26 models

Current
Pulse duration

M26

X26

17 amperes per pulse

3 amperes per pulse

30 microseconds

80 microseconds

To give a sense of what effect 100 micro-coulombs of delivered charge would have on
a person, Mr. Reilly conducted laboratory experiments with human subjects, who were
subjected to brief high-voltage pulses on their forearms. Subjects reported pain on
average at 0.5 micro-coulombs, and intolerable pain at 1.0 micro-coulombs. This is to
be contrasted to the delivered charge of 100 micro-coulombs from each pulse of a
conducted energy weapon, which delivers 95 pulses over a five-second period.
The purpose of the electrical current is different, depending on the mode used:
• Push-stun mode—if the trigger is pulled when the end of the conducted
energy weapon is pressed against the person’s skin (e.g., arm). The
electrodes are close together, which means that the electrical current is
localized to the muscles in that area. In that case it serves a pain
compliance purpose, to persuade the person to let go of something, or to
otherwise comply in order to avoid further shocks.
• Probe mode—when the probes are deployed they are normally imbedded in
the person farther apart than the electrodes are in the push-stun mode. In
that case, the electrical current spreads out more and goes deeper into the
body, engaging more and more excited tissue. In addition to the same pain
experienced in the push-stun mode, the electrical current now interferes
with the person’s neuromuscular system. The person typically becomes
incapacitated, and falls to the ground with no ability to put his or her hands
out to break the fall.
When the five-second cycle is over, the pain and/or incapacitation is over, and the
person’s normal strength returns immediately.

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The Regulatory Framework

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A.

USE OF FORCE BY POLICE OFFICERS—THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK ............ 61
1.
2.

3.

B.

CURRENT REGULATION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS................ 72
1.

2.
3.

C.

Civilian governance of the police ...................................................... 61
A police officer’s authority to use reasonable force................................ 62
a.
The Criminal Code .............................................................. 62
b.
Canada’s commitment to international treaties and conventions ..... 64
British Columbia’s approach to establishing use-of-force standards ............. 69
a.
Firearms.......................................................................... 70
b.
Intermediate weapons ......................................................... 70
c.
Use of force generally ......................................................... 70

Federal regulation........................................................................ 72
a.
Under the Criminal Code ...................................................... 72
b.
As an electrical device......................................................... 74
Provincial regulation ..................................................................... 81
Regulation in the United States ........................................................ 83

COURT DECISIONS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ................. 83
1.

2.
3.

Criminal charges against police officers .............................................. 83
a.
Officer did not use excessive force.......................................... 84
b.
Officer did not have reasonable grounds to make the arrest ........... 85
Police officer’s use of excessive force ................................................ 86
Conclusions ................................................................................ 88

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A. USE OF FORCE BY POLICE OFFICERS—THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK
1. Civilian governance of the police
Important principles form the basis of any discussion about a police officer’s use of
force. In his 1994 Policing in British Columbia report,16 then-Justice Wally Oppal
stated:
Thus in a system of responsible government, the police are ultimately
accountable to civilian authority. This fundamental tenet of a liberal
democracy distinguishes Canada from totalitarian or dictatorial states in which
the police are either accountable only to the executive branch or, in extreme
cases, to no other authority at all.
This accountability has, in my view, two aspects. First, there is an after-the-fact
accountability, through which police management must answer for how a police force
is operated; and individual police officers must answer for their own conduct through
internal disciplinary or court proceedings.
Second, there is a proactive accountability, through which the legislative and
executive branches of government set standards of practice governing how police
officers will carry out their duties. The mandate given to this Commission is an
example of proactive accountability. My recommendations respecting the use of
conducted energy weapons will, if accepted by the legislative and/or executive
branches of government, impose new standards governing future police conduct.
While police officers have a legal duty to carry out their tasks in accordance with such
standards, there is an equally onerous duty on civilian authority to set such standards
in the first instance. Ignoring this responsibility, or delegating it to the police would
be an abdication of a fundamental element of our liberal democratic system; we do so
at our peril.
It is with this understanding that I have approached my work as Commissioner.

16 Closing the Gap—Policing and the Community, Volume 1, p. B-3.

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2. A police officer’s authority to use reasonable force
a. The Criminal Code
As a society, Canadians have entrusted their police officers with exceptional powers,
including the power to search private property, the power to arrest (sometimes
without a warrant), and the power to use force. These powers are all qualified, with
elaborate checks and balances that Parliament and the courts have developed over
the years to safeguard against abuses.
i.

General rule

A police officer’s authority to use reasonable force is dealt with in several sections of
the Criminal Code.17 Section 25(1)(b) sets out the basic principle:
Every person who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the
administration or enforcement of the law … as a peace officer or public officer,
… is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or
authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.
If a police officer uses excessive force, then s. 26 applies. It states:
Every one who is authorized by law to use force is criminally responsible for
any excess thereof according to the nature and quality of the act that
constitutes the excess.
The Criminal Code has three special provisions respecting the use of force that is
intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm, which I will mention
briefly.
ii.

Protection from death or grievous bodily harm

Section 25(3) states that a person is not justified in using force that is intended or is
likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm, unless the person believes on reasonable
grounds that it is necessary for the self-preservation of the person or the preservation
of anyone under that person’s protection from death or grievous bodily harm.

17 R.S. 1985, c. C-46, as amended. See http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showtdm/cs/C-46?noCookie.

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iii. Taking flight to avoid arrest
Section 25(4) states that a police officer is justified in using force that is intended or is
likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to a person to be arrested if five
conditions are met:
1. The officer is proceeding lawfully to arrest the person, with or without
warrant;
2. The offence for which the person is to be arrested is an offence for which
that person may be arrested without warrant;
3. The person to be arrested takes flight to avoid arrest;
4. The police officer believes on reasonable grounds that force that is
intended or is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm is necessary
for the purpose of protecting the officer or any other person from
imminent or future death or grievous bodily harm; and
5. The flight cannot be prevented by reasonable means in a less violent
manner.
iv. Escaping inmate
Section 25(5) states that a police officer is justified in using force that is intended or is
likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm against an inmate who is escaping from a
penitentiary, if two conditions are met:
1. The officer believes on reasonable grounds that any of the inmates of the
penitentiary poses a threat of death or grievous bodily harm to the officer
or any other person; and
2. The escape cannot be prevented by reasonable means in a less violent
manner.
In 1981 the BC Court of Appeal was required to interpret the phrase “grievous bodily
harm.”18 The case involved an RCMP officer who had been convicted by a jury of
assault causing bodily harm for striking a detainee with a nightstick as the detainee
was exiting a police cruiser and kicking the detainee after he fell to the ground.
Although there was a dispute about the actions of the officer and the detainee, the
detainee suffered a laceration on his forehead, a large bruise to his left cheek, and a
fracture of his left cheekbone.
18 R. v. Canada (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) (1981), 60 C.C.C. (2d) 211.

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Relying on two earlier court authorities, the Court of Appeal ruled that “grievous
bodily harm” does not mean any hurt or pain, but is limited to “serious hurt or pain.”19
Later in this Report I will discuss the implications of this interpretation. For now, it is
enough to note that if one were to conclude that a conducted energy weapon is likely
to cause “serious hurt or pain,” then s. 25(3) of the Criminal Code would justify a
police officer’s use of the weapon only if the officer believes on reasonable grounds
that it is necessary for the officer’s self-preservation or the preservation of anyone
under the officer’s protection from death or serious hurt or pain.

b. Canada’s commitment to international treaties and conventions
During our public forums, Hilary Homes made a presentation on behalf of Amnesty
International Canada, in which she suggested that police use of conducted energy
weapons might violate Canada’s international commitments. She stated:20
Increasingly, the Taser appears to have been deployed simply too often and too
soon. Amnesty International believes that using powerful electroshock
weapons against those already restrained; disturbed, intoxicated, but nondangerous individuals; unruly children; and people who are non-compliant but
who do not pose a probable threat of serious injury to themselves or others, is
an excessive use of force which may in some circumstances also constitute
torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. [underlining added]
i.

Torture

On June 24, 1987, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and
other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.21 Article 2(1) imposes a
duty on each State party to “take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or
other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.” The
duty to prevent torture is absolute—Article 2(2) adds that “No exceptional
circumstances whatsoever … may be invoked as a justification for torture.”
19 Ibid, para. 18. The court authorities relied upon were Director of Public Prosecutions v. Smith (1960),
44 Cr. App. R. 261, and The Queen v. Archibald (1898), 4 C.C.C. 159.
20 Transcript, May 15, 2008, pp. 25-26.
21 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10
December 1984, 1465 U.N.T.S. p. 85 (entered into force 26 June 1987), available at http://www.
unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/h_cat39.htm.

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Under Article 11, Canada also has a duty to prevent torture by systematically
reviewing its interrogation rules, instructions, methods, and practices, as well as
arrangements for the custody and treatment of people subjected to arrest, detention,
or imprisonment.
Article 1 of the Convention defines “torture” as meaning
any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a
third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third
person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or
coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any
kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with
the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an
official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from,
inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
From my reading of this definition, several elements must be established for an act to
amount to torture:
• Severe physical or mental pain or suffering is intentionally inflicted on the
subject;
• The pain or suffering is inflicted for any of the following purposes:
o obtaining from the subject or a third person information or a
confession;
o punishing the subject for an act the subject or a third person has
committed or is suspected of having committed;
o intimidating or coercing the subject or a third person; or
o for any reason based on discrimination of any kind;
• The pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the
consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an
official capacity; and
• The pain or suffering does not arise only from, or is not inherent in or
incidental to lawful sanctions.

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On February 19, 2008, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, an expert panel
established under Article 17 of the Convention, published a report22 that included the
committee’s concern about Portugal’s use of conducted energy weapons:
Use of “Taser X26” weapons
The Committee is deeply concerned about the recent purchase by the State
party of electric “Taser X26” weapons for distribution to the Lisbon
Metropolitan Command, the Direct Action Corps, the Special Operations Group
and the Personal Security Corps. The Committee is concerned that the use of
these weapons causes severe pain constituting a form of torture, and that in
some cases it may even cause death, as recent developments have shown
(Articles 1 and 16).
The State party should consider relinquishing the use of electric “Taser X26”
weapons, the impact of which on the physical and mental state of targeted
persons would appear to violate Articles 1 and 16 of the Convention.
From my examination of this issue, I have reached several conclusions. First, I am
satisfied that conducted energy weapons inflict “severe pain or suffering, whether
physical or mental,” within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention. While the
Convention does not define “severe,” I place considerable reliance on Mr. Reilly’s
laboratory experiment in which human subjects experienced intolerable pain at
approximately one micro-coulomb of delivered charge, and on his evidence that the
M26 and X26 weapons produce 100 micro-coulombs of delivered charge. Even if
“intolerable” pain does not amount to “severe” pain, surely 100 times as much
delivered charge must reach or exceed the “severe” pain threshold.
Second, for an act to constitute torture, it must be inflicted for one of the purposes
specified in the definition, such as obtaining a confession, punishment, intimidation,
or discrimination. Based on what I have been told about the use of conducted energy
weapons in Canada, I am not satisfied that they are, in the normal course of events,
used for any of these purposes. They are typically used to facilitate an arrest, to

22 U.N. Committee against Torture, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article
19 of the Convention: Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Portugal,
UNOHCHROR, 39th Sess., UN Doc. CAT/C/PRT/CO/4, p. 5, available at http://www.unhcr.org/
refworld/publisher,CAT,,PRT,4804a62e2,0.html.

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disarm a person, or to prevent a person from harming themselves, a police officer, or
others. Having said that, it is conceivable that an officer could improperly use a
conducted energy weapon for one of these specified purposes. In that case, careful
consideration would have to be given to whether the officer’s conduct violated the
Convention.
Consequently, I am not satisfied that the normal use of conducted energy weapons
constitutes torture within the meaning of the United Nations Convention against
Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. While I
recognize the possibility that such weapons could be used for such improper purposes,
I do not consider it necessary to make recommendations against the use of conducted
energy weapons for obtaining confessions or for punishment, as there is no evidence of
such abuse in British Columbia, nor is any such abuse suspected in the future. In any
event, torture constitutes an indictable offence under s. 269.1 of the Criminal Code,
which tracks very closely the language of the United Nations Convention.
ii. Other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
The same United Nations Convention imposes a comparable duty on State parties to
prevent other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Article 16(1) states in part:
Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its
jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
which do not amount to torture as defined in Article 1, when such acts are
committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a
public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Article 11 is also made applicable, imposing a duty on all State parties to keep under
systematic review their interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices, as
well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of people subjected to arrest,
detention, or imprisonment, with a view to preventing other cruel, inhuman, or
degrading treatment or punishment.
Although the Convention does not define “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment or
punishment, several international courts or tribunals have done so. Such rulings are
not binding on Canada, but may serve as evidence of customary international law:

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• The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a minimum level of severity
is required for an action to constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading
treatment, which depends on the duration of treatment, the physical or
mental effects of the treatment, and in some cases the sex, age, and state
of health of the victim.23
• The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia defined cruel
and inhuman treatment as that which “causes serious mental or physical
suffering and constitutes a serious attack on human dignity,” especially
where it has been done deliberately.24
• The European Court of Human Rights ruled that hooding, loud music, sleep
deprivation, food and drink deprivation, and stress positions can constitute
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.25
These rulings indicate that a certain severity of mental or physical pain or suffering is
required, and that a variety of factors should be considered, including age, sex, state
of health, the duration of the treatment, and its physical or mental effects on the
person.
From my examination of this issue, I draw several conclusions. First, given the wide
range of factors that must be taken into account in deciding whether specific
treatment amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, I am not prepared to
say that the normal use of conducted energy weapons meets that threshold. Each
case would have to be decided, based on the specific facts placed before the trier of
fact.
Second, some international tribunals have identified particular groups in society (e.g.,
children, the elderly, and those who are medically fragile) as being more vulnerable,
which suggests to me that using conducted energy weapons against them increases the
risk that such use may constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment.
Third, given the proliferation of conducted energy weapons around the world, and
their increasing popularity among law enforcement bodies, it would be difficult to

23 Ireland v. U.K., European Court of Human Rights (1978).
24 Prosecutor v. Delalic, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia IT-96-21-T (1998).
25 Ireland v. U.K., European Court of Human Rights (1978).

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sustain an argument that the use of such weapons violates customary international
law. To put it another way, the open use of conducted energy weapons by these
States indicates their subjective belief that such use does not constitute cruel,
inhuman, or degrading treatment.

3. British Columbia’s approach to establishing use-of-force standards
Section 39(1) of the Police Act26 states that the Director of Police Services is
responsible for superintending policing and law enforcement functions in British
Columbia. One of the director’s statutory functions is to make recommendations to
the minister on “the use of force by officers or classes of officers, including, without
limitation, their training and retraining in the use of force” (s. 40(1)(e)(ii)).
In addition, s. 74(2)(t) of the Act authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to
make regulations:
(t)

respecting the use of force by a class of officers in the performance of
their duties, including, without limitation,
(i)

the training or retraining in the use of physical force
(A)
in emergency response situations, pursuits or forcible
entries, and
(B)
as a means of restraining an individual, and

(ii)

the training or retraining in the use of
(A)
firearms, ammunition, batons, capsicum spray, physical
restraint devices or other weapons and equipment,
(B)
police dogs, horses and other animals, and
(C)
motor vehicles when in pursuit or in emergency response
situations.

Pursuant to that statutory authority, the Lieutenant Governor in Council passed the
Use of Force Regulation.27 There are three aspects of the Regulation on which I will
comment.

26 R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 367, as amended.
27 B.C. Reg. 203/98. See http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/reg/P/Police/203_98.htm.

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a. Firearms
The Regulation has detailed rules about the types of firearms and ammunition that are
authorized for use, maintenance and inspection of firearms, investigations to be
conducted after the in-service discharge of a firearm, and the surrender of firearms
(s. 3-8). Each member of a police force who is authorized to carry and use a firearm
must complete a training course approved by the chief constable and qualify on the
firearm, and must re-qualify on the firearm at least once annually (s. 10). With
respect to use of a firearm, s. 5 states:
A member of a police force who is authorized to use a firearm under section 3,
may discharge that firearm if it is reasonable and necessary to do so and in
accordance with the protections and authorizations provided by section 25 of
the Criminal Code (Canada).

b. Intermediate weapons
The Regulation defines an “intermediate weapon” as any weapon other than:
• a firearm; or
• a weapon that when used in its ordinary and intended manner is as likely to
cause serious bodily harm or death to a person as a firearm.
It does include a firearm used with ammunition designed to be discharged at a muzzle
velocity not exceeding 152.4 metres per second.
Section 9 then provides that a member of a police force may carry and use an
intermediate weapon if two conditions are met:
• Use of the intermediate weapon has been approved by the director and a
chief constable; and
• The member has completed a training course approved by the chief
constable and has been qualified or re-qualified on its use as specified by the
police force.

c. Use of force generally
Section 11 of the Regulation states:

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Use-of-force policy
11.
Each police force must develop or adopt a use of force model approved
by the director and develop a written use of force policy that includes
at least the following force options:
(a)
officer presence;
(b)
communication;
(c)
physical control;
(d)
intermediate weapons;
(e)
lethal force.
Section 10(3) of the Regulation requires that each member of a police force complete
and qualify on a training course approved by the chief constable on the use-of-force
model and techniques, and must thereafter re-qualify in the use-of-force techniques
within a period specified by the police force.
The director is also required, under s. 2.1 of the Regulation:
• to appoint a use of force coordinator to coordinate development of use-offorce policy under section 11; and
• to chair a use-of-force advisory committee, including representatives from
police forces, which must meet at least twice each year and may make
recommendations respecting use-of-force policy.
From my examination of this issue, I have reached two conclusions. First, the
Lieutenant Governor in Council has broad powers to establish province-wide policies
respecting all aspects of use of force applicable to municipal police forces.28
Second, Lieutenant Governor in Council has established a province-wide policy in
relation to firearms and ammunition, but has not done so in relation to intermediate
weapons or a general use-of-force policy.

28 In his presentation during our public forums, the Director of Police Services told me that, at least with
respect to the use of conducted energy weapons, his authority under s. 40 of the Act is limited to making
recommendations to police departments. He is currently seeking amendments “which will give us more
definitive power to actually, rather than recommend, definitively set the standard”: Transcript, May 7,
2008, p. 57. While it is true that under s. 40 the director’s authority is limited to making recommendations to the minister on the use of force, that provision must be read in conjunction with s. 74, which
authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the use of force by a class
of officers. In my view, the Lieutenant Governor in Council could, by regulation, set province-wide
standards respecting all aspects of the use of force by police officers, including standards respecting the
use of conducted energy weapons, relying, of course, on the director’s recommendations.

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With respect to intermediate weapons, the Regulation does not specify the particular
weapons that are approved, but leaves it up to the director and a chief constable to
approve a weapon. This policy lacks transparency and leaves open the possibility of
inconsistent application across the province.
With respect to the use-of-force policy generally, the Regulation delegates to each
police force the development of a use-of-force model and written use-of-force policy.
Although each police force’s policy must include at least five specified force options,
the Regulation gives no guidance respecting the substantive content for each option.
While the Regulation requires that the director approve each police force’s use-offorce model, it establishes no criteria to guide the police force and the director, and
leaves open the possibility of wide variations in models among the police forces.
The use of force (of which the use of conducted energy weapons is a key aspect) is a
fundamentally important element of policing. Of all police powers, it is the most
extraordinary, and cries out for consistency across the province. More than that,
civilian governance of policing means that use-of-force standards must be established
by the legislative and/or executive branches of government, not the police
departments themselves. While it would be appropriate to include the law
enforcement community and other key stakeholders in discussions leading to the
development of policy, the ultimate decisions must rest with civilian authority.

B. CURRENT REGULATION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS
1. Federal regulation
a. Under the Criminal Code
For those searching for cultural differences between Canada and the United States,
nothing could be more striking than the two countries’ extraordinarily different
approaches to the regulation of conducted energy weapons.

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In the United States, TASER International, Inc., produces a civilian model of its
conducted energy weapon (the C2), which it advertises on its website and sells
through retailers, such as outfitters, sporting goods and outdoor recreation stores, and
a national chain of travel centres located along interstate highways.
In Canada, however, a conducted energy weapon is a prohibited weapon under the
Criminal Code. It may also be a prohibited firearm. I will briefly discuss both.
i.

Prohibited weapon

Under s. 84(1) of the Criminal Code, a “prohibited weapon” is defined as meaning (in
addition to switchblade knives) “any weapon, other than a firearm, that is prescribed
to be a prohibited weapon.” On December 1, 1998, a regulation was passed29 stating
in s. 4 that weapons listed in Part 3 of the schedule were prohibited weapons. Part 3
of the schedule included “Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 3,” which in turn
listed as a prohibited weapon:
6.
Any device that is designed to be capable of injuring, immobilizing or
incapacitating a person or an animal by discharging an electrical charge
produced by means of the amplification or accumulation of the electrical
current generated by a battery, where the device is designed or altered so that
the electrical charge may be discharged when the device is of a length of less
than 480 mm, and any similar device.
In my view, that definition quite accurately described the M26 and X26 conducted
energy weapons, and I am satisfied that both are “prohibited weapons” within the
Criminal Code.
ii. Prohibited firearm
The same 1998 Regulation also stated in s. 2 that “the firearms listed in Part 1 of the
schedule are prohibited firearms….” Part 1 of the schedule included reference to the
same “Former Prohibited Weapons Order, No. 3,” which listed as a prohibited firearm:

29 See Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons,
Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted, SOR/98-462.

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Any firearm capable of discharging a dart or other object carrying an electrical
current or substance, including the firearm of the design commonly known as
the Taser Public Defender and any variant or modified version of it.
It appears that the TASER Public Defender was manufactured in the 1970s, and used
gunpowder rather than compressed nitrogen as the propellant. It was probably of a
different design than the two current models, because the Department of Justice’s
Regulatory Impact Statement that accompanied the 1998 Regulation stated that
although it had been in the prohibited weapons category, it “has been moved to the
prohibited firearms class because it is a barreled weapon and thus comes within the
‘firearm’ definition in the Code.” I question whether either the M26 or the X26 could
be classed as a “barrelled weapon,” which is an essential element of the definition of
a firearm.30
I am not persuaded that either the M26 or the X26 are “prohibited firearms” within
the Criminal Code. For the purposes of this analysis, it is enough that they are
“prohibited weapons.”

b. As an electrical device
There are two aspects to product safety. The first focuses on whether a conducted
energy weapon, when functioning properly and used as intended, is safe. The second
focuses on whether the device meets quality standards in the sense that it functions
properly and regularly within the manufacturer’s specifications.
i.

Certification of conducted energy weapons as safe

Several people who made presentations during our public forums noted the absence of
standards for conducted energy weapons. Dr. John Webster, a biomedical engineer
from Wisconsin, observed that there are international standards for electric fences,

30 However, it may be that TASER International, Inc.’s new XREP model, which is a wireless projectile
fired from a shotgun, may fit the Criminal Code definition of a firearm, which states: “‘[F]irearm’ means
a barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable
of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person...”

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but not for conducted energy weapons.31 Walter Kosteckyj, legal counsel for Mr.
Dziekanski’s mother, stated:32
In short, there are no standards in existence. In almost every other type of
electrical device, there are standards which are set. In Canada those standards
are generally set by the Canadian Standards Association. That at the very least
is an independent body which employs multiple stakeholders and it might be,
in my submission, an appropriate place to conduct the oversight that might be
needed to test and approve these conducted energy weapons…. [H]ere is a
totally unregulated weapon which has never been reviewed or standardized in
any way.
A similar concern has been voiced at a national level. In August 2004 the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police commissioned the Canadian Police Research Centre to
conduct a comprehensive review of the existing scientific research and data and
provide a national perspective on the safety and use of conducted energy weapons.
On the issue of product safety, the authors stated:33
It has become apparent to the CPRC team that there are no known,
scientifically tested, independently verified, and globally accepted CED
[conducted energy device] safety parameters. This is problematic for a couple
of reasons.
• Police services and authorizing agencies are completely reliant on
manufacturer claims regarding the safety of their products. By comparison
there are many policing tools and equipment that have an accepted range of
safety parameters such as body armour, OC spray concentrations, and police
vehicle specifications. In terms of CEDs, what is known is limited to testing
of the TASER M26 and X26. If a new CED were to be introduced, police
services and authorizing agencies could only rely on manufacturer claims.
• Because of this lack of known safety parameters relating to CED, authorizing
agencies are ill-equipped to respond quickly to advances in technology that
may be immediately beneficial to police and, eventually, community safety.
At least in the context of a few Canadian examples, some authorizing
jurisdictions have little independent information to form decisions and
policy—with the end result being an unnecessary bureaucratic process,

31 Transcript, May 5, 2008, p. 77.
32 Transcript, May 15, 2008, p. 7.
33 Technical Report TR-01-2006, Review of Conducted Energy Devices, p. 34. The report is available at
http://www.css.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/cprc/tr/tr-2006-01.pdf.

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devoid of leadership, that serves few stakeholders. This is a tangible “gap”
in the complete understanding of CEDs that needs to be filled.
There are several regulatory approaches that could be employed, if it was felt
necessary to certify conducted energy weapons as “safe” before they could be used by
law enforcement agencies:
• Hazardous Products Act34—this federal legislation is used to regulate a wide
range of consumer products.
o Under s. 6, the Governor in Council may add to the schedule of
restricted products any product, material, or substance that is or
contains a poisonous, toxic, flammable, explosive, corrosive,
infectious, oxidizing, or reactive product, material or substance or
other product, material or substance of a similar nature that the
Governor in Council is satisfied is or is likely to be a danger to the
health or safety of the public.
o Under s. 5, the Governor in Council may make regulations
prescribing the circumstances and conditions under which specified
restricted products may be imported into, and sold in, Canada. By
adding conducted energy weapons to the list of restricted products,
the federal government could require that they undergo safety
testing or product standards certification before being imported or
sold.
• Canadian Standards Association—the association is a non-profit, private
organization, accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, that tests
products for compliance to national and international standards, and issues
certification marks for qualified products. Certification marks tell potential
customers and users that a product has been evaluated by a formal process—
involving examination, testing, and follow-up inspection—and that it
complies with applicable standards for safety and performance.
ii.

Testing of individual conducted energy weapons

Apart from the issue of pre-deployment certification, to what extent can individual
conducted energy weapons, once deployed, be tested to ensure that they are
operating to the manufacturer’s specifications? The test commonly used by law
enforcement personnel to assess functionality of an individual conducted energy
weapon is the “spark” test. When a cartridge is not attached, pulling the trigger
causes an electric spark to jump between the two electrodes at the nose of the
34 R.S.C. 1985, c. H-3.

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weapon, which verifies that the device is working and that the batteries are
adequately charged. However, it does not indicate the level of energy output
produced.35 When Cst. Mike Massine, the officer in charge of the conducted energy
weapon program for the Victoria Police Department, testified at our public forums, he
confirmed that the spark test (which is done at the start of each officer’s shift) does
not confirm that the weapon is operating to the manufacturer’s specifications.36
The RCMP’s Conducted Energy Weapon Operational Manual37 deals specifically with
independent testing of conducted energy weapons. Until recently it stated that:
9. 1.

The Canadian Police Research Center (CPRC) will conduct independent
testing of a CEW when:
9.1.1. someone is seriously injured or dies when a member resorts to
lethal force because a CEW was ineffective or malfunctioned;
9.1.2. a member is seriously injured or dies as a direct or indirect
result of a CEW malfunction; or
9.1.3. any incident in which it is in the public interest or the member’s
interest to determine the working state of a CEW.

It is noteworthy that testing was normally required only when there was evidence that
the conducted energy weapon had malfunctioned. Testing was not required when a
subject’s serious injury or death was proximate to use of a weapon (when there was
no evidence of malfunction), unless testing was ordered in the “public interest” under
paragraph 9.1.3.

35 See TASER International, Inc.’s Operating Manual for X26C (the civilian model based on the X26 law
enforcement model): http://www.taser.com/products/consumers/Pages/TASERX26C.aspx (see
downloads).
36 Transcript, May 6, 2008, p. 29. See also, to the same effect, United States Government
Accountability Office, “Taser Weapons: Use of Tasers by Selected Law Enforcement Agencies” GAO-05464, 2005, p. 13.
37 RCMP Operational Manual, Chapter 17.7—Conducted Energy Weapon. Section 9, “Independent CEW
Testing.”

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In February 2009, the RCMP’s policy was amended. It now states:
9.

Independent CEW Testing

9.1.

Independent testing of a CEW at a designated testing facility will be
completed when:
9.1.1. an incident involves injury requiring medical treatment or death
proximal to the use of a CEW;
9.1.2. a CEW was ineffective or malfunctioned; or
9.1.3. a supervisor of an incident, a Divisional Use of Force
Coordinator, a Criminal Operations Officer, the National Use of
Force Officer, or National Criminal Operations Branch is of the
opinion that testing is warranted in the circumstances, including
in order to address any concerns about the performance of a
CEW or the circumstances or impacts of its use.

9.2.

Testing of the CEW will determine the working state of the CEW and if
the weapon is functioning as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
…

9.4.2 Divisional CROPS are to contact the DG NCROPS for the designated
testing facility.38
The Canadian Police Research Centre performs the tests based on TASER International,
Inc.’s “Open Circuit Voltage Measurement Procedure” and “Load Voltage and Current
Measurement Procedure.” The results obtained using these protocols include:
• The open circuit voltage (i.e., whether the voltage produced is the specified
50,000 volts);
• The maximum load voltage and current experienced with 250 ohms of
resistance (i.e., the voltage and current experienced by a subject, assuming
250 ohms of resistance is present); and
• The electrical frequency of the device (i.e., whether the frequency of pulses
is the specified 19 cycles per second).
Additional information, such as the energy produced in joules, could be recorded but
is not done as part of the protocol currently used.39

38 See http://www.RCMP-grc.gc.ca:80/ccaps-spcca/cew-ai/operations-17-7-eng.htm.

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Several municipal police forces in British Columbia40 have policies requiring that a
conducted energy weapon be submitted either to a supervisor or the investigating
field officer, and retained as an exhibit, when the weapon has been discharged and
death or grievous bodily harm or injury results. The policies do not specify that the
weapon be tested for electrical output.
In 2008 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation retained National Technical Systems to
test 44 TASER X26 weapons (apparently taken from active service), and those tests
were reviewed by three researchers, including Dr. Pierre Savard, one of the presenters
at our public forums.41 The researchers determined that three units could not
generate any current, even with charged battery packs. The study found that five of
the remaining 41 weapons had grossly abnormal electrical characteristics:
• One unit could not generate current in a sustained manner when first loaded,
but after a dozen attempts it worked properly and testing could be
completed; and
• Four units generated currents above the ±15 percent limits when connected
to a 250 ohm load, as set out in Table 2.

Table 2: Abnormal electrical characteristics of tested X26 weapons
Peak current
Mfgr. Spec.
Weapon ID
A03
A09
A18
B03

3.3 ampere
5.212
4.857
5.138
4.840

Average
current
2.1 milliampere
3.40
3.15
3.36
2.96

Peak voltage

Energy/pulse (mJ)

1200 volt

70 millijoule

1115
1090
1170
1059

97.9
99.1
96.8
106.0

The four weapons with peak currents that were 47−58 percent higher than the values
specified by the manufacturer were among a group of six tested weapons that had
39 Information provided by Steve Palmer, Executive Director, Canadian Police Research Centre, on July
7, 2008. Mr. Palmer also advised the Commission that the centre is currently working with the United
Kingdom’s Home Office, the National Institute of Justice, and Pennsylvania State University to develop an
independent, uniform conducted energy weapon testing methodology.
40 Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich, Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody, and Nelson.
41 Savard, Pierre et al., “Analysis of the Quality and Safety of the Taser X26 devices tested for RadioCanada/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation by National Technical Systems, Test Report 41196-08.SRC,”
available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/taser-analysis-v1.5.pdf.

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been bought before 2005 which, according to the Savard review, “raises concerns
about quality control during manufacturing, possible change of design and component
aging” (p. 8). The reviewers also expressed concern that such abnormally high current
pulses could possibly trigger extrasystoles (premature contractions of the heart),
which could possibly reduce the threshold for ventricular fibrillation, especially if the
barbs were discharged into the chest area, spanning the heart. They recommended:
• a moratorium on X26 weapons manufactured before 2005;
• further study of the electrical characteristics of X26 weapons in use in
Canada and the U.S.A. (i.e., output and irregular or variable discharges)
using a standardized testing protocol such as that used in this study; and
• that the testing protocol include continuous, high-resolution recordings
lasting at least two seconds, in order to measure possible changes in a series
of 36 or more individual current pulses, and also include an evaluation of the
effects of “spark testing.”42
Within days of release of the Savard analysis, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and
Solicitor General announced43 that all municipal chiefs of police and other provincially
regulated law enforcement agencies had agreed to withdraw from service all weapons
acquired before January 2006 for independent testing, to ensure that they generate
electrical currents consistent with the manufacturer’s specifications. He also
announced: “Municipal police have also agreed to research and establish a standard
for regular calibration of all [conducted energy weapons] used in the province, and
RCMP in BC have also been asked to comply.”
From my examination of this issue, I have reached four conclusions. First, based on
information the Commission received from the Canadian Police Research Centre, it is
possible to test conducted energy weapons to determine whether they are functioning
in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

42 On December 2, 2008, TASER International, Inc., Vice-President Magne Nerheim wrote a detailed
rebuttal to the CBC, challenging the testing protocol followed by National Technology Systems, and
recommending that NTS repeat the test, first spark testing every unit as officers are trained to do, and
discharging the weapons into a 600 ohm load, the average resistance of human subjects.
43 Information Bulletin, December 9, 2008, available at http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_
2005-2009/2008PSSG0067-001862.htm.

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Second, the policy applicable to municipal police departments in British Columbia does
not require that a conducted energy weapon be tested following an incident in which a
person died or was seriously injured.
Third, since February 2009, the RCMP policy requires that a conducted energy weapon
be tested following an incident involving injury requiring medical treatment or death
proximal to the use of a conducted energy weapon, or in other cases when specified
senior officers are of the opinion that testing is warranted in the circumstances.
Fourth, the weapon test commissioned by the CBC raises concerns about quality
control and about the capacity of some models to emit a current exceeding the
manufacturer’s specifications. It is gratifying that at least some models will be
subjected to rigorous independent testing, and that BC’s law enforcement agencies
will work together in establishing a standard for regular calibration of all conducted
energy weapons used in the province. As I will discuss in more detail in Part 10, I
believe that the parameters that should be measured in the proposed testing protocol
should include, but not necessarily be limited to:
• pulse rate or frequency (i.e., number of pulses per second);
• pulse duration (in microseconds);
• peak output current during a pulse (in amperes); and
• delivered charge (in micro-coulombs).

2. Provincial regulation
As I discussed earlier, there is in British Columbia neither legislation nor regulations
dealing specifically with conducted energy weapons. Such weapons are likely
“firearms” within the meaning of the provincial Firearm Act, which defines “firearm”
to include “any gun using, as a propellant, compressed air, explosives or gas.”
However, there would be little utility in regulating conducted energy weapons under
this legislation, since the federal Criminal Code makes them prohibited weapons.
Although a conducted energy weapon meets the definition of “intermediate weapon”
in the Use of Force Regulation discussed earlier, the Regulation gives no indication

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that the provincial government has designated conducted energy weapons as
intermediate weapons. Rather, s. 9 of the Regulation leaves it up to a chief constable
and the provincial Director of Police Services to approve a specific weapon as an
intermediate weapon.
During our public forums, the provincial Director of Police Services told me44 that in
the early 1990s the predecessor BC Police Commission developed, in consultation with
police departments, approximately 400 minimum standards of policing. For the most
part, they did not specify what the standards should be. Rather, they stated that each
police department must have a standard on specified matters. These minimum
standards have been used during the director’s audits of police departments to
determine whether they have policies in place. According to the director, these
minimum standards are under review, the goal being to establish a new set of highlevel policing standards that will be sanctioned by regulation.
Some of these minimum standards deal with use of force. The ones that apply to
conducted energy weapons require, for example, written policies on:
• the carrying of weapons while off duty;
• the use and control of weapons issued by the police department;
• procedures for weapons inspections;
• written reports whenever an officer applies force through the use of a
weapon, or takes action that results in injury or death;
• procedures for reviewing incidents in which an officer applies force by means
of a weapon; and
• the criteria to be applied respecting assignment of an officer whose use of
force results in a death or grievous bodily harm.
In the course of reviewing each police department’s use-of-force policies, one of the
Commission’s researchers prepared a matrix showing the extent to which each
department’s policies address the issues specified in the ministry’s minimum
standards. The matrix is included as Appendix D.

44 Transcript, May 7, 2008, pp. 48-51.

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3. Regulation in the United States
Early models of conducted energy weapons, such as the TASER Public Defender, used a
gunpowder explosion to propel the darts, and were consequently classified as a
firearm under Title 26 of the United States Code.45 This resulted in such weapons
being regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In
1985 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that conducted energy
weapons, because they were firearms, were outside its jurisdiction.
In 1994 conducted energy weapons were modified to use compressed air and later
compressed nitrogen, instead of gunpowder, as the propellant. The Bureau
consequently decided that such weapons no longer fit the United States Code’s
definition of a firearm, and were thus not within its regulatory jurisdiction. However,
the Consumer Product Safety Commission has not revisited its 1985 ruling, and still
considers conducted energy weapons to be firearms.
The result is that in the United States, conducted energy weapons are not regulated
federally, and there are no industry standards.46

C. COURT DECISIONS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE
The use of conducted energy weapons has been an issue in several Canadian court
decisions during the past decade, some of which I will summarize below.

1. Criminal charges against police officers
There have been five cases in which a police officer was charged with assault with a
weapon under s. 267(a) of the Criminal Code. In all cases, the officer argued that

45 26 U.S.C. 5801-5872 (also known as the National Firearms Act).
46 The Potomac Institute, a non-profit public policy research institute specializing in scientific and
technological issues, stated, “There are no federal restrictions or guidelines for stun device use—nor for
importation from foreign suppliers for that matter. Moreover, there is no regulatory body (private or
public) and there are no industry standards.” Efficacy and Safety of Electrical Stun Devices, March 29,
2005, p. 4, available at http://www.potomacinstitute.org/research/Stun%20Devices%20Report_FINAL.pdf.

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using the conducted energy weapon was, in the circumstances, a use of reasonable
force and consequently s. 25 protected the officer from criminal liability.
In three of the cases, the court accepted that the force used was not excessive, and
acquitted the accused police officer. In two cases, the court ruled that the officer did
not have reasonable grounds to arrest the person, and consequently the officer could
not claim the protection of s. 25.

a. Officer did not use excessive force
In R. v. Hannibal,47 Mr. Thompson, who suffered from bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder, was resisting arrest but was not violent. Five RCMP officers
attended the scene. Three officers had pinned Mr. Thompson down and were in the
process of handcuffing him when the accused, without any warning, used the
conducted energy weapon in the touch-stun mode twice on Mr. Thompson.
The court acquitted the officer, finding a reasonable doubt as to whether the officer’s
use of the weapon amounted to excessive force. The officer had received a radio
transmission that Mr. Thompson might be combative, and he observed that Mr.
Thompson was verbally abusive and he was becoming more agitated. The officer’s
conduct fell within the range of appropriate use of force taught in his training; in
particular, RCMP training materials allowed conducted energy weapons to be used in
touch-stun mode when a subject was resisting arrest. The Court did express a general
concern that, although a conducted energy weapon is a potentially effective tool, it
should not be used as a “panacea for any form of non-cooperative or resistant
behaviour” (para. 158).
In R. v. St. Amand,48 five RCMP officers, executing a valid drug warrant, entered a
residence where a party was in progress. The scene was described as chaotic—the
room was filled with smoke and loud music was playing. Another officer forcibly took
a 120-pound woman to the ground. The accused officer saw the woman act abusively
47 [2003] B.C.J. No. 3119 (BC Provincial Court).
48 [2006] B.C.J. No. 3059 (BC Provincial Court).

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(both verbally and physically) toward the other officer, and perceived her movements
in attempting to get up as “threat cues.” The accused also observed a dog attack
another officer. The accused used the conducted energy weapon in touch-stun mode
twice on the woman’s lower back.
The court acquitted the officer, concluding that he had discharged the weapon for as
short a period of time as would be humanly possible. In the circumstances, use of the
weapon did not constitute excessive force.
In R. v. Galloway,49 a woman was forcibly arrested for uttering a death threat. She
was handcuffed at her residence and brought to the police station, where she resisted
when two female officers attempted to remove the handcuffs. The accused
intervened, using the conducted energy weapon three times in order to gain
compliance. The trial judge acquitted the officer, finding that his actions were
reasonable in order to aid his fellow officers. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial
judge’s conclusion.

b. Officer did not have reasonable grounds to make the arrest
In R. v. Shott,50 the accused RCMP officer attended Mr. Brown’s residence to
investigate an alleged fraud, for failing to pay a taxi fare. Mr. Brown admitted the
accused into the residence and, after a short conversation, the accused attempted to
arrest Mr. Brown, placing his arm on Mr. Brown’s elbow to bring him outside. When
Mr. Brown jerked away, the accused used the conducted energy weapon in probe
mode, having concluded that “verbalization” and “soft hand contact” had not worked,
it would be inappropriate to use pepper spray in an enclosed space, and using a baton
would be excessive. Mr. Brown was immediately incapacitated and fell to the floor,
where the accused handcuffed him. The accused subsequently realized that Mr.
Brown was not the taxi passenger, and released him.

49 [2007] N.S.J. No. 92 (Nova Scotia Supreme Court).
50 [2006] A.J. No. 1337 (Alberta Provincial Court).

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The court convicted the accused. He did not have reasonable grounds to arrest Mr.
Brown, and consequently could not claim the protection of s. 25.
In R. v. Cameron,51 the accused RCMP officer arrived outside a pub after a call for
assistance from a fellow officer. The accused saw the complainant (Mr. Campbell)
approaching another officer in what he perceived to be a threatening way.
Mr. Campbell then climbed into a passenger seat of a car, in which there were three
other occupants, including two women who seemed distraught. The accused did not
know that the other officer had instructed the group to leave the scene, so he stopped
the car, removed Mr. Campbell from the vehicle and arrested him for causing a
disturbance by fighting, even though there had in fact been no fight. After walking
Mr. Campbell to the police vehicle, he used the conducted energy weapon on Mr.
Campbell’s back in push-stun mode, for one second or less, in order to get him to
climb inside the vehicle. The trial judge found that the accused acted within RCMP
policy when applying the weapon and, citing R. v. Hannibal as authority, determined
this was a relevant factor in deciding whether Constable Cameron’s actions were
reasonable. However, a reasonable person in the accused’s position would have made
more enquiries prior to arresting Mr. Campbell, and he did not have reasonable and
probable grounds for the arrest. The accused was found guilty of assault with a
weapon because he was not acting in execution of his duty when applying the
conducted energy weapon.

2. Police officer’s use of excessive force
In some cases, a court will exclude evidence or judicially stay criminal proceedings, if
satisfied that an officer’s use of a conducted energy weapon breached the accused’s
rights under s. 7 (security of the person) or s. 12 (cruel and unusual treatment or
punishment) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

51 [2008] B.C.P.C. 0231 (BC Provincial Court).

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In R. v. Merrick,52 the accused protested verbally when told he was being arrested for
a drinking-driving offence, and may have held onto a handrail. One of the three
officers used a conducted energy weapon on the accused and, when the accused fell
to the ground, the officer used the weapon a second time, claiming that by telling the
officers to get out, the accused was actively resisting. The court found that both
weapon deployments were unreasonable, and that telling the officers to get out could
not constitute active resistance. Cumulatively, the unlawful entry into the accused’s
home, the unlawful arrest, and the excessive use of force warranted a judicial stay of
proceedings.
In R. v. Walcott,53 the court found that the first officer’s use of a conducted energy
weapon twice was reasonable, but that the second officer’s use of another weapon
three times was not, because the latter uses must have occurred after the accused
had been subdued and handcuffed. The second officer’s conduct violated Toronto
Police Service policy, which allows use of a conducted energy weapon only when the
accused demonstrates assaultive behaviour. The officer’s egregious act of misconduct
warranted a stay of proceedings.
In R. v. J.W.,54 a 15-year-old youth was arrested for breaking and entering. The youth
denied carrying a weapon but one was found during a pat-down search, which led to a
strip search. After the youth put his clothes back on, the officer used a conducted
energy weapon in stun mode on the youth’s hip, but did not record the incident in his
notes or complete the required use-of-force form. The court ruled that the strip
search was justifiable, but that use of the weapon was unnecessary, outside policy,
and constituted a shocking abuse of police powers, necessitating a judicial stay of
proceedings.

52 [2007] O.J. No. 2266 (Ontario Court of Justice).
53 (2008), 57 C.R. (6th) 223 (Ontario Superior Court), and Article at p. 263ff.
54 [2006] A.J. No. 1097 (Alberta Provincial Court).

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3. Conclusions
From my examination of these and other court decisions, I have reached four
conclusions. First, it would be unwise to generalize from these decisions, since in
each case so much depended on the trial judge’s findings of fact.
Second, one of the relevant factors (but not necessarily the determining one) is the
extent to which the police officer acted in accordance with his or her training and
with the police department’s policy respecting when a conducted energy weapon may
be deployed.
Third, the varying policies among police forces about when a conducted energy
weapon may be deployed creates the risk of inconsistent verdicts across Canada. For
example, using a conducted energy weapon when a person is actively resistant may
protect an officer from an accusation of using excessive force in one jurisdiction, but
may not in another jurisdiction that authorizes the weapon’s use only in the case of
assaultive behaviour.
Fourth, officer safety is a relevant factor in these court decisions. In all cases where
an officer was at risk of injury or held a reasonable belief that he or she was at risk,
the courts found that the use of a conducted energy weapon did not constitute
excessive force. The converse, however, is not true, as there are cases where there
appeared to be no danger to an officer or a civilian, yet the court still found that the
force used was reasonable.

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Part 5
British Columbia Police
Departments’ Policies on
Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE

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ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE
A.

INTRODUCTION .................................................................... 93

B.

THE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM ................................................ 94
1.

2.

C.

POLICIES ON USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ..................... 104
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

7.
8.
9.

D.

National Use of Force Framework...................................................... 95
a.
The situation .................................................................... 96
b.
The subject’s behaviour ....................................................... 97
c.
The officer’s perceptions and tactical considerations ................... 98
The RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model............................. 99
a.
The former model .............................................................. 99
b.
The revised model.............................................................101
c.
New policy for conducted energy weapons................................103

Designation of conducted energy weapons ..........................................104
Training in the use of conducted energy weapons .................................105
Wearing of a conducted energy weapon .............................................105
When a conducted energy weapon should not be used ...........................106
Pre-deployment considerations .......................................................106
Deployment considerations ............................................................107
a.
Categories of subject behaviour ............................................107
b.
Types of deployment..........................................................111
c.
Use of the weapon-mounted camera to record discharge ..............112
Post-deployment considerations ......................................................112
Reporting on conducted energy weapon use ........................................114
Administration ...........................................................................115

CONCLUSIONS.................................................................... 116

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ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE

A. INTRODUCTION
In this part, I will examine the policies that individual policing bodies have developed
that deal specifically with the use of conducted energy weapons. The absence of
provincial leadership has resulted in a patchwork quilt, with troubling gaps and
inconsistencies.
Before undertaking this examination, I will identify the law enforcement bodies whose
policies have been reviewed. There are currently 11 municipal police departments
providing policing services in 12 municipalities, as set out in Table 3. In all other
areas of the province (accounting for approximately 70 percent of the provincial
population), the RCMP acts as the provincial police force.

Table 3: Municipal police departments in British Columbia
Region
Greater Victoria

Lower Mainland

Kootenays

Municipality

Population55

Victoria (including Esquimalt)
Saanich
Central Saanich
Oak Bay
Vancouver
West Vancouver
Delta
Port Moody
New Westminster
Abbotsford
Nelson

96,066
110,737
16,768
18,059
589,352
46,764
102,945
30,120
57,645
129,685
9,923

Police
strength56
222
147
21
24
1,235
80
160
45
109
199
20

In addition, there are several provincially regulated law enforcement agencies:
• The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service
(Transit Authority Police) delivers policing services to multiple modes of
the transit system: rail (SkyTrain and West Coast Express), bus, and the
SeaBus. As the Transit Authority Police is a supplementary police agency, the

55 Source: 2006 Federal Census.
56 Police Services Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. See
http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/police_services/publications/statistics/policeresourcesinbc.pdf (2007).

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relevant municipal police department or RCMP detachment retains primary
responsibility for policing in each jurisdiction.
• The provincial Sheriff Services is a subdivision of the Court Services Branch
of the Ministry of Attorney General. Its responsibilities include transporting
prisoners, providing courtroom security, assembling and supervising juries,
serving court documents, and carrying out court orders.
• The provincial Corrections Branch (Adult Custody Division) is a branch of the
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. It operates correctional
centres, which hold inmates who are remanded in custody for trial,
sentenced to imprisonment for the commission of offences, or detained by
immigration authorities.
• The Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Force and Kitasoo-Xaixais Public Safety
Department are designated policing units established under s. 4.1 of the
Police Act, to provide policing on specified reserves in the Lillooet and
Klemtu areas, respectively.

B. THE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM
In order to put the discussion of police departments’ policies respecting conducted
energy weapon use into the proper context, one needs to be familiar with a concept
known in policing as the “use-of-force continuum.” There are two principal models:
• The National Use of Force Framework (NUFF) was developed in 1999 by 65
use-of-force trainers across Canada and the United States. The Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police endorsed it as a framework from which law
enforcement agencies could build their own use–of-force policies or
standards;57 and
• The Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM) was developed by the
RCMP for use by its officers.

57 See The Police Chief magazine, June 2008, available at http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/
index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1397&issue_id=102004.

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1. National Use of Force Framework
Diagram 1: National Use of Force Framework58
National Use of Force Framework
Le cadre national de l'emploi de la force

Ih. siluation .nd ..,..In.
",.,.....bl..... nn.' 10 .".u""offi~.nd publk ... friy.

Th~ offi~<ontin"ovsly

L'_ I dolt oonlin".lIom.nt h.I".rl. .,;I..... ti ... ri o.sU d. manib.
,,.;..,......bl•• rm d·...""', ... prop.. M<uri.. ol .. U. du public.

The National Use of Force Framework (NUFF—see Diagram 1) includes a graphical
representation of the various factors a police officer uses to assess a situation and act
in a reasonable manner to ensure officer and public safety. It promotes a continuous
assessment and evaluation of each situation, and helps officers understand and make
use of a variety of force options to respond to potentially violent situations.

58 The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, A National Use of Force Framework (Ottawa: CACP,
2000), see http://www.cacp.ca/media/library/download/264/nationaluofframework.pdf.

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Six principles underlie the national framework:
1. A peace officer’s primary responsibility is to preserve and protect life;
2. Public safety is the primary objective of any use of force;
3. Police officer safety is essential to public safety;
4. The National Use of Force Framework does not replace or augment the
law; the law speaks for itself;
5. The National Use of Force Framework was constructed in consideration of
(federal) statute law and current case law; and
6. The National Use of Force Framework is not intended to dictate policy to
any agency.
Those who drafted the framework explain how the graphic should be used:
The assessment process begins in the centre of the graphic with the situation
confronting the officer. From there, the assessment process moves outward
and addresses the subject’s behaviour and the officer’s perceptions and
tactical considerations. Based on the officer’s assessment of the conditions
represented by these inner circles, the officer selects from the use-of-force
options contained in the framework’s outer circle. After the officer chooses a
response option the officer must continue to assess, plan, and act to determine
whether his or her actions are appropriate and effective. The whole process
should be seen as dynamic and constantly evolving until the situation is brought
under control59 [emphasis added].
In a November 2000 commentary on the National Use of Force Framework,60 the
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police discussed the three principal components of
the assessment process: the situation, the subject’s behaviour, and the officer’s
perception and tactical considerations.

a. The situation
When an officer responds to an incident, the officer must address at least six different
conditions, which I summarize as follows:
• The environment—including weather, time of day, location, and physical
position;

59 Ibid., p. 11.
60 Ibid.

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• Number of subjects—meaning that the number of officers versus the number
of subjects will affect the officer’s assessment of the situation;
• Perception of subject’s abilities—including intoxication by alcohol or drugs;
subject’s size, strength, and emotional state; and proximity to weapons;
• Prior knowledge of subject—including criminal history and reputation;
• Time and distance—including pressing threat to public safety, availability of
cover, imminent arrival of backup, and ability to increase the distance; and
• Potential attack signs—meaning a subject’s physical behaviours that may
give clues as to the subject’s intentions (e.g., ignoring the officer; aggressive
verbalization; refusing to comply with a lawful request; invasion of personal
space; and hiding).

b. The subject’s behaviour
The framework divides subject behaviours into five categories, and gives examples of
the types of behaviour that fall within each category, which I quote:
• Cooperative—the subject responds appropriately to the officer’s presence,
direction, and control.
• Resistant (passive)—the subject refuses, with little or no physical action, to
cooperate with the officer’s lawful direction. This can assume the form of a
verbal refusal or consciously contrived physical activity.
• Resistant (active)—the subject uses non-assaultive physical action to resist,
or while resisting an officer’s lawful direction. Examples would include
pulling away to prevent or escape control, or overt movements such as
walking toward, or away from an officer. Running away is another example
of active resistance.
• Assaultive—the subject attempts to apply, or applies force to any person;
attempts or threatens by an act or gesture to apply force to another person,
if he/she has, or causes that other person to believe upon reasonable
grounds that he/she has, present ability to effect his/her purpose. Examples
include kicking and punching, but may also include aggressive body language
that signals the intent to assault.
• Grievous bodily harm or death—the subject exhibits actions that the officer
reasonably believes are intended to, or likely to, cause grievous bodily harm
or death to any person. Examples include assaults with a knife, stick, or
firearm, or actions that would result in serious injury to an officer or
member of the public.

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c. The officer’s perceptions and tactical considerations
These can be summarized as follows:
• Perceptions—how an officer sees or perceives a situation is, in part, a
function of the personal characteristics he or she brings to the situation.
These personal characteristics affect the officer’s beliefs concerning his or
her ability to deal with the situation. They include strength, training, fears,
gender, fatigue, injuries, cultural background, and sight/vision.
• Tactical considerations—these include the option of disengaging, officer
appearance, uniform and equipment, number of officers, availability of
backup or cover, and availability of special units and equipment.
Based on the officer’s assessment of the situation, the officer must develop a plan
that involves selecting an appropriate response. The dynamic nature of the situation
requires constant assessment, which means that the force options selected may
change at any point:
• Officer presence—the simple presence of an officer, or visible signs of
authority such as a uniform or marked police car may change a subject’s
behaviour.
• Communication—an officer may use verbal and non-verbal communication to
control and/or resolve the situation.
• Physical control—this means any physical technique, not involving the use of
a weapon, used to control a subject. Soft techniques include restraining
techniques, joint locks and non-resistant handcuffing. Hard techniques
include empty hand strikes such as punches and kicks.
• Intermediate weapons—these are less lethal weapons (those whose use is
not intended to cause serious injury or death), which include impact
weapons and aerosols.61
• Lethal force—this involves the use of any weapons or techniques that are
intended to, or are reasonably likely to, cause grievous bodily harm or death.
Although force options are arrayed along a continuum of severity, the officer is not
required to attempt all lower level force options before applying a higher level of
force. Choice of force turns on an officer’s overall assessment of the demands of the

61 Although the framework does not refer specifically to conducted energy weapons (presumably because
they did not come into use until after the framework was developed), it is generally accepted that
conducted energy weapons are another example of intermediate weapons.

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situation. For this reason, the National Use of Force Framework is represented visually
in the form of a wheel, to emphasize the non-linear nature of this assessment.
Four British Columbia law enforcement agencies explicitly reference the National Use
of Force Framework as governing the response of their officers.62

2. The RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model
The RCMP has developed a similar use-of-force model known as the Incident
Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM), with a similar graphical depiction (see
Diagram 2).

a. The former model
When this Commission began its work, the IM/IM was as follows:

Diagram 2: Incident Management/Intervention Model63

f

i

\

\

,-

~~

COMmOl
(0011)

~.

\ .,

62 Central Saanich, Abbotsford, Nelson, and the Transit Authority Police. However, all provincially
regulated law enforcement agencies have use-of-force models that follow a roughly similar organizational
structure.
63 See http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ccaps-spcca/cew-ai/imim-migi-eng.htm. The graphic model
illustrated here has been revised.

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According to the RCMP,64 seven principles apply in determining whether and how to
intervene in a policing situation:
1. The primary objective of any intervention is public safety.
2. Police officer safety is essential to public safety.
3. The intervention model must always be applied in the context of a careful
assessment of risk.
4. Risk assessment must take into account the likelihood and extent of life
loss, injury, and damage to property.
5. Risk assessment is a continuous process and risk management must evolve
as situations change.
6. The best strategy is to utilize the least amount of intervention to manage
the risk.
7. The best intervention causes the least amount of harm or damage.
In the inner (grey) portion of the graphic, five potential levels of resistance of suspects
were set out, and the Incident Management/Intervention Model provided informative
descriptions of expected behaviours of individuals displaying each of these levels.
Comparing these descriptions to the National Use of Force Framework satisfies me that
they are substantively the same. The Incident Management/Intervention Model
categories of resistance of individuals stated:
• Cooperative—there is no resistance. The person responds positively to verbal
requests, commands, or activation of a police vehicle’s emergency
equipment. The person willingly complies.
• Non-cooperative—there is little or no physical resistance. The person does
not comply with the officer’s request. This can be done through verbal
defiance with little or no physical response or failing to pull their vehicle
over and stop when an officer activates the police vehicle’s emergency
equipment. This may include refusal to leave the scene, failure to follow
directions, taunting officers, and advising others to disregard officer’s lawful
requests.
• Resistant—the person demonstrates resistance to control by the police
officer through behaviours such as pulling away, pushing away, or running
away. This can include a situation where a police officer activates a police

64 The revised Incident Management/Intervention Model now includes six principles. See footnote 63.

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vehicle’s emergency equipment and the suspect fails to stop and attempts to
evade apprehension by driving evasively.
• Combative—the person attempts or threatens to apply force to anyone (e.g.,
punching; kicking; clenching fists with intent to hurt or resist; threats of an
assault). In the case of a person operating a vehicle, they attempt to collide
with the police vehicle, another vehicle, or a pedestrian.
• Person shows the potential to cause grievous bodily harm or death—the
person acts in a way which would lead the police officer to believe could
result in grievous bodily harm or death to the public or the police (e.g., knife
attack; baseball bat; use of firearm. In the case of a person operating a
vehicle, they collide with the police, police vehicle, another vehicle, or a
pedestrian).
With respect to the force options available to officers, there was one significant
difference between the National Use of Force Framework and the RCMP’s former
Incident Management/Intervention Model. While both models authorized the use of
“intermediate weapons/devices” (including conducted energy weapons) when the
subject’s behaviour reached the active resistant (National Use of Force Framework) or
resistant (RCMP) level, the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model included
a higher level “impact weapons” category between the 8:30 and 11:00 o’clock
positions, and authorized the use of extendable batons and extended impact weapons
(such as a sock round) only when this level of subject behaviour was reached. In other
words, these types of weapons could be used only when the subject was combative,
whereas conducted energy weapons could be used in the case of resistant behaviour.

b. The revised model
According to an operational manual bulletin dated December 14, 2007, the RCMP
advised its members that, effective immediately, a conducted energy weapon could
only be deployed on persons “who are displaying Active Resistant Behaviour and
higher categories of behaviour” (para. 1.1). The types of subject behaviours included
in that term are comparable to the “Resistant” behaviours described in the former
model. During the RCMP’s oral presentations at our public forums, I was referred to a
revised graphic depiction of the IM/IM (see Diagram 3), which had recently been
introduced.

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Diagram 3: Revised Incident Management/Intervention Model65

PHYSICAL CONtROl..
CONnlOt.E PHYSIQUE

The new wheel adopts the same terminology as the National Use of Force Framework
wheel for the second, third, and fourth categories of suspect behaviour—passive
resistant, active resistant, and assaultive. Comparing the types of subject behaviours
that the two models describe for these categories, I am satisfied that the two models
are substantively the same.
The new Incident Management/Intervention Model wheel also eliminates the reference
to “impact weapons.” While this change does not affect conducted energy weapons,
it would appear that the threshold for use of extendable batons and extended impact
weapons has been lowered to instances of active resistant behaviour.

65 See Assistant Commissioner Macintyre’s PowerPoint presentation to the Commission’s public forum,
May 22, 2008, slide 7. Although the RCMP’s website continued to show the former graphic depiction
(Diagram 2) as recently as May 6, 2009, I was advised that it would be updated imminently.

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c. New policy for conducted energy weapons
On February 12, 2009, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott made a presentation to the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, in
which he stated:
On June 18, 2008, all members of the RCMP were instructed that the CEW
“must only be used where it is necessary to do so in circumstances of threats to
officer or public safety.” This requirement has subsequently been written into
our formal policy.66
The new policy, found in the RCMP’s Operational Manual—Conducted Energy Weapon,67
can best be understood when compared to the previous policy, both of which are set
out below:
Previous policy
3.1.1. The CEW must be used in accordance with CEW training and the
principles of the Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM).
New policy
3.1.1. The CEW must only be used in accordance with CEW training, the
principles of the Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM) and in
response to a threat to officer or public safety as determined by a member’s
assessment of the totality of the circumstances being encountered.
NOTE: Member’s actions must be reasonable and the force used must be
necessary in the circumstances.
Under the previous policy, conducted energy weapon usage had to comply with
training and the Incident Management/Intervention Model use-of-force continuum. As
discussed earlier, they authorized use in the face of a subject’s active resistance. The
new policy continues to make both those factors applicable (which must mean that
active resistance continues to be the subject behaviour threshold), but now adds a
new requirement, “a threat to officer or public safety.” I interpret the new policy to
mean that an RCMP officer may now deploy a conducted energy weapon against a

66 See http://www.RCMP-grc.gc.ca/news-nouvelles/2009/2009-02-12-commiss-secu-eng.htm.
67 See http://www.RCMP-grc.gc.ca:80/ccaps-spcca/cew-ai/operations-17-7-eng.htm.

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subject who is exhibiting active resistance, but only if the subject’s behaviour poses a
threat to officer or public safety.
With this understanding of the general use-of-force continuum, I turn now to an
examination of the policies developed by the various law enforcement agencies in
British Columbia respecting use of conducted energy weapons.

C. POLICIES ON USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS
In the discussion that follows, I will frequently refer to the number of law
enforcement agencies that have policies on specific issues, but will usually not identify
them by name. I take this approach because my objective is not to conduct an audit
of each agency’s policies, but rather to identify more generally the issues that are
dealt with (and the ones that are not), and the variations among law enforcement
agencies on substantive policy issues.
For readers who wish a more detailed breakdown of each policing agency’s policies,
please refer to Appendix E.

1. Designation of conducted energy weapons
It is generally accepted that a conducted energy weapon is an intermediate weapon
for the purposes of the National Use of Force Framework, although less than half the
agencies explicitly state this policy.
Most agencies state that officers may use only those models of conducted energy
weapons that are approved by the agency. Several agencies refer specifically to the
TASER M26 and X26 models.
As I discussed in Part 4, the Use of Force Regulation is the principal authority in British
Columbia respecting intermediate weapons. It deals with the approval of weapons as
intermediate weapons, and with training, qualification, and re-qualification.
However, only two agencies refer specifically to the Regulation.

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2. Training in the use of conducted energy weapons
Most agencies have provisions stating that proper training is required before an officer
is allowed to use a conducted energy weapon. However, the policies do not specify
the length or content of that training, except that one agency requires training on
excited delirium and resuscitation of an unconscious subject.
Most agencies require that officers who have been qualified in the use of a conducted
energy weapon be periodically re-certified. However, there is no consistency in the
frequency of re-certification, which ranges between one and two years.
Only one policy requires that all conducted energy weapon training is to be conducted
by an instructor certified on the specific device used.
Although some agencies require that a supervisor be notified when a conducted energy
weapon is deployed, there is some ambiguity about whether notification must be
before or after deployment. No agency specifies whether supervisors must be
certified to use such weapons.

3. Wearing of a conducted energy weapon
Four agencies require that a conducted energy weapon be carried in a holster on the
side opposite the firearm, while one agency requires that a conducted energy weapon
be carried in the locked trunk of the police cruiser, when not carried by the officer.
Most agencies specify that an officer may carry a conducted energy weapon only when
on duty.
Very few policies specify testing of a conducted energy weapon at the beginning of an
officer’s shift, such as conducting a spark test and inspecting the weapon to ensure
that it is operating properly.

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4. When a conducted energy weapon should not be used
In the 2005 Canadian Police Research Centre report, entitled Review of Conducted
Energy Devices, the authors noted the variety and complexity of circumstances that
may confront an officer, and concluded (at page 27):
It would be unwise and counter-productive for any police service or
government body to develop policies and procedures that explicitly specify in
what kinds of circumstances a CED [conducted energy device] may or may not
be used.
Notwithstanding this caution, police agencies have taken varying approaches to
“preclusions” (i.e., those circumstances in which conducted energy weapons should
not be used):
• Three agencies preclude use in a punitive, criminal, or coercive manner;
• One agency precludes use against children,68 elderly persons, apparently
pregnant women, physically disabled persons, and handcuffed prisoners
(unless the prisoner is assaultive and cannot be otherwise controlled);
• Three agencies preclude use against a passively resistant subject;
• Several agencies preclude use when the subject is near flammable, volatile,
or explosive materials;
• Several agencies preclude use when there is a potential for a serious fall; and
• Four agencies are silent as to circumstances in which deployment is
prohibited.

5. Pre-deployment considerations
Two agencies require that, if reasonable, the officer notify a supervisor before using a
conducted energy weapon, although they are ambiguous about whether the officer
must also get the supervisor’s authorization.
Seven agencies require that a cover officer be present for officer safety before a
conducted energy weapon is deployed.
68 U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties
Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, UNOHCHROR, 49th Sess., UN Doc. CRC/C/GBR/CO/4, 1 at 7. See
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/ bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/CRC.C.GBR.CO.4.pdf.

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Ten agencies suggest that the weapon first be shown to the subject (referred to as
“force presence”), with the goal of obtaining compliance without actually using the
weapon.
Several agencies require that a verbal warning (e.g., “Police, stop or you will be hit
with 50,000 volts of electricity”) be issued before the weapon is actually used (if
tactically appropriate), and three agencies specify the content of a verbal warning.
However, the BC Association of Chiefs of Police has recently endorsed the provincial
use of force coordinator’s recommendation that this warning not be required.
Four agencies require that the officer with the conducted energy weapon give a verbal
warning to other officers at the scene that the weapon is about to be discharged.
No agencies require that an ambulance with a defibrillator be summoned, either
before or after a conducted energy weapon is deployed.

6. Deployment considerations
There are several aspects to deployment that should be considered. I will begin with
the subject’s behaviour, and then consider the various types of deployment (i.e.,
push-stun mode and probe mode), and the requirement to record the event on video.

a. Categories of subject behaviour
According to the RCMP’s current Incident Management/Intervention Model, an officer
is authorized to use an intermediate weapon (which includes a conducted energy
weapon) when a subject is exhibiting “active resistant” behaviour. However, its
February 2009 policy amendment appears to have added an additional requirement
that the subject’s behaviour poses “a threat to officer or public safety” (an
exceptionally subjective standard, which I will discuss in more detail in Part 10).
In the case of municipal police forces, the National Use of Force Framework authorizes
the use of intermediate weapons at that same level of “active resistant” subject
behaviour but, as I noted earlier, this framework is not binding on police forces.
Indeed, the framework states that it “is not intended to dictate policy to any agency.”

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Thus, in the absence of any overarching provincial policy, it has been left to each
municipal police department to decide the level of subject behaviour that justifies use
of a conducted energy weapon.
Six agencies set the threshold at active resistance but, even within these six, there is
some variation in the types of behaviour that constitute active resistance:
• One policy speaks of resisting an officer’s lawful efforts to take the person
into custody without attacking the officer.
• The transit police service recently increased its threshold from “noncompliant” to “active resistant” which, under both use-of-force models,
includes pulling away or running away. However, the new policy specifically
states that fleeing for non-payment of a transit fare does not justify use of a
conducted energy weapon.
Other agencies do not refer specifically to an “active resistant” threshold, opting
instead to use their own unique terminology for what threshold of subject behaviour is
required, such as the following:
• Two agencies refer to a “combative or non-compliant individual who poses a
risk of bodily harm to the public or the police.”
• Two other agencies refer to subjects who “need to be immediately
controlled,” or subjects whom a member believes “will be actively
aggressive/assaultive toward police or others.”
• Five agencies also specify higher risk behaviour that warrants conducted
energy weapon use—“more dangerous or assaultive behaviour that threatens
the safety of the subject, the public or officers.”
• One policy states that a conducted energy weapon may be used “by an
officer who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a dangerous
or violent subject, who is a danger to himself or others, requires immediate
control.”
• One policy requires that three conditions be met:
o The subject is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or will be
resistant towards police officers;
o The subject needs to be immediately controlled; and
o Lesser force options are ineffective or inappropriate in the
circumstances.

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• One policy states very generally that the department “supports the use of
intermediate weapons by members who are qualified and/or certified to use
them when lower levels of force … have been ineffective and/or
inappropriate, and the use of higher levels of force … may not be justified
and/or appropriate.”
• One policy begins with the general instruction that officers shall consider
using a conducted energy weapon as a use-of-force option “in situations
involving violent individual(s) who pose a threat to the officer(s) and/or to
the public,” but then gives a more specific instruction:
CEWs may only be used on those subjects whom an officer has
reasonable grounds to believe are a danger to themselves or others and
need to be immediately controlled. CEWs may also be used if the
officer reasonably believes the subject will be actively resistant/
assaultive toward police or others, or poses a threat to the officer or
others, of serious bodily injury or death.
• One policy states that a conducted energy weapon “shall only be used on
subjects where it is necessary to effect the apprehension of a person whom
the member reasonably believes is dangerous to themselves or others, and
the subject needs to be controlled and the member is satisfied that a lesser
means or force would not gain control over the subject in a safe manner.”
• One policy states that conducted energy weapon technology “is an effective
option for incapacitating individuals demonstrating aggressive/assaultive
behaviour, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, injurious to themselves or
being destructive.” The weapon may be deployed in tactical operations, in a
cell entry and extraction, in response to an escape or escape attempt, or for
external prowl in a secure outside yard. It may also be used, as approved by
the warden, “when intervention is required to prevent self-harm, compel
compliance, terminate violent and destructive behaviour, protect safety of
staff and inmates, and when less use of force is inappropriate or
unreasonable.”69
When discussing conducted energy weapons, some policies also refer to the highest
level of subject behaviour (grievous bodily harm or death), when use of lethal force is
authorized. They do not suggest that a conducted energy weapon can be used only
when this threshold has been reached, but focus instead on whether it is appropriate
for an officer to use a conducted energy weapon in such circumstances:

69 As will become clear in Part 6 (Training), the policies described in this part do not seem to have been
carried through into training materials—the latter are often inconsistent with the agency’s policies.

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• Six agencies state that at no time shall a conducted energy weapon be a
replacement for a firearm in a deadly force encounter.
• Three agencies state that conducted energy weapons are not an alternative
to lethal force, but rather can be used in conjunction with lethal force where
reasonable and appropriate to do so.
At the Commission’s public forum, the BC Association of Chiefs of Police expressed the
view that a conducted energy weapon is not an appropriate force option when an
officer is attempting to stop a violent subject who is actively causing, or anticipated
to cause, grievous bodily harm or death. However, it may be appropriate to use
conducted energy weapons in high-risk scenarios, but only where there is time,
distance, cover (lethal overwatch), and an absence of imminent jeopardy.70
Only a few policies comment on whether it is appropriate to use a conducted energy
weapon to prevent a subject from committing suicide or other acts of self-harm.
Several agencies address the issue of the subject’s medical condition. Four agencies
identify “excited delirium” as a relevant medical condition. Until recently the RCMP
policy stated that individuals experiencing excited delirium require medical
treatment, which first requires that they be restrained. It added that in considering
intervention options for excited delirium cases, the use of a conducted energy weapon
in a probe-mode deployment may be the most effective response to establish control.
That policy has now been replaced with the following:
Acutely agitated or delirious persons may be at a high risk of death. If an
individual is in an acutely agitated or delirious state, and whenever possible
when responding to reports of violent individuals, request the assistance of
emergency medical services. If possible bring medical assistance to the scene.
Another agency’s policy states that the ambulance service should be called as soon as
possible in the case of excited delirium or psychosis, and consideration must be given
to containing the individual but delaying intervention until the ambulance service is on
the scene.

70 Lethal overwatch refers to the practice in which one officer deploys a conducted energy weapon at
the subject while another officer is pointing his or her firearm at the subject.

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b. Types of deployment
There are several ways in which a conducted energy weapon may be deployed. The
subject may be warned that it may be used, it may be drawn from the holster and
pointed at the subject, or it may be pointed with a spark test and/or with targeting
the laser light on the subject’s body (“force presence”). If the cartridge is not
attached, it may be pressed against the subject’s skin, and the electrodes in the nose
of the weapon send an electrical current into the subject’s body (“push-stun mode”).
With the cartridge attached, the officer may deploy the two barbed darts, which
imbed in the subject’s clothing or skin (“probe mode”). Finally, after the weapon has
been used in probe mode, the officer may use it in push-stun mode, because of the
two electrodes in the leading edge of the spent cartridge.
Several agencies refer to “force presence” as an option available to an officer.
Two agencies state that in the face of active resistance, the officer may only use the
conducted energy weapon in push-stun mode. However, when an officer is
confronted, or reasonably believes that they will be confronted, by a subject who is
offering assaultive resistance, or poses a threat of serious bodily injury or death to
themselves, the police, or to others, an officer may use the CEW in either the pushstun mode or probe mode.
When used in push-stun mode, a conducted energy weapon will transmit an electrical
current for an initial cycle of five seconds, which can be repeated by depressing the
trigger again after completion of the previous cycle. Four agencies state that
continuous applications for periods exceeding 15 to 20 seconds may pose an increased
risk to the subject, while three agencies state that a second discharge should last only
five seconds. Only one agency acknowledges that continuous discharge may be
hazardous to the subject, and cautions that unless situational factors require it,
continuous discharge should not be applied. One agency specifies that push-stun
mode may be used in a second discharge.

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When used in probe mode, the initial electrical current of five seconds can be
repeated any number of times by repeatedly pulling the trigger after completion of
the previous cycle. Five agencies require a situational reassessment after the failure
of a first (or second) discharge. Seven agencies state that a second discharge may be
appropriate if the first discharge does not control the subject. No agency specifies a
maximum number of discharges. One agency states that if the subject has not been
controlled after two discharges, the officer should consider that the weapon is
ineffective, and consider another appropriate force option to gain control.
Only one agency acknowledges that multiple discharges may be hazardous to the
subject, and cautions that unless situational factors require it, multiple discharges
should not be applied.
One agency recommends that the probes be aimed at large muscle groups, the pelvic
girdle, and nerve endings. Two agencies mandate that the laser sight not be centred
higher than the subject’s mid-chest. Three agencies prohibit aiming probes at
sensitive body parts such as the head, neck, face, or genitalia.
Four agencies recommend that a subject be restrained while the conducted energy
weapon is activated.

c. Use of the weapon-mounted camera to record discharge
The TASER X26 model is available with an optional video and audio recorder. Only one
agency (the provincial Corrections Branch) requires that a video record be made of the
deployment of the conducted energy weapon. However, rather than relying on the
weapon’s built-in video camera, the branch requires that every deployment be
videotaped on a hand-held video recorder, and it also relies on wall-mounted closedcircuit video cameras.

7. Post-deployment considerations
Ten agencies require that a supervisor be notified to attend at the scene, for various
purposes, after a conducted energy weapon has been deployed. For example, one

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agency specifies that the supervisor’s duties include ensuring that the subject receives
proper medical care, photographing the scene and any injuries, and confirming a data
download to the training officer.
Nine agencies require that the subject be handcuffed after use of a conducted energy
weapon. Eleven agencies require that the officer advise the subject that a conducted
energy weapon has been used on them, and that the effects are temporary. Five
agencies require photos or video documentation of a subject’s injuries attributable to
a conducted energy weapon.
With respect to medical assistance, one agency requires that the subject not be left in
the prone position, while two others require that the subject be placed in the
recovery position.71 Five agencies mandate that officers must continuously monitor
the subject’s medical condition after use of a conducted energy weapon.
Six agencies require that an ambulance be called after every deployment, regardless
of the nature of injuries. Four agencies require that an ambulance be called only if
the officer believes it is necessary. One agency requires that an ambulance be called
only if the subject requests one. Four policies require that the officer advise
paramedics that a conducted energy weapon was used on the subject.
One agency requires medical treatment when a probe penetrates an eye, genital, or
breast. Two agencies require medical intervention when the subject exhibits
prolonged paralysis, loss of consciousness, seizure, or any other indications of medical
concern. One agency requires medical intervention when a subject is injured due to a
post-discharge fall.
Ten agencies require medical assistance for barb removal, but:
• Six agencies allow an officer to remove a probe from clothing;
• Three agencies allow an officer trained in first aid or probe removal to
remove a probe; and

71 In its February 2009 policy amendments, the RCMP deleted the direction that the subject should be
removed from the prone position as soon as possible after control had been established.

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• One agency requires that, if an officer removes a probe, it be done in the
manner that least interferes with the subject’s privacy and dignity.
Two agencies mandate that paramedics decide whether a subject should be
transported to hospital. Two agencies specify how the subject will be transported,
and the circumstances in which an officer should accompany the subject in the
ambulance.
Eight agencies require that the incident scene be preserved as a major crime scene if
the subject has been injured, and one of these agencies requires that a forensic
identification squad attend the scene.
Seven agencies require that relevant paraphernalia be seized if the subject has been
injured, and three agencies require that the conducted energy weapon and spent
cartridge be preserved as an exhibit.

8. Reporting on conducted energy weapon use
All agencies require that a use-of-force or analogous written report be completed
after a conducted energy weapon has been deployed, but:
• The format of the report varies; and
• Only six specify that “deployment” includes force presence as well as
discharge.
Three agencies specify the narrative content of use-of-force reports, requiring such
elements as reasons for contact, environmental conditions, and subject behaviour. Six
agencies require that the data be downloaded from the weapon and attached to the
use-of-force report.
Almost all agencies require that a completed use-of-force report be submitted to a
supervisor, but they are not consistent on what the supervisor does with the reports.
Five agencies require that the “Subject Behaviour-Officer Response” template report
in PRIME be completed.72

72 PRIME-BC is the Police Records Information Management Environment, an electronic records
management system that links all police department information across the province.

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Only one municipal police force requires that the firearms officer maintain a software
program detailing all operational deployments of conducted energy weapons. During
the Commission’s public forums, the RCMP advised me that it is developing a national
reporting database.
Six agencies specify the circumstances warranting a review of general use-of-force
reports. Seven agencies specify the purpose of a review, when a review of an incident
does occur (e.g., adherence to departmental use-of-force policy, evaluation of that
policy, evaluation of training protocols, etc.).

9. Administration
Six agencies require that a record of all conducted energy weapon assignments to
officers be maintained, to account for all weapons. Eight agencies require that, when
a weapon is assigned to an officer, the officer test the operation of the weapon using
the spark test. One agency issues conducted energy weapon inspection protocols
when weapons are assigned to officers, requiring them to examine the cartridge for
cracks or damage, and to inspect the holster regularly.
Most agencies require that a conducted energy weapon be stored in a secure room or
equipment office.
Only two agencies contain very specific protocols on conducted energy weapon
maintenance, especially battery and component replacement. The timing of
maintenance inspection, if required, varies among agencies. Only two agencies
require inspection after a conducted energy weapon has been discharged. One agency
requires that defective weapons be brought to the attention of a supervisor.
Only one agency requires data downloading annually, and specifies the officer
responsible for this task. Six agencies require that data be downloaded from a
conducted energy weapon after it has been discharged, and that the data be attached
to the use-of-force report. Only one agency requires a data download from a
malfunctioning weapon.

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Only one agency (the RCMP) requires independent testing of an ineffective or
malfunctioning conducted energy weapon, or after an incident involving injury
requiring medical treatment or death proximal to use of the weapon. No other
agencies have policies respecting weapon calibration or testing of output, although in
late 2008, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General announced that municipal
police departments had agreed to research and establish a standard for regular
calibration of all conducted energy weapons used in the province, and that the RCMP
had also been asked to comply.
With respect to voluntary exposure to a conducted energy weapon’s electrical current,
the RCMP has a policy that voluntary exposure is limited to RCMP candidates
participating in weapon training; the public is completely precluded from voluntary
exposure. The Corrections Branch’s policy prohibits voluntary exposure during
training.

D. CONCLUSIONS
From this review, I have reached several conclusions.
First, there is a troubling lack of consistency in the provincial law enforcement
agencies’ policies respecting conducted energy weapon use. This has occurred, in my
view, because of a lack of leadership at the provincial level in developing provincewide standards for all aspects of conducted energy weapon use, with the result that
each agency has had to develop its own policy.
This inconsistency is most acute in each agency’s articulation of when conducted
energy weapon use is authorized. While “active resistance” would appear to be the
industry standard, the wide variation in language used appears to set somewhat
different thresholds.
As I stated in Part 4 of this Report, it is in my view the responsibility of the provincial
government to set policy for such important issues as conducted energy weapon use. I
am satisfied that ss. 40 and 74 of the Police Act grant adequate authority for the

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province to set province-wide standards on this issue. While interested parties,
including the policing community, have a legitimate role to play in the development of
such policy, the ultimate responsibility rests with civilian authority.
Second, the manner in which the current policies are drafted creates several
problems:
• They are incomplete. The policies of all law enforcement agencies, when
viewed collectively, identify virtually all the issues that should be covered in
policy, but no one agency’s policy comes close to doing so.
• They fail to differentiate between what matters should be addressed in
policy, and what matters should be assigned to training. For example, it is
inappropriate for a policy to leave it up to trainers to determine the
circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon may be used, but
policies need not dwell on detailed procedures such as what steps an officer
should carry out at the beginning of each shift.
• There are many instances of poor drafting. While it is not my intent to
criticize those who drafted these policies, it is not surprising that these
policies are uneven, inconsistent, and incomplete when each law
enforcement agency has been left to fend for itself. For example, several
policies preclude use of conducted energy weapons against elderly people or
apparently pregnant women, without specifying what to do if such a person
has a weapon.

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Training on Conducted Energy
Weapon Use

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A.

INTRODUCTION .................................................................. 123

B.

TRAINING MATERIALS ........................................................... 123
1.
2.

C.

ASPECTS OF TRAINING.......................................................... 125
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

9.
10.
11.

D.

TASER International, Inc................................................................123
Law enforcement agencies in British Columbia.....................................123

Qualifications to train as an instructor or operator................................125
Duration and content of the conducted energy weapon training programs....125
Wearing a conducted energy weapon ................................................127
When a conducted energy weapon should not be used ...........................127
Use of a conducted energy weapon on a person with a medical condition ....128
Pre-deployment considerations .......................................................130
Deployment considerations ............................................................131
a.
Categories of subject behaviour ............................................131
b.
As an alternative to lethal force............................................132
c.
Push-stun mode and probe mode deployments ...........................133
d.
Aiming for particular parts of the subject’s body .......................133
e.
Cuffing under power ..........................................................134
f.
Over-dependence on a conducted energy weapon .......................134
Multiple or prolonged deployments...................................................135
a.
Push-stun mode ................................................................135
b.
Probe mode .....................................................................135
Post-deployment considerations ......................................................136
Excited delirium .........................................................................136
Voluntary exposure......................................................................139

CONCLUSIONS.................................................................... 141

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A. INTRODUCTION
In this part, I will examine the conducted energy weapon training materials developed
by the manufacturer (TASER International, Inc.), by the 11 municipal police
departments and the RCMP, and by the other law enforcement agencies in British
Columbia (Transit Authority Police, the two tribal police services, the provincial
Corrections Branch, and the provincial Sheriff Services Division).
Most of this discussion is based on a research paper and comparative training matrix
prepared by one of the Commission’s researchers. A more detailed breakdown of each
policing agency’s training is set out in Appendix F.

B. TRAINING MATERIALS
1. TASER International, Inc.
The manufacturer publishes training materials for the use of its conducted energy
weapons. The most recent release is Version 14.0, published in October 2007.73 It
consists of a 265-slide PowerPoint presentation, as well as a DVD of video clips, many
of which are real-life scenarios in which conducted energy weapons were deployed by
law enforcement and corrections agencies.

2. Law enforcement agencies in British Columbia
The Justice Institute’s Police Academy in New Westminster provides recruit training
for all municipal police departments and other justice-related agencies, such as the
Corrections Branch and Sheriff Services Division. Until recently the Police Academy
trained all police recruits in the use of conducted energy weapons using course
materials developed by the manufacturer, which ensured province-wide consistency.

73 TASER International, Inc. User Certification Course *TASER X26 and TASER M26 Electronic Control
Devices—PowerPoint materials, Version 14.0.

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However, in 2006, the Vancouver Police Department decided that it did not want all
its recruits trained in conducted energy weapon use. Rather, it wished to hand-select
officers for training, to better control who was using conducted energy weapons.
Given that approximately half of all municipal police recruits come from the
Vancouver Police Department, the Police Academy decided to withdraw from the
training of police recruits in conducted energy weapon use, with the result that
responsibility for this aspect of recruit training has devolved to individual municipal
police departments, regardless of a particular department’s size or training expertise.
The Police Academy continues to provide conducted energy weapon training for the
Sheriff Services Division and the Corrections Branch.74
Given this devolution of training, Commission staff obtained from all BC law
enforcement agencies copies of their conducted energy weapon training materials.
These training materials are to be distinguished from the policy materials discussed in
Part 5.
Ten of these agencies (seven municipal police departments and three other law
enforcement agencies) rely exclusively on the manufacturer’s training materials. Five
of them rely on the most recent Version 14.0, while the other five agencies rely on
earlier versions, going as far back as Version 11.0, published in January 2004. Several
other municipal police departments use some of the manufacturer’s images and slides,
but base their training on Course Training Standards developed by Constable Mike
Massine, the Victoria Police Department’s Control Tactics/Use of Force Coordinator.
Since two-thirds of all law enforcement agencies in British Columbia rely exclusively
on the manufacturer’s training materials, I will in most instances refer first to how the
manufacturer deals with an issue, and then refer to the agencies’ training materials,
to show where they add to, or depart from, the manufacturer’s materials.
74 The Justice Institute does continue to include a two-hour “restraining under power” course in its
police recruit training for all municipal police departments. It is designed to encourage restraint during
the initial conducted energy weapon deployment, to avoid multiple deployments against one subject.
This training does not address how to use a conducted energy weapon, but what to do with a subject who
has been exposed to a deployment.

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C. ASPECTS OF TRAINING
1. Qualifications to train as an instructor or operator
The manufacturer offers a master instructor course, designed to train police officers
so that they can in turn train instructors within their own agency. Those instructors
will then train line officers as operators, who use conducted energy weapons on the
street.
In BC, most agencies’ training materials recognize the manufacturer’s master
instructor course, and authorize graduates of that program to certify other officers as
instructors, who in turn will train officers as operators of conducted energy weapons.
There is some variation among agencies respecting qualifications to train in the use of
conducted energy weapons. For example:
• Master instructor—eight agencies require five years’ experience as a sworn
officer and/or military service, two years’ experience as an instructor with a
minimum of 12 operator courses taught.
• Instructor—one agency requires candidates to take approved training courses
in instructional techniques, and to spend one to two years in an
apprenticeship/mentoring relationship.
• Operators—most agencies do not specify prerequisites. However, one
agency requires candidates to be currently certified in first aid, and to be
certified in the use of the police defensive baton, pepper spray, carotid
control technique, and service pistol. Another agency requires that an
officer be competent with basic force option skills as demonstrated in the
field.

2. Duration and content of the conducted energy weapon training
programs
There is considerable variation among agencies respecting the duration of training and
re-certification programs:
• Instructor—one agency requires 14 hours; five other agencies require 16
hours; and another agency requires 32 hours.

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• Operator—one agency requires four hours; one agency requires five hours;
six agencies require six hours; one agency requires seven hours; two agencies
require eight hours; and another agency requires 16 hours.
• Re-certification—eight agencies require that instructors and master
instructors be re-certified every two years. Nine agencies require that
operators be re-certified annually, while one requires re-certification every
two years.
There is similar variation in the student to instructor ratio, with three agencies
specifying a maximum of 4:1, 8:1, and 20:1. The training materials of all other
agencies are silent.
Eleven agencies require scenario- or reality-based training as a component of operator
certification, although only one agency specifies that all scenario-based training must
be conducted with live simulation air cartridges. One other agency requires that
students go through two scenarios, one as an operator and the other as a backup. The
training materials of eight agencies state that simulator training (i.e., scenario-based
training without live-fire exercises) is a valuable and effective supplemental training
tool, but is not a substitute for live-fire exercises required for initial and annual
certifications.
Most agencies require a written examination at the end of the operator course,
although the passing grade varies between 70 percent (one agency) and 80 percent
(nine agencies). With respect to the instructor course, six agencies require a written
examination and a score of at least 90 percent.
Six agencies evaluate scenario training based on whether the proper approach was
used, taking into account cover, distance, and scanning tactics; whether there was
communication between the officers and with the subject before, during, and after
the incident; whether there was appropriate force used including de-escalation
tactics; and whether a pre-deployment verbal warning was used.
Only four agencies address course failure and remedial training, but even here the
standards vary. For example:
• One agency allows three attempts to carry out a task successfully;

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• One agency fails members who do not pass the written examination, or who
demonstrate confused or poor decision-making during scenario training; and
• One agency allows one re-test for the practical portion of the course, but
failure of the written component requires the member to repeat the
operator course.

3. Wearing a conducted energy weapon
The manufacturer’s training materials include a discussion of the advantages and
disadvantages of carrying a conducted energy weapon on the firearm side of the body,
but conclude with the statement that users should “refer to your department’s
tactical experts to make your own policy on how to carry, holster, and deploy” the
weapon.75
Only four agencies specify in policy that a conducted energy weapon must be carried
in the holster on the opposite side from the firearm.

4. When a conducted energy weapon should not be used
The manufacturer cautions against using a conducted energy weapon against pregnant
women whenever practicable (because they “are at elevated risks from falling, muscle
contractions, stress and other factors”76), and against the obviously frail or infirm.
Twelve agencies have adopted similar cautions in their training materials, with several
adding an additional category—the very young. Several agencies train that conducted
energy weapons should be used against these vulnerable groups only as an alternative
to lethal force.
The manufacturer’s training materials cite three external “increased deployment risk”
situations, which are echoed in many agencies’ materials. They are:
1. Deploying a conducted energy weapon against a person in an elevated
position, because of the increased risk of fall injuries (12 agencies).

75 Ibid., footnote 73, slide 137.
76 Ibid., slide 38.

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2. Deploying a conducted energy weapon against a person in or near a
flammable or explosive material, because of the risk that the material
may ignite (12 agencies).
3. Deploying a conducted energy weapon against a person who is in water,
because of the risk that the person may, when incapacitated, submerge
and drown (nine agencies).
The manufacturer also recognizes an increased risk when a conducted energy weapon
is deployed against someone who is running or who is operating a vehicle or
machinery. These cautions are reflected in the training materials of nine agencies.
Neither the manufacturer nor police agencies restrict the use of conducted energy
weapons to offences of a specified seriousness. In our public forums, Cst. Hammell of
the Vancouver Police Department stated:77
Q

A
Q
A

You’ve got a subject who’s standing holding on to something; does
it matter whether you’re attempting to arrest them for a Liquor
Act violation or shoplifting or something more serious like bank
robbery or murder?
It does not matter. Our purpose for using it would be based on the
behaviour of our subject, for whatever reason we are
apprehending them or arresting them.
Regardless of the underlying offence?
Yes.

Another agency told the Commission that proportionality concerns are included in the
“situational factors” section of its use-of-force continuum, and it may be that other
agencies also address this issue as part of the officer’s broad “situational” or
“contextual” evaluation.

5. Use of a conducted energy weapon on a person with a medical condition
The manufacturer’s training materials state that “modern pacemakers and implanted
cardiac defibrillators withstand external electrical defibrillators at least 800 times
stronger than the TASER conducted energy pulses” and “published peer-reviewed
77 Transcript, May 8, 2008, p. 51. However, Deputy Chief Constable Bob Rich of the Vancouver Police
Department told me that he would be “horrified” if an officer used a conducted energy weapon on a
jaywalker who was walking away from an officer, even though walking away is included in the definition
of active resistance: Transcript, May 14, 2008, p. 41.

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research shows that there is no negative effect of the TASER device when used on a
subject with an implanted device.”78
The 10 agencies that rely exclusively on the manufacturer’s training materials include
this information. The training material of two other agencies advises that there are
medical opinions that the output of a conducted energy weapon exceeds the medical
threshold required to cause seizure.
The manufacturer’s training materials also state that cocaine makes the heart less
susceptible to electrically induced fibrillation; this information is included in nine
agencies’ training materials. One agency also trains that the conducted energy
weapon is safe and effective for suspects under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The manufacturer states that its devices have been successfully used to incapacitate
subjects under a variety of chemical and mental influences (including suicidal subjects
and emotionally disturbed persons) because it affects the sensory and motor functions
of the nervous system. It specifically addresses “excited delirium” (within the context
of sudden unexpected deaths) which it defines as “a state of extreme mental and
physiological excitement, characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility,
exceptional strength, and endurance without apparent fatigue.”79 It lists numerous
behaviours that may require immediate medical assistance due to pre-existing
conditions, possible overdose, cocaine psychosis, or excited delirium:
• bizarre or violent behaviour;
• signs of overheating or profuse sweating;
• disrobing;
• violence toward or attacking glass, lights, and reflective surfaces;
• superhuman strength and endurance;
• imperviousness to pain—self-mutilation;
• disturbances in breathing patterns or loss of consciousness; and
• complaints of respiratory difficulty.
78 Footnote 73, supra, slides 30 and 31.
79 Ibid., slide 219.

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The manufacturer implicitly supports use of its conducted energy weapons in such
circumstances, adding the caution that the operator should “consider having
[emergency medical services] standing by.”80

6. Pre-deployment considerations
The manufacturer’s training materials advise operators to consider cover and distance
tactics, and to “consider having lethal cover or other reasonable and appropriate force
options available when practicable.”81 “Lethal cover” or “lethal force overwatch”
refers to the practice of a second officer pointing his or her firearm at the subject
while the conducted energy weapon is deployed, as a backup in the event that the
conducted energy weapon is not effective at incapacitating the subject. Two agencies
state that officers should always take advantage of cover and distance when a
conducted energy weapon is used.
The manufacturer also trains that when practicable, there should be at least one
backup officer present, in order to handcuff the subject while the conducted energy
weapon is being used.
The manufacturer recommends using verbal commands in order to gain compliance (if
practicable), sometimes accompanied by display of the weapon. It adds, “Some
agency policies allow the officer to use … the laser to ‘paint the target’ to attempt to
gain compliance.”82 This refers to the operator activating the conducted energy
weapon and pointing the weapon at the subject so that the built-in red laser light that
is designed to assist the operator in aiming the weapon shines on the subject’s torso.
Operators are also trained to remove the cartridge and perform a spark test (i.e.,
pulling the trigger so that a spark jumps between the two electrodes in the nose of the
weapon), although several agencies train officers to do so only if another conducted
energy weapon is present or the subject is contained.

80 Ibid., slide 218.
81 Ibid., slide 158.
82 Ibid., slide 155.

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7. Deployment considerations
a. Categories of subject behaviour
As discussed in Part 5 of this Report, one of the crucial issues in conducted energy
weapons policy is articulating what level of resistance from a subject must be present
before deployment of the weapon is warranted. The manufacturer recognizes that
each jurisdiction is responsible for this important issue:
Each agency is responsible for creating their own use-of-force policy and
determining how TASER devices fit into their use-of-force matrix based on legal
and community standards.
Make sure your agency has a use-of-force policy that addresses TASER device
use and that this policy is clearly addressed during end-user training.83
In British Columbia, a conducted energy weapon is an “intermediate weapon.”
According to the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM), which is
binding on all its officers, an intermediate weapon may be deployed when a subject’s
behaviour constitutes “active resistance,” which is defined as follows:
The person demonstrates resistance to control by the police officer through
behaviours such as pulling away, pushing away or running away. This can
include a situation where a police officer activates a police vehicle’s
emergency equipment and the suspect fails to stop and attempts to evade
apprehension by driving evasively.
During our public forums, Cpl. Gillis told me that active resistance also includes
activities that involve exhibiting energy (like tensing up muscles) or turtling (holding
one’s arms underneath the body while on the ground). RCMP officers are trained in
accordance with this policy.
However, as noted earlier, a February 2009 RCMP policy amendment now requires that
the subject’s behaviour also pose a threat to officer or public safety.
There is more variation in the training of municipal police officers and other
provincially regulated law enforcement agencies for several reasons, including the fact
83 Ibid., slide 135.

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that each agency is responsible for developing its own training materials and, unlike
the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model, the National Use of Force
Framework is not binding on any particular law enforcement agency.
While most provincially regulated agencies train their officers to use conducted energy
weapons when a subject exhibits active resistance:
• Most agencies’ training materials do not describe what actions constitute
active resistance.
• Those agencies that do adopt the definition of active resistance contained in
the National Use of Force Framework84 often add their own unique gloss:
o One agency trains that active resistance includes subjects who are
not complying with verbal commands and subjects who are noncompliant (i.e., they pull away, twist and turn, resist control,
“turtle” on the ground, etc.). It supports the use of a conducted
energy weapon when lower levels of force are ineffective and/or
inappropriate.
o Two agencies include in their definition a subject resisting an
officer’s lawful efforts to take them into custody without attacking
the officer.
o One agency includes pulling arms away from controlling officers,
running away, holding onto fixed objects, bracing themselves in
doorways, or “turtling” by pulling their arms into the chest area
resisting attempts to straighten the arms.
• One agency recently elevated the threshold to situations in which the subject
is behaving in a combative manner or poses a risk of death or grievous bodily
harm to the police or the public.

b. As an alternative to lethal force
The manufacturer’s training materials state that its conducted energy weapon “is not
a substitute for lethal force”85 and most agencies train accordingly. Under the
National Use of Force Framework and the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention
Model, lethal force is justified when the subject exhibits actions that the officer

84 “The subject uses non-assaultive physical action to resist, or while resisting an officer’s lawful
direction. Examples would include pulling away to prevent or escape control, or overt movements such as
walking toward, or away from an officer. Running away is another example of active resistance.”
85 Footnote 73, supra, slide 185.

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reasonably believes are intended or likely to cause grievous bodily harm or death to
any person. Thus, this training proposition would preclude use of a conducted energy
weapon in such circumstances.
However, the situation in British Columbia is not quite so clear:
• One agency trains that a conducted energy weapon can be used in
conjunction with deadly force where appropriate and reasonable to do so,
without articulating “appropriate and reasonable” circumstances.
• The position of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police is that the conducted
energy weapon is not an appropriate force option when an officer is
attempting to stop a violent subject who is actively causing, or anticipating
to cause, bodily harm or death, unless there is a second officer present
providing “lethal overwatch,” and where time, distance, and an absence of
imminent jeopardy exists.

c. Push-stun mode and probe mode deployments
As discussed earlier in this Report, use of a conducted energy weapon in push-stun
mode is designed primarily to achieve pain compliance, while use in probe mode is
designed to achieve compliance through incapacitation. Three agencies train that
active resistance is required in order to use the weapon in push-stun mode, and that
assaultive or combative behaviour is required to use it in probe mode. Other agencies
either do not make this distinction, or train that the weapon may be used in either
mode when active resistance is exhibited.

d. Aiming for particular parts of the subject’s body
The manufacturer’s training materials offer instruction on the parts of the subject’s
body against which the conducted energy weapon should be deployed, which vary
depending on the mode of deployment:
• Push-stun mode—the primary target areas should be the brachial plexus tiein (upper chest), the radial (forearm), the common peronial (outside of
thigh), and the tibial (calf muscle). Secondary target areas include the
carotid (sides of neck) and the pelvic triangle. It should not be deployed in
the throat area. The manufacturer includes a warning:
Use care when applying drive stun to neck or groin. These areas are
sensitive to mechanical injury (such as crushing to the trachea or

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testicles if applied forcefully). However, these areas have proven
highly effective targets. These areas should only be targeted when
officers are defending themselves from violent attacks. Refer to your
department’s policy regarding drive stuns in these and other sensitive
areas.86
• Probe mode—if practicable, the probes should be deployed against the
subject’s back for several reasons:
o Clothing fits tighter, so the probes are more likely to penetrate the
skin;
o The surprise factor;
o The back has stronger muscles, so the neuromuscular incapacitation
will be even more overwhelming; and
o It avoids injuries associated with hitting sensitive areas such as the
head, face, throat, and genitals.87

e. Cuffing under power
The manufacturer trains that each five-second cycle of the conducted energy weapon
is a “window of opportunity”88 to attempt to establish control and restraint while the
subject is incapacitated. Thus, officers should move in and handcuff the subject
during the cycle, when it is reasonably safe to do so. This practice may preclude the
need for multiple cycles of the weapon.

f.

Over-dependence on a conducted energy weapon

The manufacturer’s training materials include the caution: “Avoid TASER overdependence,”89 adding:
Some agencies have had so much success with TASER devices that officers
sometimes neglect proper procedures and other force options. This is a
training issue that must be addressed in all instructor and user courses and
should also be emphasized in ongoing department training.

86
87
88
89

134

Ibid., slide 206.
Ibid., slide 53.
Ibid., slide 164.
Ibid., slide 158.

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8. Multiple or prolonged deployments
a. Push-stun mode
The manufacturer’s training materials provide that if deployment of the conducted
energy weapon in push-stun mode is not effective, the user should evaluate the
location selected, consider an additional cycle to a different pressure point, or
consider alternative force options.90

b. Probe mode
With respect to probe mode deployments, the manufacturer’s training materials are
more detailed. They acknowledge that the application of a conducted energy weapon
is a physically stressful event, and officers should avoid extended or repeated
applications where practicable. If circumstances require extended duration or
repeated discharges, the operator should take care to observe the subject and provide
breaks in the weapon stimulation when practicable. Officers should apply only the
number of cycles reasonably necessary to allow them to safely restrain the subject. In
a products warning document, the manufacturer states:
Continuous Exposure Risks. When practical, avoid prolonged or continuous
exposure(s) to the TASER device’s electrical discharge. In some circumstances,
in susceptible people, it is conceivable that the stress and exertion of
extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the TASER
device may contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated
medical risk(s).
With respect to whether application of the weapon affects the subject’s breathing,
the manufacturer’s training materials may reflect a change in opinion. On one hand,
the current PowerPoint presentation states, “Current human studies have concluded
that TASER applications directly across the chest do not impair normal breathing
patterns.”91 However, in a 2005 Training Bulletin92 the manufacturer stated:

90 Ibid., slide 204.
91 Ibid., slide 166.
92 TASER International, Inc., Training Bulletin 12.0-04.

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Repeated, prolonged, and/or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER electrical
discharge may impair breathing and respiration, particularly when the probes
are placed across the chest or diaphragm. Users should avoid prolonged,
extended, uninterrupted discharges or extensive multiple discharges whenever
practicable in order to minimize the potential for over-exertion of the subject
or potential impairment of full ability to breathe over a protracted time
period.
These differing opinions are reflected in police agencies’ training materials. Six train
that there are no adverse effects on heart function or respiration deriving from
multiple or prolonged deployments, while five agencies train that extended duration
applications may cause sufficient muscle contractions to impair normal breathing
patterns.
No agency imposes an absolute cap on the number of cycles permitted, although ten
agencies train that an officer should apply only the number of cycles reasonably
necessary to allow them to safely approach and restrain the subject. Several agencies
train that if a third cycle is required, officers should consider another force option.

9. Post-deployment considerations
The manufacturer’s training materials state that officers should evaluate the need for
medical attention as they would with any other use-of-force incident, as directed by
agency policy. A majority of agencies apply this general advice, although three
agencies make medical examination by emergency health services personnel (i.e.,
ambulance) mandatory, regardless of the mode of deployment.
The manufacturer leaves it up to each agency to establish its own policy on probe
removal. One agency trains that only a qualified medical doctor may remove probes
that are imbedded in the subject’s skin, while another agency authorizes an officer
certified in first aid to remove probes.

10. Excited delirium
The manufacturer’s training materials acknowledge the incidence of sudden
unexpected death arising out of circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon

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was used—a phenomenon sometimes described as “death proximate to TASER use.” In
such cases, there is considerable controversy around whether it can be established
that the conducted energy weapon caused, or contributed to, the death. The
materials identify eight common factors of sudden death (observing that the events
leading to death are frequently set in motion hours, days, or even weeks before the
police are called):93
• chronic/toxic drug use;
• pre-existing heart conditions;
• obesity and poor cardiovascular condition;
• diabetes and other pre-existing diseases;
• protracted physical struggle;
• exhaustive mania/metabolic acidosis;
• agitated/excited delirium; and
• positional/restraint/compressive asphyxia.
The materials then discuss warning signs of sudden unexpected death, stating:
Should one or more of the following behaviors manifest, the suspect may
require immediate medical assistance due to pre-existing conditions, possible
overdose, cocaine psychosis, excited delirium, etc. Consider having EMS
standing by when the subject exhibits:
• bizarre or violent behavior;
• signs of overheating/profuse sweating;
• disrobing;
• violence toward/attacking glass, lights, and reflective surfaces;
• superhuman strength and endurance;
• imperviousness to pain—self-mutilation;
• disturbances in breathing patterns or loss of consciousness; and
• complaints of respiratory difficulty.94

93 Footnote 73, supra, slide 217.
94 Ibid., slide 218.

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These materials refer to “excited delirium” (which they also describe as “in-custody
death syndrome”) as one of the eight sudden-death common factors and as one of the
possible explanations for the unusual subject behaviours that are warning signs for
sudden unexpected death. The materials define “excited delirium” as:
A state of extreme mental and physiological excitement, characterized by
extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength and endurance
without apparent fatigue.95
As I will discuss in more detail in Part 9 of this Report, there is controversy within the
medical community about whether excited delirium is a stand-alone diagnosis, or
merely a symptom of an underlying condition. This debate is reflected in the
agencies’ training materials:
• One agency trains that excited delirium is only a symptom of an underlying
condition.
• One agency trains that excited delirium is a medical emergency with several
possible causes, including psychiatric illness and/or stimulant abuse, alcohol
withdrawal, insulin shock (very low blood sugar), head injury, or other
medical problems.
• One agency provides a detailed physiological explanation, stating that
excited delirium may involve an organic chemical imbalance in the brain,
psychiatric illness, or stimulant abuse; it may be caused by hypoxia,
hypoglycemia, stroke and intra-cranial bleeding; it involves sympathetic
nervous system arousal, and is a run-away of the flight-or-fight response; it is
associated with an increase in adrenaline/non-adrenaline release, an
increase in body temperature, an increase in CO2, decrease in blood pH,
exertional rhabdomyolysis, heart arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest.
The manufacturer’s training materials support the deployment of a conducted energy
weapon against a person who is in a state of excited delirium although, when
discussing extended or repeated weapon applications, they caution, “Especially when
dealing with persons in a health crisis such as excited delirium, it is advisable to
minimize the physical and psychological stress to the subject to the greatest degree
possible.”96

95 Ibid., slide 219.
96 Ibid., slide 166.

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The agencies’ training materials provide guidance respecting how an officer should
respond to a subject exhibiting these symptoms, with some variation among agencies:
• One agency states that sudden and unexpected death proximal to restraint is
not a rare occurrence (there are approximately 200 deaths every year
following police restraint), but then emphasizes (as do three other agencies)
that excited delirium is a medical emergency and that there can be no
medical treatment without restraint. It then offers the general advice that
officers should weigh the need for immediate control against the risk to the
subject.
• Eleven agencies train (in accordance with the manufacturer’s materials) that
officers should consider having emergency health services standing by.
• Nine agencies train that if a subject displays any of these unusual behaviour
patterns, officers must ensure that the subject receives immediate medical
attention, as the subject is at an elevated risk of in-custody death.
• Three agencies outline several pre-contact strategies when dealing with a
subject in an excited delirium state, such as keeping the subject talking (to
cause cognitive pattern interruption), keeping distance from the subject, and
issuing simple and clear commands. However, they provide contradictory
training on whether the officer should lower the lights or slow his or her
physical movements.

11. Voluntary exposure
The manufacturer’s training materials97 state that exposure to a conducted energy
weapon during training is not required for instructor or operator certification,
although a 2004 training bulletin stated that the manufacturer strongly recommends a
sample hit.
The Commission’s survey of BC law enforcement agencies found that:
• No agency requires that trainees be subjected to a conducted energy weapon
exposure;
• Seven provincially regulated agencies plus the RCMP permit exposure, if the
trainee volunteers; and
• Seven agencies prohibit exposure during training, even with trainee consent.

97 Ibid., slides 45-51.

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For agencies that do permit voluntary exposure during training, the manufacturer’s
PowerPoint training materials offer the following advice:
• Exposure to neuromuscular incapacitation involves physical exertion similar
to an athletic activity, such as weight lifting or wrestling. Risks of injury from
physical exertion or falling, while low, are not zero.
• Volunteers should notify the instructor of any pre-existing injuries, medical
conditions, or susceptibilities.
• Volunteers with pre-exiting conditions, such as a back injury, should avoid
exposure to the injured areas.
• Prior to taking an exposure, the volunteer should stretch and warm up as
they would before exercising.
• The volunteer should stand on proper matting and the area should be clear of
bystanders and objects.
• The volunteer must be placed face down on the mat or, if standing, must be
supported by two spotters, each one holding an upper arm under the armpit
so that the volunteer can be safely supported and lowered to the mat after
deployment without twisting, rotating, or putting undue stress on the arm or
shoulder. The volunteer and both spotters must wear eye protection.
• Exposure may be effected by attaching alligator clips to the volunteer’s
clothing, or by deploying the weapon in probe mode.
• Probes should be deployed from behind the volunteer into his or her back
and/or legs, to avoid penetration of the face, throat, or genitals.
In addition, a 2004 training bulletin recommended removing the probes and barbs from
the ends of the wires and taping the ends of the wires to the volunteer’s shoulder,
back, hip or leg, as well as limiting the electrical discharge to 1−2 seconds.
The agencies’ training materials repeat these guidelines, with some variations:
• One agency states that exposure causes strong muscle contractions that may
result in injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, back, joints, and stress
fractures. For that reason, deployment may only occur to the front torso
area, and wires must be attached to the volunteer’s clothing with tape or
alligator clips. The clips must be 12−18 inches apart, and exposure must be
limited to 1−2 seconds, unless the volunteer requests a full five-second
cycle.
• Eight agencies train to aim for the back of the legs, to further reduce stress
to the volunteers.

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D. CONCLUSIONS
From this review, I have reached several conclusions.
First, there is a troubling lack of consistency in provincial law enforcement agencies’
training materials respecting conducted energy weapon use. Much of this is an
inevitable consequence of the Police Academy’s decision in 2006 to withdraw from
conducted energy weapon training (except in relation to the Sheriff Services Division
and Corrections Branch) after the Vancouver Police Department decided that it did not
want all its recruits trained in use of this weapon. It has meant that all municipal
police departments and several other law enforcement agencies have had to develop
their own in-house training programs, regardless of their size or training expertise. It
is inefficient and unnecessarily expensive, and has inevitably led to inconsistencies
among agencies and an undue reliance on the manufacturer’s training materials.
I can well understand why one police agency may not want all its officers to carry
conducted energy weapons while on the street. However, it is regrettable that such
an operational decision should have triggered such a detrimental impact on the
training of police recruits across all agencies.
British Columbians would be much better served if one body assumed responsibility for
basic training in conducted energy weapon use, as an integral component of use-offorce training generally. The Police Academy is, without question, the appropriate
body to perform this function.
The provincial government has had, for at least a decade, the authority under
s. 74(2)(t) and (u) of the Police Act to make regulations respecting police officer
training, including training in the use of all types of weapons. It should exercise this
authority to require that one agency, presumably the Police Academy, conduct all
recruit training in the use of conducted energy weapons.
Second, the police agencies’ training materials reveal confusion about which matters
properly fall within the ambit of training and which should be dealt with as policy. At

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the risk of oversimplifying a complex topic, training should focus on how, and policy
should focus on when. For example, training should address matters such as how the
weapon functions, the differences between push-stun and probe modes, the impact of
deployment on a subject, steps the officer should take to reduce the risk of injury,
procedures for recording what happened and downloading data, and proper care of
the weapon. On the other hand, policy should dictate such matters as qualifications
of trainers, content and duration of training and re-certification requirements, what
threshold of subject behaviour must be met before deployment is appropriate,
circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon should never be deployed, and
when repeated or prolonged cycles are appropriate.
To repeat what I said in Part 5, it is in my view the responsibility of the provincial
government to set policy on such important issues as conducted energy weapon use. It
then becomes the responsibility of trainers to train in the use of such weapons, within
that policy framework.
Third, this review has shown an inappropriately high degree of dependence on the
manufacturer’s training materials, not only among the ten agencies that rely
exclusively on the manufacturer’s materials, but also among other agencies that
profess to have developed “vendor-neutral” materials.
I do not mean to suggest that the manufacturer’s materials should not be used in
training. The manufacturer has designed and built the weapon, and knows how it
works and how it should be cared for.
However, it is in my view inappropriate for law enforcement agencies to rely
exclusively on the manufacturer’s training materials, when they encroach into policy
areas or issues of medical risks that may be under dispute.
If, as I have suggested, trainers focus on the how, not the when, then trainers’
reliance on the manufacturer’s training materials may cease to be a problem. It will
be the responsibility of the provincial government to set policy on conducted energy

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weapon use, which will require an understanding of, and objective analysis of, the
medical issues that I will explore in Part 9.

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Part 7
Incidence of Conducted Energy
Weapon Use in British Columbia

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IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

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A.

INTRODUCTION .................................................................. 149

B.

THE INTRODUCTION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ................. 149

C.

MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS............................................ 151
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.

6.
7.
8.

9.

D.

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE ......................................... 169
1.
2.

E.

Methodology ..............................................................................151
Inventory of conducted energy weapons ............................................154
Number of conducted energy weapon deployments ...............................155
Who are conducted energy weapons used against? ................................160
a.
Personal characteristics ......................................................160
b.
Time and location of incidents ..............................................161
c.
Types of incidents .............................................................161
d.
Levels of resistance ...........................................................162
Types of deployments...................................................................163
a.
Single mode of deployment ..................................................163
b.
Effectiveness of deployments ...............................................164
c.
Push-stun and probe mode deployments ..................................164
d.
Multiple deployments against a subject ...................................165
Relationship between levels of resistance and mode of deployment ...........165
Use of other force options .............................................................167
Deaths, injuries, and medical attention .............................................167
a.
Deaths of and injuries to subjects ..........................................167
b.
Injuries to police officers ....................................................168
c.
Medical attention..............................................................168
Public complaints........................................................................168

Methodology ..............................................................................169
Analysis of data ..........................................................................169

TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE .................................................. 171

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F.

PROVINCIAL SHERIFF SERVICES................................................ 171
1.
2.
3.
4.

G.

PROVINCIAL CORRECTIONS BRANCH.......................................... 175
1.
2.
3.
4.

148

The role of Sheriff Services ............................................................171
Sheriff Services Division policy ........................................................ 171
Methodology..............................................................................172
Analysis of data ..........................................................................173

The role of the Corrections Branch................................................... 175
Corrections Branch policy ..............................................................176
Methodology..............................................................................176
Analysis of data ..........................................................................178

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IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

A. INTRODUCTION
In this part I will examine the introduction of conducted energy weapons into British
Columbia, how the number of weapons and the number of deployments have increased
over the past decade, and the types of circumstances in which conducted energy
weapons have been deployed.

B. THE INTRODUCTION OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS
In December 1998, the Victoria Police Department began a six-month field study of
conducted energy weapons. It used models supplied by two American manufacturers:
• Tasertron, located in Corona, California, which produced the TE-86 and TE95, which were two-shot models, and a newer TE-93, which was a one-shot
model; and
• TASER International, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, which produced the AIR
TASER Model 34000.
Following the field study, Sgt. Darren Laur prepared a technical report, which the
Canadian Police Research Centre published in 200098 for the assistance of police forces
across the country. According to the report, a conducted energy weapon was used 14
times during the field study. In five cases, voluntary compliance was achieved simply
through the threat of use, or by using the laser lights on the subject. In the other nine
cases, the weapon was fired, causing incapacitation. In all cases, the subjects fully
recovered within minutes without injury or after-effect.
With respect to medical research, the author stated (at p. 6), “To say that TASER
pulse wave technology has been over-studied by the medical community would be an
understatement,” adding:
To date, all medical research involving the TASER has found that, when used on
a normally healthy adult, the electrical current, supplied by a TASER with
98 Laur, Darren, Taser Technology Research Paper (Ottawa: CPRC, 2000), available at http://www.icpra
.org/home/reading_2/CPRC_Taser_Research.pdf.

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50,000 volts and 5 watts, is extremely safe to use, and will not affect cardiac
muscle, will not affect pace makers, or cause long term seizures.99
After comparing the relative merits of the two manufacturers’ law enforcement
models, the author strongly endorsed the TASER pulse wave technology systems, which
he concluded were “a safe, reliable and an effective less lethal option for the
Canadian police and correctional agencies” (p. 27).
He identified numerous advantages to using TASER technology, based on the Victoria
field study and his research paper, including increased officer and subject safety,
decreased number of injuries to officers and subjects, increased success with subjects
immune to pain compliance tactics, no fatalities directly related to TASER, a morally
and legally responsible less lethal option, decreased liability issues for management, a
more humane use-of-force option, and extremely cost effective.
In 1999 then-Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, Q.C., authorized municipal police
departments in British Columbia to use conducted energy weapons. His decision was
based largely on the results of the Victoria Police Department’s field study. In his
presentation during our public forums,100 Mr. Dosanjh said that his approval was based
on three assurances he had received:
• These conducted energy weapons were absolutely safe to use. They saved
lives because in most instances in which a police officer might draw a
firearm, that would not be required. It would be safer for police officers and
for people on whom such weapons would be used.
• The matter of safety had been thoroughly researched, if not overresearched.
• These weapons would be used absolutely sparingly, only in situations where
the subject was assaultive or combative—a threat to themselves, the police,
or some third person.
In his presentation, the Director of Police Services echoed Mr. Dosanjh’s
understanding:

99 In light of the medical research that has been done since Sgt. Laur’s 2000 report, his suggestion that
conducted energy weapons had been over-studied seems, in hindsight, to have been overly optimistic.
100 Transcript, May 12, 2008, pp. 50-51.

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It was expected that Tasers would be limited to being used in situations where
subjects were violent, aggressive, or armed; in other words, in situations with
a very high level of risk and potential for serious injury to both police officers
and subjects…. [W]e do share the concern that there has been slippage in
terms of Tasers being used in increasingly lower risk encounters. This is not
how the government originally envisioned or endorsed the use of Tasers.101
By 2001, all 11 municipal police departments in British Columbia were using conducted
energy weapons, and the RCMP authorized use in its detachments across Canada on
December 20, 2001. The Sheriff Services Division began using them in late 2001.
The provincial Corrections Branch began using conducted energy weapons in 2003. In
2007 the Transit Authority Police (formally called the South Coast British Columbia
Transit Authority Police Service) authorized their use.102

C. MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS
1. Methodology
Most of the information in this part of the Report is based on an empirical analysis of
incident reports obtained from law enforcement agencies in British Columbia.
In April and May 2008, requests were sent to each of the 11 independent municipal
police departments,103 plus two tribal police agencies104 and the Transit Authority
Police,105 asking for “conducted energy weapon incident reports” dating from when
the department first equipped its members with conducted energy weapons to the
present. Each department was also asked to provide information about when such
101 Transcript, May 7, 2008, pp. 53–54.
102 Two tribal police agencies (Stl’Atl’Imx Tribal Police and Kitasoo Tribal Police) also received authority
to use conducted energy weapons. However, they will not be included in the analysis that follows,
because the Stl’Atl’Imx Tribal Police reported no conducted energy weapon usage, and the Kitasoo Tribal
Police (comprised of a single RCMP officer under contract) reported only one incident of conducted
energy weapon usage.
103 Abbotsford, Central Saanich, Delta, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Saanich,
Vancouver, Victoria, and West Vancouver.
104 Only one of these agencies, the Kitasoo Tribal Police (comprised of a single RCMP officer under
contract), had used the CEW. The Stl’Atl’Imx Tribal Police reported no CEW usage.
105 Originally known as the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority Police Service (GVTAPS) this agency is
now known as the South Coast British Columbia Transit Authority Police Service.

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weapons were first acquired by the agency and inventory information about the
number of weapons initially and subsequently acquired.
In order to facilitate and expedite the release of documents to the Commission,
Sharon Samuels, Research Counsel, negotiated and signed confidentiality agreements
with each of the independent police agencies, the Corrections Branch, and Sheriff
Services ensuring that the privacy of individuals involved in conducted energy weapon
incidents (both police and civilians) would be safeguarded by the Commission.
For some departments these requests posed a significant challenge in identifying and
retrieving incident reports related to conducted energy weapon usage.106 Incident
reports were identified through multiple database, location, and manual searches.
After the initial delivery of documents, several departments identified additional
reports by searching for different spellings of key words (such as taser or tazer).107
Incident information was provided in four main formats: control tactic reports, useof-force reports, subject behaviour/officer response reports, and general occurrence
reports. In some cases, more than one type of report (such as a use-of-force report
and a general occurrence report) was provided. General occurrence reports were
requested from some departments when it was determined that the use-of-force
reports initially provided did not contain enough information, in particular a narrative
or synopsis of the event, about the circumstances of the incident for the purposes of
this analysis.
A coding form was developed to capture information about subject characteristics and
behaviours, incident type and location, mode of weapon deployment, use of other
force options, subject and officer injuries, arrest status, and policy compliance. The

106 West Vancouver could not locate any CEW incident reports from 2004 and did not know whether
there were or were not any CEW incidents in that year. Other departments reported that a few early files
had been purged from their systems and no reports could be provided.
107 Notably, among the last reports to be provided, following several inquiries and reminders, were
those related to two fatalities associated with CEW use in Vancouver. Additional reports that had not
previously been acknowledged were found in the possession of specialized units such as the VPD
Emergency Response Team.

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form was modified somewhat, following the coding of approximately 100 incident
files. File coding was completed in early September 2008.108
For the purposes of this research, the unit of analysis was defined as “the use of a
conducted energy weapon on an individual during a single event.” If the police
incident report(s) described the use of the conducted energy weapon on more than
one subject during a single event a “Conducted Energy Weapon Incident File Review
Coding Form” was completed for each subject and would be counted as multiple
instances of weapon use.
The period covered by this review is from December 1998 (when the first use of
conducted energy weapons occurred during pilot testing of the weapon in Victoria)
through to the end of 2007. Some departments provided reports from early in 2008;
however, these incidents were excluded from the analysis in order to have a
consistent study end date for all agencies.
This empirical analysis culminated in three research reports written by Karen A.
Ryan,109 which addressed use by municipal police departments, including the RCMP and
the Transit Authority Police (Appendix G), the Sheriff Services Division (Appendix H),
and the provincial Corrections Branch (Appendix I).
Since the conditions under which conducted energy weapons are used vary
significantly among these different law enforcement agencies, I will discuss the
municipal police departments first, and then deal separately with the RCMP, the
Transit Authority Police, the Sheriff Services Division, and the provincial Corrections
Branch.

108 Significant research assistance was provided by Jennifer B. Morgan, who completed much of the file
coding and provided general research support.
109 Use of Conducted Energy Weapons by Municipal Police Agencies in British Columbia, 1998–2007, Use
of Conducted Energy Weapons by Provincial Corrections in British Columbia, 2003–2007, and Use of
Conducted Energy Weapons by the Sheriff Services in British Columbia, 2001–2007.

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2. Inventory of conducted energy weapons
There are 11 municipal police departments in British Columbia, policing 12
municipalities in Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland, and Nelson. Over the past
decade, most of these departments have increased their inventory of conducted
energy weapons, as Table 4 shows:

Table 4: Inventory of CEWs by municipal police department, by year
Agency

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Greater Victoria
4

4

4

4

4

14

12

15

30

1

1

3

3

3

4

4

4

4

3

3

3

3

3

7

8

8

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

40

40

40

40

95

95

95

West Vancouver

2

5

5

5

5

5

6

Delta

3

15

19

23

26

30

34

Port Moody

2

2

2

2

2

6

4

Victoria
Oak Bay
Saanich

1

Central Saanich
Lower Mainland
Vancouver

40

New Westminster

3

3

3

9

9

15

15

15

Abbotsford

3

3

18

18

25

25

29

30

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Nelson

Note: Counts are per year and are not cumulative. The current inventory for a department
may be different from that shown for 2007, due to purchases made during 2008 and 2009, and
weapons temporarily withdrawn from service in late 2008 for calibration testing.

The number of conducted energy weapons that any particular municipal police
department has, in relation to the number of officers it employs, varies significantly
(see Table 5), which suggests differing attitudes towards their use.

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Table 5: Ratio between policing agencies’ authorized strength and number
of conducted energy weapons in their inventory110
Policing agency
Greater Victoria
ƒ Victoria
ƒ Oak Bay
ƒ Saanich
ƒ Central Saanich
Lower Mainland
ƒ Vancouver
ƒ West Vancouver
ƒ Delta
ƒ Port Moody
ƒ New Westminster
ƒ Abbotsford
Nelson

Authorized
strength

Inventory

Number of
officers/CEW

221
22
147
21

30
4
8
2

7.4:1
5.5:1
18.4:1
10.5:1

1,214
79
151
40
107
195
17

95
6
34
4
15
30
1

12.8:1
13.2:1
4.4:1
10.0:1
7.1:1
6.5:1
17.0:1

3. Number of conducted energy weapon deployments
According to incident reports provided to the Commission, municipal police
departments deployed111 conducted energy weapons 1,397 times between 1998 and
2007.112
It is probably more accurate to say that there were at least 1,397 deployments during
this time period—there may have been many more. Let me explain. When an officer
deploys a conducted energy weapon, the officer is required to complete and file with
the department a use-of-force report. Assuming that every officer does so, and
110 Authorized strength data is for 2006 (the most recent data available), and was extracted from the
Police Services Division report, Police Resources in British Columbia, 2006. Inventory of conducted
energy weapons data was provided to the Commission by each municipal police department, and is for the
year 2007.
111 In this analysis, “deployment” includes a verbal warning that the weapon might be used, display of
the weapon (i.e., drawing the weapon from the holster, and possibly “sparking” it and/or targeting the
laser light on the subject’s body), and application of the weapon in push-stun mode, probe mode, or
both.
112 The analysis in this section is based on Ms. Ryan’s research paper entitled Use of Conducted Energy
Weapons by Municipal Police Agencies in British Columbia. That paper reported a total of 1,404
conducted energy weapon incidents. However, that total included six incidents involving the Transit
Authority Police and one incident involving the Kitasoo Tribal Police. These seven incidents have not
been included in the analysis of municipal police departments.

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assuming that the police department retains all such reports and has provided all such
reports to this Commission, then the Commission’s tabulation of the number of
deployments by all municipal police departments is reliable.
However, when Commission staff attempted to match incident reports against
complaints received by the provincial Police Complaint Commissioner, they identified
a significant anomaly. Between 2001 and 2007, the Police Complaint Commissioner
received 32 complaints arising from incidents in which conducted energy weapons
were alleged to have been used by municipal police departments. When Commission
researchers tried to match those 32 complaints against incident reports received from
police departments, they found that in 18 cases (56 percent), no corresponding
incident report had been provided to the Commission. There are several possible
explanations for this discrepancy—in over half of all conducted energy weapon
deployments, the officer may not have completed and/or filed an incident report, or
the department may not have retained the report and/or provided it to the
Commission. Whatever the explanation, one could reasonably conclude that there
have been far more deployments (up to twice as many) as the information provided by
municipal police departments suggests.113
In any event, the Commission’s review of the 1,397 incident reports reveals that the
number of deployments has increased over the past decade, at a rate that exceeds the
growth in the number of weapons that are in use, as Graph 1 shows.

113 This conclusion is consistent with a finding made by Paul E. Kennedy, Chair of the Commission for
Public Complaints Against the RCMP, in his June 12, 2008 final report entitled: RCMP Use of the
Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) (available at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/af-fr/PDF/FinalCEWReport_e
.pdf), at p. 38, where he stated: “Of the 76 Commission complaints about CEW deployment, 52
corresponding Forms 3996 could not be located in the RCMP database. This means that 68 percent of the
Commission’s deployment complaints could not be accounted for. Furthermore, of the 28 complaints
where CEW deployment was only threatened, none of the Forms 3996 could be found in the database….
These two findings confirmed that there has been extensive underreporting of CEW use, especially in
cases where the weapon was threatened but not deployed.”

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Graph 1: Increase in CEWs and CEW deployments, 1998-2007

Increase in CEWs and CEW deployments
1998-2007
350
300

Number

250
200
150
100
50
0
1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Year
Number of CEW deployments

Number of CEWs

When we examine the frequency of conducted energy weapon deployment by
individual municipal police departments, we find surprising variations, as Table 6
shows:

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Table 6: Frequency of conducted energy weapon deployment
Policing agency

Number of CEW
deployments

Greater Victoria
ƒ Victoria
ƒ Oak Bay
ƒ Saanich
ƒ Central Saanich
Lower Mainland
ƒ Vancouver
ƒ West Vancouver
ƒ Delta
ƒ Port Moody
ƒ New Westminster
ƒ Abbotsford
Nelson
TOTAL

Percentage

678
7
43
5

48.5
0.5
3.1
0.4

297
19
45
8
195
97
3
1,397

21.3
0.6
3.2
0.6
14.0
6.9
0.2
100.0

If we isolate the four municipal police departments with the highest overall
deployments, we find that in each case there has been a steady and consistent
increase over the years, as Graph 2 shows:

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Graph 2: Increase in CEW deployments for four municipal police
departments

Increase in CEW deployments for
four municipal police departments

Number of CEW deployments

160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Year
Abbotsford

New Westminster

Vancouver

Victoria

Note 1: Initial year of implementation may represent a partial year. Part of the increase in
New Westminster between 2005 and 2006 is accounted for by an increase in reported incidents
in which the CEW was displayed only (with no stun or probe deployment). In 2005, none of the
26 incidents were display only; while in 2006, 17 of 65 incidents (26 percent) were display
only; and in 2007, 36 of 80 incidents (45 percent) were display only.
Note 2: This graph illustrates the difficulty Commission researchers had in obtaining reliable
data about conducted energy weapon deployments. For example, the data provided by the
Vancouver Police Department indicated that there had been 53 deployments in 2007.
However, in a March 10, 2009, report to the Vancouver Police Board by the VPD’s director of
the Planning, Research and Audit Section, 80 deployments were reported for 2007, including
six in display mode only. This represents an under-reporting to the Commission of
approximately 33 percent.

Finally, it is informative to examine each municipal police department’s deployment
in relation to that municipality’s population, as shown in Table 7:

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Table 7: Per capita CEW deployment by municipal police departments
(2006)
Department

No. of CEW
deployments

No. of
deployments per
100,000 pop.

**94,897
17,908
108,265
15,745

124
2
13
3

130.7
11.2
12.0
19.1

578,041
42,131
96,723
27,512
58,549
123,864
9,258

66
4
5
2
65
28
1

11.4
9.5
5.2
7.3
111.0
22.6
10.8

Population*

Greater Victoria
ƒ Victoria
ƒ Oak Bay
ƒ Saanich
ƒ Central Saanich
Lower Mainland
ƒ Vancouver
ƒ West Vancouver
ƒ Delta
ƒ Port Moody
ƒ New Westminster
ƒ Abbotsford
Nelson

*2006 Canada Census
**Includes the population of Esquimalt (16,840), which the Victoria Police Department has
policed since 2003.

4. Who are conducted energy weapons used against?
a. Personal characteristics
The Commission’s review found that:
• Males were the subjects in over 90 percent of conducted energy weapon
deployments.
• The average age of subjects was 32.7 years (but ranging between 13 and 84
years).
• Subjects were medium or average size in 75 percent of cases, large in 18
percent of cases, and small in 7 percent of cases.
• 75 percent of subjects were Caucasian, followed by Aboriginal (13 percent),
and Asian, Black and South Asian (3 percent each). There was some variation
in these rates among police departments.
• In 10 percent of cases the police had prior knowledge of a mental illness,
although there was wide variation among police departments.

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• In 10 percent of cases the police had prior knowledge of the subject’s violent
behaviour.
• In only 2 percent of cases the police had prior knowledge of the subject’s
pre-existing medical condition, such as brain injuries, diabetes, hepatitis C,
or seizure disorders.

b. Time and location of incidents
Two-thirds of conducted energy weapon deployments occurred during the evening or
at night, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Weapons were deployed at a wide variety of
locations, including:
• on the street

(38 percent)

• at a residence

(34 percent)

• at police cells

(8 percent)

• at businesses other than bars and nightclubs

(5 percent)

• outside of bars and nightclubs

(5 percent)

• at hospitals

(3 percent)

c. Types of incidents
Information included on the incident reports enabled the Commission researchers to
identify the types of incidents to which officers responded. Since some reports
included two types of incidents, there is some overlap between categories. The
highest rates were for the types of incidents set out in Table 8:

Table 8: Types of incidents resulting in conducted energy weapon
deployment
Type of incident
Suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious
behaviour
Violence/threat of violence to others (fight)
Disturbance
Drug/alcohol intoxication
Emotionally disturbed person
Domestic disturbance/violence
Patrol observes infraction
Person with knife

Frequency

Percentage

277

19.8

238
214
173
150
138
102
99

17.0
15.3
12.4
10.7
9.9
7.3
7.1

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In approximately 20 percent of cases, the subject was armed with some type of
weapon, although this percentage ranged from 10 to 43 percent, depending on the
municipality involved. The types of weapons included an edged weapon (68 percent),
blunt weapon (19), pointed weapon (12), and firearm (2).

d. Levels of resistance
The types of subject behaviours, or the subject’s level of resistance, were also
tabulated, as set out in Table 9. In this grouping as well, an incident report may
contain multiple descriptors of subject behaviour or actions.

Table 9: Subject behaviours/actions
Subject behaviours/actions
Cooperative/compliant to directions

Frequency
100

Percentage
7.1

Passive resistance

108

7.7

Agitated

210

15.0

Pacing

19

1.4

Yelling

340

24.2

60

4.3

Verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression

322

22.9

Alcohol/drug intoxication

867

61.8

14

1.0

1

0.1

49

3.5

1,020

72.6

Assaultive

691

49.2

Violence/threatened violence to police

160

11.4

Violence/threatened violence to self

132

9.4

Violence/threatened violence to others

111

7.9

Threatened suicide by cop scenario

51

3.6

Grievous bodily harm or death

19

1.4

Officer assaulted

66

4.7

Smashing property

Symptoms of “excited delirium”
Symptoms of drug overdose
Symptoms of drug-induced psychosis
Active resistance

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The information in Table 9 should be approached with caution, because the behaviour
categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, in an incident in which the
subject’s behavior was initially passively resistant to police direction but escalated to
active resistance, both passive and active resistance were recorded. Having said that,
several findings are significant:
• the frequency of incidents involving subjects exhibiting alcohol and/or drug
intoxication (867); and
• the relative rarity of incidents in which the officer perceived a risk of
grievous bodily harm or death (19).

5. Types of deployments
There are several ways in which a conducted energy weapon may be deployed—display
mode, push-stun mode, and probe mode, or any combination of those modes.

a. Single mode of deployment
Our review of incident reports reveals that conducted energy weapons were deployed
in a single mode only in the following numbers of cases, as set out in Table 10:

Table 10: Instances of single mode of deployment
Department
Greater Victoria
ƒ Victoria
ƒ Oak Bay
ƒ Saanich
ƒ Central Saanich
Lower Mainland
ƒ Vancouver
ƒ West Vancouver
ƒ Delta
ƒ Port Moody
ƒ New Westminster
ƒ Abbotsford
Nelson
TOTAL

Total
deployments

Display only

Push-stun
only

Probe
only

678
7
43
5

155
4
1
1

240
0
18
0

155
0
5
0

297
19
45
8
195
97
3
1,397

61
4
19
0
55
8
0
308

62
4
4
1
42
28
0
399

73
4
5
5
41
30
3
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While I am reluctant to draw firm conclusions from this data without having more
detailed information about the circumstances of each deployment, I will make several
general observations:
• It appears that in approximately 22 percent of cases, it was possible to
resolve the situation by displaying the conducted energy weapon alone,
without having to discharge it in either push-stun or probe mode.
• It appears that in almost exactly half the cases, it was possible to resolve the
situation without resorting to discharge in probe mode.
• It appears that some police departments deploy conducted energy weapons
in display mode only with greater frequency than other departments. This
may indicate variations in training received, threat levels experienced by
officers, reporting requirements for display-only use, or adherence to and
enforcement of reporting requirements.

b. Effectiveness of deployments
When deployed in push-stun mode, the location of the subject’s body most frequently
targeted was the back (29 percent), legs (10), shoulders (6), side or ribs (5), and chest
(4). It was effective in controlling the subject in almost 80 percent of cases.
When deployed in probe mode, the location of the subject’s body most frequently
targeted was the back (25 percent), chest (22), torso or centre mass (9), chest and
abdomen (8), and abdomen (5). It was effective in controlling the subject in 67
percent of cases. When probe deployment was not effective, this was due to poor
electrical conduction because of thick clothing (36 percent), one or both darts missing
or becoming dislodged (24), or a malfunction of the weapon or low battery power (3).

c. Push-stun and probe mode deployments
In about 7 percent of cases (92), a conducted energy weapon was deployed in both
push-stun and probe mode. This occurred in Victoria (35 times), New Westminster
(22), Vancouver (16), Abbotsford (9), Delta (5), West Vancouver (3), and Saanich (2).
The frequency of such dual deployments has increased since conducted energy
weapons were introduced. They accounted for 4 percent of deployments in 2000 and
8.6 percent of deployments in 2007.

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d. Multiple deployments against a subject
When a conducted energy weapon was deployed in push-stun mode (with or without
another mode of deployment as well), the subject was exposed to only one push-stun
deployment in 55 percent of cases, and two such deployments in 26 percent of cases.
The most push-stun deployments against a subject was 14.
When a weapon was deployed in probe mode, it was deployed for one cycle (normally
five seconds in duration) in 64 percent of cases, and for two cycles in 23 percent of
cases. The most probe-mode cycles deployed against one subject was 10.

6. Relationship between levels of resistance and mode of deployment
Earlier in this part I discussed the types of subject behaviours (or levels of resistance)
that resulted in the deployment of a conducted energy weapon and then, in a separate
analysis, the types of deployments (ranging from display mode to a combination of
push-stun and probe modes). While informative when examined separately, it is even
more interesting when data about both these matters are combined, as Table 11
shows.
Several noteworthy findings emerge from this analysis:
• In at least 12 percent of cases, conducted energy weapons were deployed
contrary to the “active resistance” threshold established in the National Use
of Force Framework, including 36 instances of deployment in push-stun or
probe mode.114
• There were 19 instances in which the level of resistance (grievous bodily
harm or death) justified the use of lethal force, but a conducted energy
weapon was deployed instead.

114 In 13 of these 36 cases of passive resistance, the subject was armed with some type of weapon.

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Table 11: Method of CEW use by highest level of subject resistance
Highest Level of
Resistance

Cooperative

Passive

Active

Assaultive

GBH/
Death

Other

Total

CEW Use
Warning Only

0

3

3

5

0

1

12

Display Only/
Deployment

92

32

89

75

0

20

308

Display & Stun

0

0

34

49

1

1

85

Display & Probe

0

16

55

88

7

3

169

Stun Only

0

2

145

244

2

6

399

Probe Only

0

17

129

147

9

19

321

Stun & Probe

0

0

22

37

0

0

59

Display & Stun &
Probe
TOTAL

0

1

8

24

0

0

33

92

71

485

669

19

50

1,386

The Commission’s researchers determined that in approximately 62 percent of cases
(860), alcohol or drug intoxication was identified as at least one of the subject’s
behaviours. When that category of subjects was isolated, several interesting results
emerged. First, in 11 percent of cases, a conducted energy weapon was deployed
when the subject’s behaviour did not meet the “active resistance” threshold and, in
42 percent of these cases, the weapon was used in push-stun or probe mode, or both.
Second, the types of deployments used for all intoxicated subjects were as follows:
• warning and/or display

139

(16.2 percent)

• push-stun mode

375

(43.6 percent)

• probe mode

289

(33.6 percent)

57

(6.6 percent)

• push-stun and probe modes

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7. Use of other force options
The Commission’s researchers also identified other intervention methods or force
options that were employed against subjects, either before, during, or after
deployment of a conducted energy weapon, including the following (in some cases,
more than one intervention method was employed):
• Before deployment—verbal intervention (94 percent of cases), soft physical
control (34), hard physical control (18), and firearm warning (5);115
• During deployment—verbal intervention (6), firearm warning (4), hard
physical control (3), and soft physical control (2); and
• After deployment—restraint (95), hard physical control (10), and soft
physical control (8).
With respect to restraint, 67 percent of subjects were arrested for Criminal Code
violations, 20 percent of subjects were detained under the Mental Health Act, and
approximately 10 percent were released. Of those released, 25 percent had been
exposed to push-stun deployment, 37 percent had been exposed to probe-mode
deployment, and 5 percent had been exposed to both modes of deployment.

8. Deaths, injuries, and medical attention
a. Deaths of and injuries to subjects
Two subjects died during or after an incident involving deployment of a conducted
energy weapon by an officer of a municipal police department.
Twenty-four percent of subjects suffered a conducted energy weapon-related injury
(rising to 31 percent in the case of subjects exposed to a push-stun or probe mode
deployment). Of those:
• 98 percent suffered minor injuries, such as penetration of probe darts, welts
from push-stun mode deployment, cuts, or falling after incapacitation; and
• less than 1 percent suffered more serious injuries, including lung collapse
(after darts penetrated a lung), loss of consciousness (after falling and
115 “Firearm warning” refers to the practice of lethal overwatch, in which one officer draws his or her
firearm and points it at the subject while another officer deploys the conducted energy weapon.

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hitting head while incapacitated), and facial and torso wounds from dart
penetration.

b. Injuries to police officers
In 6 percent of cases (82), a police officer suffered some type of injury:
• Approximately two-thirds were minor injuries, such as bruises, cuts, scrapes,
or muscle strains; and
• Approximately one-third were more serious, such as broken fingers, knee
injuries, back injuries, or possible exposure to serious infectious disease
(e.g., hepatitis; HIV).

c. Medical attention
In 33 percent of cases, provincial ambulance attendants examined the subject at the
scene, although this percentage varied widely (zero to 71 percent) among police
departments.
In 37 percent of cases, either the ambulance service or a police officer transported
the subject to hospital, and half of such cases involved detention under the Mental
Health Act.

9. Public complaints
At the Commission’s request, the Police Complaint Commissioner provided information
about public complaints he had received about municipal police departments’ use of
conducted energy weapons. Between 2001 and 2007, his office received 37
complaints, and subsequently determined that a conducted energy weapon was
involved in 32 of those cases. Those 32 complaints were disposed of as follows:
• excessive force (officer suspended for
three days without pay)
• unsubstantiated

168

1
13

• summarily dismissed

8

• informally resolved

5

• withdrawn by complainant

2

• not yet resolved; file remains open

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D. ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
1. Methodology
In April 2008, the Commission’s researchers requested from the RCMP conducted
energy weapon incident information relating to British Columbia, including incident
reports and summaries. However, on July 22, 2008, the Commission notified the RCMP
that this request (which had not been fulfilled) was being withdrawn, because the
Commission’s researchers would not be able to adequately review these incidents in
time to meet the deadline for delivery of this Report to the Attorney General.
On July 31, 2008, the RCMP did provide the Commission with a CD-ROM disk containing
incident reports, but by then it was too late to analyze the data and incorporate it
into this Report.
Fortunately, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP had recently
completed a Canada-wide review of RCMP use of conducted energy weapons. The
Commission generously agreed to re-analyze its RCMP conducted energy weapon
incident database, and to provide statistics for British Columbia (“E” Division) for the
period January 1, 2002, to January 19, 2008. Where available, this data has been used
to compare RCMP usage of conducted energy weapons with the results obtained from
the Commission’s review of municipal police department incidents.
In the discussion that follows, the reader should bear in mind that the RCMP, acting as
British Columbia’s provincial police force, provides policing services to approximately
70 percent of British Columbians. It serves in all areas of the province other than the
12 municipalities policed by the 11 municipal police departments.

2. Analysis of data
Based on the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP’s review of RCMP
incident reports spanning the six years up to early 2008, the following findings
emerge:

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• Number of deployments—RCMP officers in British Columbia deployed a
conducted energy weapon on 1,466 occasions. However, this is almost
certainly a significant undercount. As I noted earlier in this part, a national
study by the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
found that in 68 percent of cases, he could not find an incident report in the
RCMP database to match the complaints he had received from members of
the public about conducted energy weapon usage.116
• Subject characteristics—91 percent of subjects were males, with an average
age of 33 years. These findings were almost identical to the findings
applicable to municipal police departments.
• Types of incidents—the distribution of incident types was similar to
municipal police departments, except that RCMP rates for mental health and
causing a disturbance calls were higher, and suicidal person calls were
significantly lower.
• Substance use—82 percent of RCMP cases involved use of substances
(including alcohol and drugs), as opposed to 62 percent for municipal police
departments.
• Weapons—35 percent of RCMP cases involved weapons, as opposed to 20
percent for municipal police departments.
• Modes of deployment—the RCMP deployed conducted energy weapons in
push-stun mode more often than municipal police departments (45 percent
vs. 41 percent), but in probe mode less often (39 percent vs. 42 percent). It
deployed in both push-stun and probe mode significantly more often than did
municipal police departments (8.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent).
I should also note that six subjects died during or after an incident involving
deployment of a conducted energy weapon by an officer of the RCMP in British
Columbia.
The RCMP now publishes quarterly reports on its members’ use of conducted energy
weapons across Canada.117

116 According to a recent report by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, the
incidence of conducted energy weapon use by the RCMP nationally dropped 30 percent in 2008 over 2007:
see RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008. Special
Report dated March 31, 2008, p. 31, available at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/prr/rep/sir/cew-ai-09eng.aspx.
117 See, for example, http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ccaps-spcca/cew-ai/report-rapport-q2-2008-eng.htm.

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E. TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE
The Transit Authority Police began using conducted energy weapons in 2007, with an
inventory of 20 weapons.
It used conducted energy weapons six times during 2007, including twice in push-stun
mode and four times in probe mode. It reported no incidents in which a weapon was
used in both push-stun and probe mode against one subject. In all cases the subject’s
behaviour met the active resistance threshold; however, in half these cases the active
resistance consisted of fleeing from police after being stopped for a fare check.
In no cases did the Transit Authority Police deploy in push-stun mode more than once
against a subject, or expose a subject to more than one probe-mode cycle.
Paramedics attended the scene in three of the Transit Authority Police’s six
deployments, and transported the subject to hospital.
The subject was arrested in three of the six deployments.

F. PROVINCIAL SHERIFF SERVICES
1. The role of Sheriff Services
The Sheriff Services Division comes within the Court Services Branch of the Ministry of
Attorney General. It is responsible for court security, escort and detention of
prisoners, jury management, service of court-related documents, execution of court
orders and warrants, and coroner’s court assistance.
Province-wide, there are currently 450 Sheriff Services Division peace officers. They
provide courthouse security at 44 courthouses across the province, and are responsible
for approximately 125,000 prisoner escorts annually.

2. Sheriff Services Division policy
The division’s February 20, 2008, policy includes the following provisions:

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4.5.4 Use of TASER
a.

The TASER is an alternative force options tool.

b.
The TASER may be used as a control weapon against an active resister
or assailant where other forms of control or weapons would be ineffective or
inappropriate under the circumstances. It should be noted that this weapon
may not always be effective when used on an active assailant.
c.
The TASER is not to be used on a person who has already been placed in
restraints except where it is necessary to approach the subject for control
purposes and the subject continues to present an undue risk to the deputy.

3. Methodology
In May 2008 the Commission made a request to the Ministry of Attorney General,
asking for “conducted energy weapons incident reports,” including any video records
of conducted energy weapon incidents involving Sheriff Services Division staff dating
from 2001 to the end of 2007.
In order to facilitate and expedite Commission access to documents and videos, Sharon
Samuels, Research Counsel, negotiated and signed a confidentiality agreement with
the Ministry of Attorney General (and approved by the Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Office) that ensured that the privacy of individuals involved in
conducted energy weapon incidents (both staff and inmates) would be safeguarded by
the Commission.
A coding form was developed to capture information about subject characteristics and
behaviours, incident type and location, mode of weapon deployment, use of other
force options, injuries, and policy compliance. File coding was completed in
September 2008.
For the purposes of this research, the unit of analysis was defined as “the discharge of
a conducted energy weapon on an individual during a single event.” If the conducted
energy weapon was used in stun or probe mode on more than one subject during a
single event, a “Conducted Energy Weapon Incident File Review Coding Form” was
completed for each subject and would be counted as multiple instances of weapon

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use. If the weapon was used as a display only/compliance tool on multiple subjects, a
single coding form was completed for the incident.
Commission researchers met with a senior member of the Sheriff Services Division staff
in August 2008 to view video records of conducted energy weapon incidents. In total,
16 video records (including CCTV images) were viewed, including 14 probe deployment
incidents and two display compliance incidents. “TASER Deployment Reports” and/or
“Court Services Incident Reports” were reviewed in Ministry of Attorney General
offices in accordance with the confidentiality agreement. Incident reports relating to
127 conducted energy weapon use incidents were provided to researchers for review.
The period covered by this review is from late 2001 (when sheriffs and sheriff’s
deputies were first equipped with conducted energy weapons) through to the end of
2007.

4. Analysis of data
The number of conducted energy weapons in use, and the number of weapon
incidents, has fluctuated since the weapon was introduced in late 2001, as Table 12
shows.

Table 12: Number of weapons in use and number of weapon incidents,
2001-2007
Year
*2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
TOTAL

Number of
weapons in use
80
80
80
80
104
95
91

Number of weapon
incidents
10
18
19
14
22
21
23
127

Percent of total
7.9
14.2
15.0
11.0
17.3
16.5
18.1
100.0

*Between October and December 2001 only.

Significant findings include the following:

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• Subject characteristics—more than 92 percent of incidents involved males.
Of the 127 incidents, 112 involved adult prisoners, four involved youth
prisoners, and seven involved members of the public. A history of mental
illness was noted for 30 percent of subjects, and 65 percent of incident
reports noted that the subject had a history of violence.
• Incident characteristics—the type of duty being performed when the
conducted energy weapon incident occurred was jail/holding cell security (72
percent), escort (14), criminal court security (13), and civil court security
(1). The types of events that occasioned the use of a conducted energy
weapon were, in percentages:
o extraction from, or placement of a prisoner in, a cell

42

o prisoner transfer

17

o cell search

9

o prisoner search

9

o other (e.g., maintaining cell or courtroom order, taking
remanded prisoners into custody, serving court orders
or warrants)

24

• Location of incidents—the four originating locations that had the highest
incidence of weapon use were Surrey (26 percent), Victoria (17), Abbotsford
(12), and Vancouver (9).
• Subject behaviours—the most commonly identified behaviours recorded
(each incident may contain two or more descriptors) were, in percentages:
o active resistance

60

o verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression

46

o assaultive

42

o violence/threatened violence to others

22

o agitated

17

o yelling

16

• Types of deployments—in 102 cases (81 percent), compliance was achieved
either by a warning or display of the weapon, without actually discharging it.
When display compliance was not effective, the weapon was used in pushstun mode only in 10 cases (8 percent), in probe mode only in 10 cases (8),
and in both push-stun and probe modes in three cases (2).
• Relationship between types of deployment and levels of resistance—in
the four cases involving only cooperative behavior or passive resistance, the
weapon was used in display mode only. When the subject’s highest level of
resistance was active resistance, the weapon was used in display mode only

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in 31 cases, in stun mode in two cases and in probe mode in three cases. In
the case of assaultive behaviour, the weapon was used in display mode only
in 32 cases, in push-stun mode in nine cases, in probe mode in nine cases,
and in both push-stun and probe mode in three cases.
• Use of other force options—prior to a conducted energy weapon being
deployed, officers used other force options in most cases, including verbal
intervention (121 cases), soft physical control (27), hard physical control
(11), and restraints (7).
• Injuries and medical attention—in eight cases, a subject suffered a minor
weapon-related injury, involving penetration of a probe dart into the skin. In
addition:
o In 10 incidents, subjects received non-weapon-related injuries, most
of which were minor; and
o In six incidents, officers received non-weapon-related injuries,
including bruises, cuts, and strains.
• Compliance with policy—researchers compared conducted energy weapon
use incidents to the Sheriff Services Division’s policy, and concluded that
“policy compliance with respect to actions to be taken before, during, and
after conducted energy weapon use is high.”

G. PROVINCIAL CORRECTIONS BRANCH
1. The role of the Corrections Branch
Among the law enforcement agencies discussed in this Report, the Corrections Branch
is unique, in that its activities are focused primarily on people who are already in
custody. The Adult Custody Division is responsible for the custody of persons
remanded for trial, persons sentenced to imprisonment for the commission of crimes
(usually for less than two years), and persons detained by immigration authorities. In
addition, prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more may spend up to
15 days in a provincial correctional facility before being transferred to a federal
penitentiary.

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2. Corrections Branch policy
Any use of conducted energy weapons in correctional facilities in British Columbia,
including presence, display, push-stun, or probe deployment, requires authorization
from the warden, or from designated deputy wardens or assistant deputy wardens to
whom the warden has delegated the authority. When not authorized for use to assist
with a specific situation, conducted energy weapons are stored in a locked room.
Corrections Branch policy provides that officers may use conducted energy weapons in
the following circumstances:
• tactical operations;
• cell entry or extraction;
• in response to an escape or escape attempt;
• external prowl (secure outdoor yard); and
• as approved by the warden when intervention is required to prevent selfharm, compel compliance, terminate violent and destructive behaviour,
protect the safety of staff and inmates, or when lesser use of force is
inappropriate or unreasonable.118
When possible, officers are supposed to make a video recording of conducted energy
weapon deployments and, following deployment, the video recording and a use-offorce report are to be submitted to the provincial director of the Adult Custody
Division.

3. Methodology
In May 2008, the Commission made a request to the Corrections Branch of the Ministry
of Public Safety and Solicitor General, asking for “conducted energy weapon incident
reports,” including any video records of conducted energy weapon incidents involving
correctional staff dating from April 2003 to the end of 2007.
In order to facilitate and expedite the release of documents and videos to the
Commission, Sharon Samuels, Research Counsel, negotiated and signed a
118 Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, “Submissions of Corrections Branch, Adult Custody
Division” (May 6, 2008). Written submission to the Braidwood Commission [unpublished].

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confidentiality agreement with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (and
approved by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office) that
ensured that the privacy of individuals involved in conducted energy weapon incidents
(both staff and inmates) would be safeguarded by the Commission.
A coding form was developed to capture information about subject characteristics and
behaviours, incident type and location, mode of weapon deployment, use of other
force options, inmate and staff injuries, and policy compliance. File coding was
completed in September 2008.
For the purposes of this research, the unit of analysis was defined as “the discharge of
a conducted energy weapon on an individual during a single event.” If the conducted
energy weapon was used in stun or probe mode on more than one inmate during a
single event, a “Conducted Energy Weapon Incident File Review Coding Form” was
completed for each subject and would be counted as multiple instances of weapon
use. If the weapon was used as a display only/compliance tool on multiple inmates, a
single coding form was completed for the incident.
Commission researchers met with senior Corrections Branch (Adult Custody Division,
Policy and Programs) staff in early August 2008 to review incident reports and view
video records of conducted energy weapon incidents. In accordance with the abovenoted confidentiality agreement, all data collection took place in Ministry of the
Attorney General offices. In total, 19 video records of conducted energy weapon
incidents were reviewed, including seven involving the discharge (in stun or probe
mode) of the weapon.119 The characteristics of six incidents were collected from
video recordings alone, as Corrections Branch staff could not locate the written
incident report. Data collection was completed by the end of August 2008.
The period covered by this review is from April 1, 2003 (when correctional staff were
first equipped with conducted energy weapons) through to the end of 2007.
119 Researchers asked to view video records of all incidents involving the discharge of the CEW;
however, of 27 applicable incidents, 14 video records could not be produced or did not work properly and
six incidents were apparently not recorded.

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4. Analysis of data
The Corrections Branch has had, since conducted energy weapons were introduced in
2003, an inventory of 22 weapons. During that period the weapons were deployed 149
times, as follows:
• 2003

17

• 2004

31

• 2005

23

• 2006

18

• 2007

60

One possible explanation for the spike in deployments in 2007 is an increase in the
inmate count and a decrease in staff levels, resulting in “significant overcrowding and
resulting tension.”120
Perhaps the most significant finding is that in 82 percent of cases (122 deployments),
the subject was warned that a conducted energy weapon may be used or the weapon
was displayed only, without having to resort to push-stun or probe mode.
Other significant findings include the following:
• Subject characteristics—98 percent of incidents involved males. In most
cases, neither age nor ethnicity was recorded. The inmate had a history of
violence in 26 percent of cases, and a history of mental illness in 18 percent
of cases.
• Reasons for deployment—a conducted energy weapon was used to assist in a
cell extraction (48 percent of cases), cell entry (17), lock-up (11), cell
extraction and escort (9), escort (7), intake (6), and hostage-taking (1).
• Subject behaviours—the most commonly identified behaviours recorded
(each incident may contain two or more descriptors) were, in percentages:
o active resistance

42

o smashing/damaging property

38

o verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression

35

o assaultive

33

120 See Appendix I, Tables 1 and 2.

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o violence/threatened violence to staff

28

o violence/threatened violence to self

24

o cooperative/compliant to directions

23

o agitated

20

• Weapons—in 20 percent of cases the inmate was armed with a weapon,
which included an edged weapon (53 percent of those cases), pointed
weapon (12), or a blunt weapon (20).
• Types of deployments—of the 149 incidents, the following shows the most
frequent types of deployments recorded:
o warning
o display
o push-stun
o probe
o push-stun and probe

1
121
6
18
3

• Multiple deployments—in the nine cases in which a weapon was used in
push-stun mode, it was deployed once (in 5 cases), three times (2), four
times (1), and six times (1). In the 21 cases in which a weapon was deployed
in probe mode, it was deployed for one 5-second cycle (in 13 cases), two
cycles (6), and three cycles (2).
• Relationship between types of deployment and levels of resistance—in 22
percent of cases the highest levels of resistance reported were cooperative
or passive resistance. In all those cases, officers gave a warning only or
deployed the conducted energy weapon in display mode only. In cases of
active resistance, the weapon was used in push-stun mode twice, probe
mode three times, and both modes once. In cases of assaultive behaviour,
the weapon was used in push-stun mode four times, probe mode 14 times,
and both modes twice.
• Use of other force options—prior to a conducted energy weapon being
deployed, officers used other force options in most cases, including verbal
intervention (147 cases), soft physical control (13), hard physical control (2),
and pepper spray (3).
• Injuries and medical attention—in 18 cases, the inmate suffered a minor
weapon-related injury resulting from push-stun deployment or probe
penetration. In seven cases, one or more Corrections Branch officers
suffered minor (5) or unrecorded (2) injuries.
• Compliance with policy—in all but one case, proper authorization was
obtained before a conducted energy weapon was deployed. In six cases,
completed use-of-force reports were not available for review (although video

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recordings were). Out of 27 cases in which a conducted energy weapon was
actually discharged, no video recording was made in six cases, while in 14
other cases the video recording could not be produced or did not work
properly.

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Recent Reports on Conducted
Energy Weapon Use

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A.

RECENT REPORTS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE................ 185
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

11.
12.
13.

14.

TASER Technology Research Paper—Canadian Police Research Centre,
September 2000..........................................................................185
TASER Technology Review & Interim Recommendations—Office of the BC
Police Complaint Commissioner, September 2004 .................................188
TASER Technology Review—Final Report—Office of the BC Police
Complaint Commissioner, June 14, 2005 ............................................190
Review of Conducted Energy Devices—Canadian Police Research Centre,
August 22, 2005 ..........................................................................192
RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)—Interim Report—
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, December 11, 2007 ....195
RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)—Final Report—
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, June 12, 2008 ...........198
Study of the Conductive Energy Weapon—TASER—Standing Committee
on Public Safety and National Security, June 2008 ................................200
An Independent Review of the Adoption and Use of Conducted Energy
Weapons by the RCMP—Compliance Strategy Group, June 5, 2008 .............203
The Use of the Conducted Energy Device by Law Enforcement Agencies
in Nova Scotia—Advisory Panel to the Minister of Justice, June 30, 2008......204
My Brother’s Keeper: A Review of Electronic Control Devices in
Saskatchewan Correctional Centres Housing Male Inmates—Saskatchewan
Ombudsman, July 29, 2008 ............................................................206
Report on Conducted Energy Weapons—Ontario Association of Chiefs
of Police, October 2008 ................................................................207
Use of TASER Weapons by New South Wales Police Force—New South Wales
Ombudsman, November 2008..........................................................208
Investigation of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Use of
Conducted Energy Devices—U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights
Division, August 2008 ...................................................................210
Position Document on Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs)—
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and Canadian Police Association,
February 24, 2009 .......................................................................211

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A. RECENT REPORTS ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE
In the 10 years since conducted energy weapons were first introduced into Canadian
policing, much has been written about how they work, their effectiveness, the
medical risks, and the policies that should prescribe their deployment.
In this part I will summarize, chronologically, the most significant Canadian and
international reports.

1. TASER Technology Research Paper—Canadian Police Research Centre,
September 2000
In December 1998, the Victoria Police Department commenced a six-month field study
of a Tasertron TASER conducted energy weapon. During the test period it was
deployed 14 times: nine times in probe mode (causing incapacitation) and five times
through the threat of use or using the laser sights on the subject. In response to
numerous requests for information from other law enforcement agencies about the use
of conducted energy weapons, Sgt. Darren Laur prepared this Report, which was
published by the Canadian Police Research Centre.
The majority of the report compared and contrasted the various products of two
conducted energy weapon manufacturers, Tasertron and TASER International. The
information relied upon in this Report was gathered from research on two
manufacturers, from law enforcement agencies, and from conducted energy weapon
technology experts from the United States.
The author began the section on “Medical Research” by stating: “To say that TASER
pulse wave technology has been over-studied by the medical community would be an
understatement.” 121 After acknowledging that heart attacks, long-term seizure
activity, and the potential to cause pacemakers to fail had been hypothesized, the
author concluded:

121 Ibid., see footnote 98, p. 6.

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To date, all medical research involving the TASER has found that, when used on
a normally healthy adult, the electrical current, supplied by a TASER with
50,000 volts and 5 watts, is extremely safe to use, and will not affect cardiac
muscle, will not affect pacemakers, or cause long-term seizures.122
The report also referenced Dr. Harrison (a research professor in the Department of
Electronics at Carleton University, Ottawa) who, after reviewing all pertinent
technical information, recommended the weapon as an alternative to “more lethal
ways of controlling violent subjects.”123 To the same effect, Dr. Hendry (co-director of
the Pacemaker Clinic at the University of Ottawa’s Heart Institute) concluded, after a
review of all the American medical research available on conducted energy weapon
technology, that the weapon “appears safe for its use in controlling violent
offenders.”124
Although the report did note the existence of serious injuries sustained as a result of
conducted energy weapon deployment (e.g., blunt trauma from falling, probe
penetration to eye, and the weapon’s electrical current igniting subjects who were
soaked in flammable liquid), the report emphasized that there had never been a death
directly related to the current used by the weapon. The author concluded: “It cannot
be emphasized enough that the TASER pulse wave technology weapons … have been
medically proven to be safe when used on normal healthy subjects.”125
The remainder of the report compared and contrasted three conducted energy weapon
models manufactured by Tasertron, and one model manufactured by TASER
International. The review covered weapon strength and weaknesses, training
materials, laser lighting systems, device and cartridge durability, electric arc
penetration, wind deviation, power supply, liability insurance, warranty, and product
advertisements. While the weapons tested were similar in many ways, the product
review suggested that the TASER International Air Taser (precursor to the M26 Model)

122
123
124
125

186

Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., p. 7.

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was the superior product, particularly in terms of durability, dart accuracy and
stability, and electric current penetration.
The author reached these conclusions on the use of TASER technology:
• increased officer and subject safety;
• decreased officer and subject injuries;
• increased success with subjects immune to pain-compliance tactics;
• established as medically safe for “normal healthy adults”;
• medically established as having no effect on heart rhythms or pacemakers;
• electrical output well within safe levels for international and North American
standards;
• no fatalities directly related to conducted energy weapons;
• extensively field tested over 20-year operational history;
• morally and legally responsible less lethal option;
• not reliant on pain-compliance tactics; more humane use-of-force option;
• target specific (accurate and no cross-contamination concerns);
• decreased liability issues for management;
• laser sight acts as a deterrent;
• extremely cost effective; and
• maintenance free (TASER international model) or minimal maintenance
(Tasertron models).126
The paper concluded that both manufacturers offered “an extremely safe and
effective less lethal option,” and endorsed the TASER less lethal system “as a
necessity in the required multifaceted approach” to less lethal use-of-force options.127

126 Ibid., pp. 26-27.
127 Ibid., p. 27.

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2. TASER Technology Review & Interim Recommendations—Office of the BC
Police Complaint Commissioner, September 2004128
In 2004 a young man died after a conducted energy weapon was discharged against
him in a Vancouver hotel. The BC Police Complaint Commissioner asked the Victoria
Police Department to review the current use-of-force protocols and to make
recommendations respecting the use of conducted energy weapons by police officers
in British Columbia.
The report included a review of conducted energy weapon technology, tabulation of
4,600 weapon field uses based on data supplied by the manufacturer, usage data from
the Edmonton, Alberta, and Victoria, BC, police departments, and a review of the
medical literature (including “excited delirium”).
With respect to the analysis of field usage data, the report concluded that for each of
the three data sources, the overall weapon effectiveness success rate was at least 90
percent.
The literature review concluded that conducted energy weapons were safe and
effective, and that risk of death or serious injury was low. Some studies concluded
that ventricular fibrillation or cardiac dysrhythmias were unlikely in healthy adults.
Some studies cautioned that drug abuse, mental illness, and/or pre-existing heart
conditions might increase risk of injury. Only one study expressed negative findings in
respect of conducted energy weapons, concluding that these weapons were indeed
capable of causing death, and that the electrical charge from the TASER M26 model
fell into a range that might cause ventricular fibrillation 50 percent of the time.
During the medical literature review, numerous references to risk factors associated
with in-custody deaths were noted, regardless of whether a conducted energy weapon
had been utilized. Accordingly, the contributors undertook further research to
determine what role, if any, these risk factors played in deaths proximal to conducted
128 B.C. Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. TASER Technology Review & Interim
Recommendations (Victoria: OPCC, 2004), available at http://www.opcc.bc.ca/Reports/2004/
Interim%20Taser%20Report%20and%20Recommendations.pdf.

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energy weapon usage. To complete this task, the Coroners Service provided summaries
of restraint-associated deaths in British Columbia, and the researchers reviewed
relevant research studies from North America and the United Kingdom.
The report determined that three specific groups of people appeared prone to sudden
death proximal to restraint—those suffering from a psychiatric illness, chronic illicit
stimulant users, or individuals with a combination of both factors. The report also
noted common behaviours associated with “excited delirium,” including unbelievable
strength, imperviousness to pain, hyperthermia, perspiration, aggression,
hyperactivity, and incoherent shouting.129 The report further noted that death
proximal to restraint was not a phenomenon exclusive to law enforcement contexts;
such deaths had also been experienced in psychiatric and geriatric facilities.130
The report also found that current medical research had identified several medical
concerns that might play a contributory role in sudden deaths proximal to restraint,
including cocaine toxicity (that may cause the heart to be more susceptible to
arrhythmia or cause delirium), metabolic acidosis (a disturbance of the body’s acidbase balance), catecholamine release (resulting in an abundance of catecholamines in
the blood that can sensitize the heart and promote dysrhythmia), genetic
susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmia, and face-down prone restraint.131
The report concluded that conducted energy weapons should be retained as an
intermediate weapon in British Columbia, because appropriate use of the weapon
“presents an acceptable level of risk to subjects being controlled.” It made the
following specific recommendations:132
• Training—there were significant inconsistencies throughout the province in
the training of police officers, which should be remedied by creation of a
standardized lesson plan/course training standard for conducted energy
weapon users. This standard should be developed by the Justice Institute in
consultation with use of force coordinators from municipal police
129
130
131
132

Ibid., p. 50.
Ibid., p. 45.
Ibid., pp. 51–54.
Ibid., pp. 55-56.

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departments and the RCMP. The “core curriculum” would be delivered to all
recruits and to all in-service weapon users.
• Usage reporting—not all law enforcement agencies in British Columbia
required reporting of weapon deployments, or inadequately supervised
reporting. An officer should be required to submit a use-of-force report
after every push-stun or probe deployment, in a format created by the
Justice Institute that allows for province-wide statistical analysis.
• New acquisitions—agencies purchasing new conducted energy weapon
technology should acquire the TASER X26 rather than the M26, due to its
enhanced data collection capabilities and lower electrical output.
• “Excited delirium” training—changing patterns of drug abuse made it likely
that officers would encounter incidents of “excited delirium” more
frequently. Consequently, the Justice Institute should create a standardized
lesson plan/course training standard for “excited delirium,” to be delivered
to all recruits and in-service members, regardless of rank, in British
Columbia.
• Restraint protocols—although medical evidence remained inconclusive,
there did appear to be a linkage between restraint positions and enhanced
risk to arrested subjects. Consequently, the use of the maximal restraint
position (where handcuffs and ankles were bound behind the back) should be
eliminated. Instead, a hobble restraint, a wrap restraint, or other similar
device should be used, subject to appropriate training.

3. TASER Technology Review—Final Report—Office of the BC Police
Complaint Commissioner, June 14, 2005133
In this follow-up report, the authors discussed officer training injuries, recent studies
and reports, the findings of the investigative team’s medical review panel, and
recently identified medical contra-indicators. I will discuss each in turn:
• Officer training injuries—officers have typically received a 1−2 second
discharge as part of conducted energy weapon training. However, there is
mounting evidence of the risk of injury from such exposures, including
secondary injuries (e.g., from probe penetration or from falling), as well as
musculoskeletal injuries caused by powerful muscular contractions.
• Recent studies and reports—two recent studies found that adequate
margins of safety exist pertaining to ventricular fibrillation and that it is
unlikely to be a risk. A third study conducted by the Air Force Research
133 BC Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. TASER Technology Review: Final Report (Victoria:
OPCC, 2005), available at http://www.opcc.bc.ca/Reports/2005/Taser%20Report.pdf.

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Laboratory demonstrated that very lengthy exposures (three minutes of five
seconds on, five seconds off) had significant impact on the blood’s acid-base
balance, suggesting that police should minimize multiple applications where
possible. Further research involved mapping the path of a conducted energy
weapon’s electrical current through the body of pigs, effectiveness and risks
of M26 and X26 models, effectiveness of various other lower lethal use-offorce options, and the electrical risks of conducted energy weapons and
delayed ventricular fibrillation.
• Medical review panel—the investigative team brought together experts in
forensic pathology, cardiology, forensic psychiatry, and emergency medicine,
as well as an advanced life support paramedic, to review the research
material, to discuss current research on conducted energy weapons, and to
identify relevant issues for further study. There was consensus among the
medical group that:
o Sudden and unexpected death proximal to restraint is caused by a
variety of factors, not a single precipitating issue. Risk factors
identified included significant amounts of acidosis which affect
cardiac contractility, respiratory muscle impairment, rhabdomyolysis
(the destruction of skeletal muscle tissue [from traumatic injury
and/or excessive exertion] that is accompanied by the release of
muscle cell contents into the bloodstream), hypoglycemia, and high
levels of adrenaline.
The panel concluded that “excited delirium” is not a single entity, but rather
a symptom cluster that occurs frequently in hospital settings. Cocaine and
methamphetamine can overstimulate already delirious patients, causing
death even without the intervention of conducted energy weapons or other
lower lethality weapons.
• Medical contra-indicators—it appears likely that the muscular tetany
produced by a conducted energy weapon deployment could impair a
subject’s respiration, which could affect carbon dioxide and pH levels.
These effects could be expected to increase with repeated five-second
discharges. Applying physical restraint in these circumstances is particularly
dangerous, because it restricts the subject’s ability to breathe, which is
critical as the body tries to return to homeostasis and compensate for
increased carbon dioxide levels. Officers should also exercise caution before
deploying a conducted energy weapon against a pregnant woman or against
people with a low body mass, such as children or the elderly.
The report did not contain formal recommendations, but included some “general
guidelines”:

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• Musculoskeletal injuries may occur during conducted energy weapon training
of officers, and consequently, law enforcement agencies need to revisit the
issue of mandatory exposure.
• Training protocols should reflect that multiple applications, particularly
continuous cycling of the conducted energy weapon for periods exceeding
15–20 seconds, may increase the risk to the subject and should be avoided
where practical.
• A single weapon application made before the subject has been exhausted,
followed by a restraint technique that does not impair respiration may
provide the optimum outcome.
• Subject to situational factors, conducted energy weapons should not be used
against subjects who are demonstrating only passive resistance.
• For subjects displaying active resistance (i.e., those resisting an officer’s
efforts to be taken into custody without attacking the officer), where the
officer believes it is appropriate to use a conducted energy weapon, it may
be used in push-stun mode only.
• In situations of active resistance,134 assaultive resistance, or the threat of
grievous bodily harm or death, where the officer believes that the use of a
conducted energy weapon is appropriate, it may be used in either push-stun
or probe mode.
The report also advocated for the creation of a Provincial Use of Force Coordinator,
who would be responsible for evaluating and assessing both new and existing
technology and ensuring that agencies have access to best practices for all use-offorce options.

4. Review of Conducted Energy Devices—Canadian Police Research Centre,
August 22, 2005135
At the request of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police
Research Centre (the “Centre”) conducted a review of the existing scientific research
and data respecting conducted energy weapons, and provided a national perspective
on the safety and use of such weapons. The Centre collaborated with representatives

134 It would appear to have been an inadvertent error to include “active resistance” in this paragraph,
since the preceding paragraph restricted use of a conducted energy weapon to push-stun mode against a
subject displaying active resistance.
135 Manojlovic, Drazen, et al., Review of Conducted Energy Devices (Ottawa: CPRC, 2005), available at
http://www.css.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/cprc/tr/tr-2006-01.pdf.

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from the Victoria Police Department who, as discussed earlier in this part, were
concurrently conducting a study for the BC Police Complaint Commissioner.
The intent of this Report was to provide guidance and assistance for police agencies in
reviewing current usage, and to assist in the development of future training programs,
policies, and procedures. The review focused on three areas: medical safety, policy
considerations, and “excited delirium.”
With respect to medical safety, the Centre examined 15 research studies and/or
opinions, which it classified as vendor-sponsored, independent, or ongoing. In an
effort to prevent duplication, the Centre relied upon and summarized the findings of
the Victoria Police Department’s interim and final reports (summarized above). The
contributors to the Centre’s report found that conducted energy weapons “are
effective law enforcement tools that are safe in the vast majority of cases.”136 Based
on the existing research, the Centre concluded that:
• Definitive research or evidence does not exist that implicates a causal
relationship between the use of conducted energy weapons and death.
• Existing studies indicate that the risk of cardiac harm to subjects from a
conducted energy weapon is very low.
• “Excited delirium,” while not a universally recognized medical condition, is
gaining increasing acceptance as a main contributor to deaths proximal to
conducted energy weapon use.
• The issue related to multiple conducted energy weapon applications and its
impact on respiration, pH levels, and other associated physical effects, offers
a plausible theory on the possible connection between death, conducted
energy weapon use, and people exhibiting the symptoms of “excited
delirium.”
With respect to policy considerations, the Centre reviewed data from weapon usage
in four North American jurisdictions, concluding that when conducted energy weapons
are used, there are fewer officer and subject injuries, less use of lethal force, and less
use of other force options. It noted that conducted energy weapons are classified as
intermediate weapons within the National Use of Force Framework (which means that

136 Ibid., p. ii.

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they may be deployed when an officer is confronted with active resistance), and then
added, “it would be unwise and counter-productive for any police service or
government body to develop policies and procedures that explicitly specify in what
kinds of circumstances a CED may or may not be used.”137 The report stated that
there is no question that “the use of CEDs can and has saved many lives.”138 It
concluded that:
• Use of conducted energy weapons is related to a decrease in the use of lethal
force in some jurisdictions, and it is also related to substantial decreases in
officer and subject injuries.
• While originally marketed and accepted as an alternative to lethal force, the
use of conducted energy weapons has grown to include incidents where
intermediate (but not lethal) weapons should be used.
• Although each use-of-force incident needs to be judged separately, for the
most part the increased use of conducted energy weapons in non-lethal
incidents is appropriate.
• Law enforcement agencies should give thoughtful consideration to developing
conducted energy weapon usage reporting procedures, forms, or databases.
• It would be unwise and counterproductive to develop policies and procedures
that explicitly specify in what kinds of circumstances a conducted energy
weapon may or may not be used. Notwithstanding this conclusion, police
officers need to be aware of the adverse effects of multiple consecutive
cycles on a subject, or of deploying a weapon on a subject’s head, neck, or
genitalia, or in the presence of a flammable/explosive substance.
• There are no known, scientifically tested, independently verified, and
globally accepted safety parameters for conducted energy weapons. This is
problematic, as it necessitates complete reliance on the manufacturer’s
claims pertaining to product safety. Because of the lack of safety
parameters, agencies are ill-equipped to respond to technology advances.
With respect to “excited delirium,” the report notes that there is no unifying
diagnosis; instead, there is a cluster of signs and symptoms collectively forming the
condition. The report suggests that persons exhibiting signs of “excited delirium”
should be restrained as soon as practicable in order to commence treatment and avoid
any risks of the subject progressing to a state of exhaustion. The report urges that
137 Ibid, p. 27.
138 Ibid., p. 25.

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police officers should be trained to involve medical emergency personnel early in the
restraint process, preferably immediately after successful restraint, to attempt to
mitigate subject risk. The report also reviews several theories associated with
“excited delirium” and in-custody deaths, including asphyxia, cardiac dysrhythmia,
metabolic acidosis, and dopaminergic dysfunction. With respect to conducted energy
weapons as a possible cause of death, the report states that current research focuses
on a variety of proposed but unproven mechanisms and that the causative theories are
speculative.

5. RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)—Interim Report—
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, December 11,
2007139
In November 2007 the federal Minister of Public Safety requested that the Commission
for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (“RCMP Commission”) review the RCMP’s
protocols on the use of conducted energy weapons and their implementation,
including compliance with such protocols. This interim report identifies and reviews
significant Canadian studies, the RCMP’s use-of-force model, its policy implementation
and training, and conducted energy weapon-related complaints.
The RCMP Commission reported that the RCMP first authorized use of conducted
energy weapons in 2001, and there are currently 2,840 weapons in use across Canada.
It asserted that police departments must justify to the public why particular weapons
and strategies are necessary for officers to perform their lawful duties, but there had
been inadequate collection and analysis of empirical data. In the absence of such
information and administrative control, the use of conducted energy weapons should
be tightly controlled and supervised. In the RCMP Commission’s view, the conducted
energy weapon should be re-designated from an intermediate device to an impact
weapon, until empirical data is submitted to the RCMP Commission that clearly
demonstrates that a broader use of the weapon is in the best interest of officer and
139 Canada. Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy
Weapon (CEW): Interim Report (Ottawa: CPCRCMP, 2008), available at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/prr/inv
/cew-ai/cew_ai_int_rp-eng.aspx.

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public safety. According to the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model, an
intermediate device may be used when an officer is confronted with resistant
behaviour, but an impact weapon may be deployed only in the case of combative
behaviour.
The RCMP Commission reported that since 2001 it had received 138 conducted energy
weapon-related complaints, and 62 percent of them originated in British Columbia. In
resolution of the complaints, some adverse findings were made against members—most
commonly that the member failed to properly assess subject behaviour, particularly
when presented with resistant behaviour. In the RCMP Commission’s view, the RCMP
should distinguish between “passive resistance” and “active resistance,” and that
policy should be rewritten to clarify that resistance in and of itself does not justify the
use of conducted energy weapons.
The RCMP Commission addresses issues of “excited delirium,” and highlights the
current view that those individuals exhibiting such symptoms must be quickly subdued
so as to receive immediate medical attention. RCMP policy states, “In considering
intervention options for excited delirium cases, the use of the CEW in probe-mode
deployment may be the most effective response.” However, the RCMP Commission
does not view conducted energy weapons as the preferred option for dealing with
individuals exhibiting behaviours associated with “excited delirium” unless the
behaviour is combative or poses a risk of death or grievous bodily harm. “Excited
delirium” should not, in and of itself, be justification for use.
In light of the literature reviewed, the report concludes that available research
generally indicates that regardless of the type of restraint, death can occur (i.e.,
sudden in-custody death is not a phenomenon unique to conducted energy weapon
usage), and that the studies tend to support the assertion that such weapons are
typically safe when used on healthy adults. The report notes, however, a lack of
research into the negative effects that conducted energy weapon exposure may have
on vulnerable subjects. Thus, there is a need for further research and empirical data
collection, focusing on the following issues:

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• conducted energy weapon use, the infliction of pain, and the measurement
of such pain;
• appropriateness of conducted energy weapon application in comparison to
other use-of-force techniques;
• conducted energy weapon use against vulnerable or at-risk populations;
• alternate use-of-force options for individuals exhibiting symptoms of
“excited delirium;”
• conducted energy weapon use, “excited delirium,” and sudden death within
rural or northern geographical areas; and
• connections between conducted energy weapon use, “excited delirium,” and
the chance of death.
The RCMP Commission’s review of RCMP policy found that, over time, one could see an
evolution of the policy which broadened acceptable usage by leaving the assessment
of appropriate use to the member in the context of the Incident Management/
Intervention Model, and outside of the scope of dedicated conducted energy weapon
policy. While initial policy contained provisions outlining when the weapon could be
used (e.g., to subdue individuals who resist arrest, are combative, or suicidal) and
when deployment was prohibited (e.g., for crowd control), over time weapon use has
expanded to include subduing subjects who exhibit behaviours that are clearly noncombative or who are not actively resisting—evidence of “usage creep.”
The RCMP Commission also found inadequate reporting and data collection. Six years
after the weapons were first authorized for use, the RCMP has never conducted a
cursory, let alone a comprehensive, review of deployment incidents. Current RCMP
policy for conducted energy weapon deployment has evolved without adequate
reference to the realities of its use by the RCMP.
The RCMP Commission’s recommendations included the following:
• The conducted energy weapon should be reclassified as an impact weapon,
allowing for use only when a subject is behaving combatively or posing a risk
of death or grievous bodily harm.
• When the subject appears to be experiencing the condition of “excited
delirium,” the conducted energy weapon should be used only when the
behaviour is combative or poses a risk of death or grievous bodily harm.

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• Officers should be re-certified in conducted energy weapon use every two
years.
• The RCMP should appoint a National Use of Force Coordinator.
• The RCMP should institute and enforce stricter reporting requirements on
conducted energy weapon use.
• The RCMP should produce quarterly and annual reports on the use of
conducted energy weapons.
• The RCMP should continue to be engaged in conducted energy weaponrelated research looking at medical, legal, and social aspects of the
weapon’s use.

6. RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)—Final Report—
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, June 12, 2008140
In the months following release of the RCMP Commission’s Interim Report, the RCMP
implemented several of the RCMP Commission’s recommendations, such as creation of
a National Use of Force Coordinator position and institution of annual re-certification
for officers using conducted energy weapons. However, the RCMP rejected the RCMP
Commission’s recommendation to reclassify the weapon from an intermediate device
to an impact weapon. Instead, it amended policy to authorize deployment against
subjects displaying active resistance or higher. The RCMP also maintained its position
that a conducted energy weapon is the best option to gain control over subjects
exhibiting symptoms of “excited delirium.”
In its Final Report, the RCMP Commission stated that the “principle of proportionality”
had guided its work. Central to the debate over conducted energy weapon use is the
principle that decisions around when to deploy the weapon should be based on the
principle of proportionality (i.e., the amount of force used should bear some
reasonable relationship to the threat the member is facing and its impact on public
safety). The RCMP Commission then articulated three continuing interrelated
concerns:

140 Canada. Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy
Weapon (CEW): Final Report (Ottawa: CPCRCMP, 2007), available at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/prr/
inv/cew-ai/cew_fin_rp-eng.aspx.

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• The inappropriate assessment of a subject’s behaviour has resulted in
elevating the level of intervention beyond what was acceptable according to
the RCMP’s use-of-force model;
• The position of the conducted energy weapon on the use-of-force model
permits deployment far too early in police encounters; and
• RCMP data collection and analysis practices for the conducted energy
weapon usage database are ineffective and inefficient.
The RCMP Commission undertook an extensive analysis of RCMP weapon usage, based
on its conducted energy weapon database. It identified 4,234 usage reports, but when
it attempted to match those reports to citizen complaints that the RCMP Commission
had received respecting inappropriate weapon deployment, it concluded that there
was extensive systemic under-reporting.141 Even when reports had been made, the
RCMP Commission concluded that the RCMP’s supervision to ensure proper weapon
deployment was faulty.
The RCMP Commission examined the policies in place in several Canadian, American,
and Commonwealth jurisdictions respecting the threshold of subject behaviour that
must be present before use of a conducted energy weapon is justified. While most
Canadian agencies classify the weapon as an “intermediate weapon” (in which case
use is justified in the face of active resistance), some agencies restrict the use of
these weapons to specialized units or higher-ranking officers. Internationally, several
Commonwealth jurisdictions require evidence of assaultive behaviour or serious
violence or threats. None of the policies reviewed by the RCMP Commission dealt
substantively with weapon deployment against vulnerable groups, although individuals
suffering from a mental illness and/or substance abuse represent a disproportionate
amount of police intervention and have an increased statistical likelihood of death.
The RCMP Commission’s recommendations included the following:

141 A mini-audit conducted to confirm the robustness and accuracy of the RCMP’s database showed that
of the 76 complaints received by the Commission pertaining to conducted energy weapon deployment,
only 24 incidents reports were located (i.e., 68 percent of incidents had not been reported). Further, no
reports were discovered for the 28 complaints relating to threatened conducted energy weapon
deployment.

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• The conducted energy weapon should be classified as an impact weapon, and
used only in situations where the subject is combative or poses a risk of
death or grievous bodily harm, and the same threshold should apply to
subjects who appear to be experiencing the condition of “excited delirium.”
• Officers who deploy a conducted energy weapon should in all circumstances
seek immediate medical attention for the subject.
• The RCMP should immediately implement clear operational guidelines around
conducted energy weapon use against at-risk populations.
• Conducted energy weapons may be used by specialized response teams
without restriction, but otherwise the use of such weapons should be
restricted as follows:
o In urban settings, conducted energy weapons should be used only by
officers with the rank of corporal or above; and
o In rural settings, such weapons should be used by constables only if
they have at least five years of operational experience.
• The RCMP must provide more robust reporting of conducted energy weapon
usage.
The RCMP Commission concluded that while the conducted energy weapon has a place
in the RCMP’s arsenal, it is conditional on the RCMP’s acceptance and implementation
of the RCMP Commission’s recommendations. If the RCMP cannot account for the use
of this weapon and properly instruct its members to deploy it appropriately in an
operational setting, then use of the weapon should be prohibited until proper and
strict accountability and training measures are fully implemented.

7. Study of the Conductive Energy Weapon—TASER—Standing Committee
on Public Safety and National Security, June 2008142
In November 2007, the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security (the “Standing Committee”) commenced a review of conducted
energy weapon technology, the effects of this technology on the health and safety of
persons subjected to it, its role in police work, and the guidelines governing its use by
the RCMP.
142 Canada. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Study of the Conductive Energy
Weapon—TASER® (Ottawa: Communications Canada, 2008), available at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/
Content/HOC/Committee/392/SECU/Reports/RP3582906/392_SECU_Rpt04_PDF/392_SECU_Rpt04-e.pdf.

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The Standing Committee travelled across the country, and heard from experts in
medicine, biomedical engineering, and ethics; from the manufacturer; from the
policing community; and from concerned community groups and individuals.
Consistent with information presented in other reports, the Standing Committee heard
evidence that no direct link between conducted energy weapons and death has been
established. It heard that “excited delirium” is a medical emergency necessitating
swift medical attention. Some witnesses advocated use of a conducted energy weapon
to defuse the situation and facilitate restraint of the subject, while others countered
that this response could precipitate a myocardial crisis.
The Standing Committee heard that while restraint methods have evolved over the
years, the characteristics of those dying in custody have not, and that a theory may
account for in-custody deaths, regardless of the restraint technique. According to this
theory, when individuals are experiencing “excited delirium” they have elevated
levels of adrenaline and potassium in their blood. As they become exhausted, the
potassium level drops suddenly while the adrenaline remains high, permitting the toxic
effects of increased adrenaline to induce arrhythmia.
Witnesses told the Standing Committee that an autopsy will not reveal whether there
has been cardiac arrhythmia or whether an electrical current has passed through the
body. It was also suggested that ventricular fibrillation is only probable when probes
are placed to bracket the heart, as experienced in swine studies. The Standing
Committee’s report notes, however, that it is generally agreed that the closer the
probes are to the heart, the greater the cardiac risk.
The Standing Committee outlined several shortcomings regarding usage regulations,
training, research transparency, and accountability. The Standing Committee found
that conducted energy weapon policy is too permissive in light of the concerns raised
in scientific research, recognized knowledge gaps, and the lack of independent, peerreviewed research. It also found deficiencies in mental health and addiction training,
and in the availability of mental health and addiction services to assist officers who

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are dealing with subjects apparently under the influence of drugs/alcohol or who are
suffering from mental illness.
The Standing Committee observed that current research is conducted in police circles,
and is neither independent nor peer reviewed. It is essential that independent
research be encouraged; a clear recognition of a need for scientific studies. It also
noted concerns surrounding the RCMP’s public accountability—the RCMP must meet a
high standard of transparency and accountability. For example, it was unacceptable
that the RCMP has not compiled and analyzed data on conducted energy weapon usage
since the weapon was introduced in 2001.
The Standing Committee’s recommendations included the following:
• The RCMP should reclassify the conducted energy weapon as an impact
weapon, limiting its use to situations where the subject is displaying
assaultive behaviour or is posing a threat of death or grievous bodily harm.
Further:
o This restriction should not be lifted until independent research
indicates that the use of the weapon does not pose unreasonable risk
to the subject, and
o If the RCMP does not implement this recommendation by December
2008, the Standing Committee will recommend to the House of
Commons an immediate moratorium on the RCMP’s use of conducted
energy weapons.
• The RCMP should revise its policy to include clear and strict usage guidelines
(as is the case for firearms) with clear restrictions on multiple discharges.
• The RCMP should improve the training of its members on mental health and
addiction issues.
• The RCMP should make use of psychiatric support staff to assist them when
an intervention is expected to involve a person suffering from mental illness
or drug addiction.
• The Government of Canada should:
o encourage three federally subsidized research councils to fund
scientific research into conducted energy weapon technology and
use-of-force methods; and
o commission independent scientific studies on conducted energy
weapon safety.

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• Statistics Canada should be given the mandate to create and manage
databases on in-custody deaths and on the use of conducted energy weapons
and other restraint methods.
• The RCMP should include in its annual report to Parliament data on the use of
conducted energy weapons and other use-of-force methods.

8. An Independent Review of the Adoption and Use of Conducted Energy
Weapons by the RCMP—Compliance Strategy Group, June 5, 2008143
Given the controversy surrounding the use of conducted energy weapons after the
death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport in October 2007, the
Commissioner of the RCMP ordered an independent review of the policy decisions
involved in adoption and deployment of the weapon, the validity and reliability of
information used to make these decisions, and the adequacy of the operational
procedures, training practices, and accountability mechanisms developed to ensure
effective and safe use of the weapon by members of the RCMP.
The researchers reviewed the decision-making processes that led to the RCMP’s
introduction of the weapon in 2001. One of the rationales was the fact that 80
percent of RCMP officers serve in rural or isolated areas, policing alone with limited
supervision resources and little or no backup. They were critical of the RCMP’s
incomplete literature review, over-reliance on information supplied by the
manufacturer, too much consideration given to anecdotal information from police
officers, and limited outside consultation.
Some of the issues discussed in the report include the following:
• Testing of conducted energy weapons—testing of the weapon appears to be
a major gap, in terms of implementation and accountability. No government
departments or agencies are responsible for ensuring that the weapon meets
the manufacturer’s specifications.
• Use-of-force model—because the situations police face are fluid and
volatile, there should be a greater focus on training officers in subjective
threat assessment, situation control, de-escalation techniques, and
143 Kiedrowski, John, An Independent Review of the Adoption and Use of Conducted Energy Weapons by
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Ottawa: Compliance Strategy Group, 2008). An executive summary is
available at http://www.RCMP-grc.gc.ca/ccaps-spcca/cew-ai/kiedrowski-report-rapport-eng.htm.

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determining appropriate sequential modes of response to threat cues and
situational constraints.
• Training—the relationship between the police services and the manufacturer
needs to be examined regarding transparency and accountability in matters
of training and standards for appropriate use. There is a need to coordinate
the approach to conducted energy weapon training and consult experts to
design and help develop the course material.
• Medical safety literature—one can reasonably conclude that there is no
inherent causal link between weapon application and serious injury in normal
healthy subjects. Nonetheless, there are genuine risks that need to be taken
into account. The existence of such risks does not necessitate prohibition of
the weapon, but the risks do call for the development of policies and
procedures based on an appropriate model of risk assessment and risk
management that would consider the imminence and gravity of possible harm
to officers, subjects, and bystanders.
• “Excited delirium”—the concept of “excited delirium” serves police
interests as an exculpatory explanatory device absolving officers of the
responsibility to use the least intrusive, least harmful means necessary to
protect the public and themselves.

9. The Use of the Conducted Energy Device by Law Enforcement Agencies
in Nova Scotia—Advisory Panel to the Minister of Justice, June 30,
2008144
In March 2008, the Nova Scotia Minister of Justice and Attorney General appointed an
advisory panel to review a report on conducted energy weapon use in the province,
and to advise the minister about future use of the weapon. The panel’s report
included discussion of the following issues:
• Safety of the conducted energy weapon—laboratory research on human
subjects has demonstrated no clinically significant or lasting changes in
cardiovascular or metabolic function, from which the panel concluded that
the risk of death or serious injury associated with use of the weapon is low.
However, the panel was concerned that some of the research was neither
independent nor methodologically sound. It recommended that the minister
appoint a panel of scientific experts to critically and systematically review,
annually, the new scientific evidence on weapon safety and recommend
policy changes that should be considered.
144 Nova Scotia. Dept. of Justice, Report of the Advisory Panel to the Minister of Justice on the Use of
the Conducted Energy Device by Law Enforcement Agencies in Nova Scotia (Halifax: The Dept., 2008),
available at http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/global_docs/CED_2_20080630.pdf.

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• Data regarding weapon use—many questions relevant to policy formulation
cannot be answered because there is no central depository of data.
The panel recommended creation of a provincial database to permit a
comprehensive review of all use-of-force incidents, and submission to a
national body of information on use-of-force incidents in all provinces and
territories.
• Assessment of use-of-force devices—the province should establish standards
for all use-of-force devices, and monitor emerging use-of-force technologies.
Federal, provincial, and territorial authorities should establish a mechanism
to ensure an independent, rigorous assessment of the risks and benefits of
any device to be used by law enforcement that has the potential for causing
harm.
• Appropriate use of the weapon—the department should examine the nature
of weapon use in the province, with a view to establishing a more
prescriptive set of provincial use-of-force standards and procedures. In the
interim, conducted energy weapon use should be restricted to situations of
“violent or aggressive resistance or active threat that may cause serious
injury” to the officer, subject, or public.
• “Excited delirium”—the panel does not believe it is useful to stipulate the
specific diagnosis for “excited delirium” in policy, but rather to define the
behaviour (i.e., agitated, aggressive, irrational conduct) as requiring
immediate medical attention. More research is needed to determine the
risks associated with various means of restraining individuals displaying these
symptoms, leading to the development of a training program for law
enforcement officers responding to individuals suffering from mental illness.
• Training—the department should establish a provincial use-of-force training
standard, ensure that all conducted energy weapon operators are certified
according to this standard, and conduct audits to ensure adherence to the
standard.
• Public accountability—a new provincial Law Enforcement Review
Commission should be established, to conduct hearings into complaints about
use of force, to audit law enforcement agencies’ use-of-force policies and
practices, and to report annually to the public on use of force.

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10. My Brother’s Keeper: A Review of Electronic Control Devices in
Saskatchewan Correctional Centres Housing Male Inmates—
Saskatchewan Ombudsman, July 29, 2008145
In November 2007, the Saskatchewan Ombudsman commenced a review of the Ministry
of Corrections’ use of conducted energy weapons in its adult male correctional
centres. He identified several concerns about research conducted to date, including
lack of rigorous and independent scientific/medical research about the effects of
these weapons on humans, the preponderance of research on animals whose results
cannot reliably be extrapolated to humans, and reliance on non-representative
subjects in human studies. He identified unknown factors and cautions associated
with weapon use, including lack of empirical data about the level of pain caused, the
acute and long-term psychological impacts, the risks of exposure to vulnerable groups,
and the cumulative effects of other non-lethal interventions (e.g., physical restraint)
in combination with weapon use.
The Ombudsman made 21 recommendations, including the following:
• Convene a multidisciplinary panel, including medical practitioners versed in
the potential effects of weapon technology, to review the available research,
paying special attention to the effects on vulnerable populations.
• Review the placement of the weapon in the ministry’s use-of-force
management model.
• If the ministry decides to authorize use of the weapon in correctional
centres:
o Place it in the impact weapon category.
o Provide training to its entire medical services staff (nurses and
doctors) about the technology and its potential health effects.
o Ensure that local community hospitals are provided with information
about the technology and its potential health effects.
o Express and articulate the number and duration of applications of
the X26 when used in stun mode.

145 Saskatchewan. Ombudsman, My Brother’s Keeper: A Review of Electronic Control Devices in
Saskatchewan Correctional Centres Housing Male Inmates (Regina: Ombudsman, 2008), available at
http://www.ombudsman.sk.ca/pdf/ECD%20Report.pdf.

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o Accurately document the conditions under which the weapon may be
used in presentation and stun modes.
o Specify initial cycle length, whether the initial cycle can be
interrupted or is to be continuous, and how many additional cycles
are allowed.

11. Report on Conducted Energy Weapons—Ontario Association of Chiefs of
Police, October 2008146
Representatives from 19 police services in Ontario, including the RCMP, attended a
one-day information session to canvass current organizational practices and to
consider a position that the association could advance regarding the use-of-force
threshold, deployment, public reporting, training, and common nomenclature.
Subsequently, the executive of the association made six recommendations:
• Use-of-force threshold—given that public acceptance of the weapon is
based on the understanding that it would only be used in more serious
circumstances, it recommended that member services adopt the assaultive
level of subject behaviour before the weapon may be deployed.
• Deployment—currently, weapons are issued only to uniformed platoon
supervisors, acting supervisors, and tactical officers. The association should
continue to advocate that the ministry authorize the expanded deployment
of the weapon to uniformed primary (first) respond constables.
• Accountability and reporting—in the interest of maintaining public
confidence, the association should recommend that, at a minimum, police
services publicly provide to their police services boards a statistical report on
the use of conducted energy weapons annually, and that the report include
the number of times the demonstrated force presence mode was used.
• Individual event reporting and data collection—the potential benefits of
collecting and reporting data on the usage of demonstrated force presence
was worth the effort, and the executive agreed to develop a sample weapon
report that police services could choose to use. The association should
recommend to police services that they collect and report on the number of
times the device was used in the demonstrated force presence mode.
• Training—the executive was comfortable with the manufacturer providing
training on the features, handling, functionality, and maintenance of the
weapon, but police services should deliver training on judgement, decision146 Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Report on Conducted Energy Weapons (Toronto: OACP, 2008),
available at http://www.oacp.ca/upload5/pdfs/ced_OACP_report_rev_jc__Final_.pdf.

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making, tactics, and the level of subject behaviour that justifies the use of
force. The executive found no value in trainees experiencing the effects of
the weapons, and would not endorse it. It recommended that the
association make recommendations to the ministry to harmonize the duration
and content of the weapon training and re-qualification curriculum.
• Nomenclature—the association and member services should avoid using the
brand name TASER, and use instead the generic term “conducted energy
weapon.”

12. Use of TASER Weapons by New South Wales Police Force—New South
Wales Ombudsman, November 2008147
The Ombudsman undertook this investigation into the use of conducted energy
weapons by officers of specialist units in the New South Wales Police Force five years
after the weapon was introduced. His purpose was to determine whether the policies,
procedures, and training requirements were appropriate and comprehensive, whether
weapon use was reasonable and effective, and whether weapon use complied with
legal and policy requirements.
The Ombudsman’s review of materials from Australia and overseas raised several
issues:
• There remains dissent in medical and scientific communities about whether
conducted energy weapons can cause irregular heart rhythms, including
ventricular fibrillation. While major studies have found that the risk of
danger to the heart is low in healthy adults, there is less certainty respecting
use of the weapon on people who may be particularly sensitive to exposure,
such as pregnant women, the young and elderly, people with pre-existing
medical conditions, and those affected by alcohol or drugs.
• There is no doubt that people have died after being subjected to weapon
application, but there is dispute about the role of the weapon in either
causing or contributing to these deaths.
• Weapon use is most appropriately limited to situations where a person’s
behaviour is, at a minimum, combative or aggressive. The police should deal
with people who are uncooperative or non-compliant (but not violent or
aggressive) by other, less forceful means.
147 New South Wales. Ombudsman, The Use of Taser Weapons by New South Wales Police Force (Sydney,
NSW: Ombudsman, 2008), available at http://www.nswombudsman.nsw.gov.au/publication/PDF/
specialreport/Special%20Report%20on%20use%20of%20Taser%20weapons%20by%20NSWPF.pdf.

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In New South Wales, authorized officers may use a conducted energy weapon to
protect human life; as a less lethal option for controlling people where violent
resistance or confrontation occurs or is imminent; if the officer is in danger of being
overpowered or to protect the officer or others from injury; or for protection against
animals. Following an analysis of the 48 occasions on which the weapon was deployed,
the Ombudsman concluded:
• Weapon use by specialist units to manage high-risk incidents has been
operating reasonably well.
• These weapons appear to have been a useful option for officers to achieve
effective resolution of dangerous and high-risk matters.
• He was not aware of any instances in which a weapon was used in clear
contravention of legal and policy requirements.
• In most instances weapons were used in a reasonable manner and an
effective resolution of the incident was achieved by the officers involved.
The Ombudsman made several recommendations, including the following:
• Education and training—the New South Wales Police Force is overly reliant
on information provided by the manufacturer. Further, officers should
receive further training on how to effectively back up and support an officer
who is deploying a weapon, and how to gain control of a situation if the
weapon does not operate effectively.
• Mental illness—officers should receive training about mental health issues,
including the most effective ways to communicate with people thought to be
suffering from mental illness, and the most effective ways to de-escalate
situations involving mentally ill people who are behaving in a violent or
aggressive manner.
• Subject behaviour threshold—officers should not be authorized to deploy a
conducted energy weapon against a person unless that person is violently
confronting or resisting police.
• Multiple deployments—officers should be given further guidance about when
it is and is not appropriate to subject a person to multiple or prolonged
weapon applications, if and when it is appropriate to deploy in drive-stun
mode, and more comprehensive information about potentially hazardous
environmental factors that must be considered.
• Vulnerable subjects—officers should receive further guidance about if and
when it is appropriate to subject the following people to a weapon
application: people with mental illness, children, pregnant women, elderly

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people, people affected by alcohol or drugs, people with a heart condition or
implanted defibrillators, and Indigenous Australians.
• Accountability—there should be regular download and auditing of weapon
data, comprehensive reporting by officers of each incident (including cases
when the weapon was only drawn, aimed, or sparked as a deterrent), and
annual reporting by the police force on weapon use.

13. Investigation of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Use of Conducted
Energy Devices—U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, August
2008148
Following its review of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office use of the conducted energy
weapon, the federal Department of Justice’s recommendations149 for policy
improvements included the following:
• The current standard of “active physical resistance” is an appropriate level
of subject behaviour. “Passive resistance,” which should be defined to
include persons who question an officer’s commands in a non-violent and
non-threatening manner, and persons who are non-violently participating in
public protest, is insufficient to justify use of the weapon.
• Flight alone should not be the sole justification for deployment of the
weapon. The officer should also consider the severity of the offence, any
immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others, and the ability of the
officer to arrest the subject safely without deployment of the weapon.
• Deployment against a subject who is handcuffed or otherwise restrained
should be prohibited, unless the subject is exhibiting aggressive physical
behaviour.
• Emergency medical personnel should be notified when it is anticipated that
the weapon will be deployed against a subject.
• In the absence of exigent circumstances, simultaneous deployment of more
than one conducted energy weapon against a subject should be prohibited.
• An officer should deploy the weapon for not more than one 5-second cycle
before stopping to evaluate the situation, and policy should state that a full
five-second deployment is often unnecessary to achieve compliance.
148 U.S. Dept. of Justice. Civil Rights Division, Investigation of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Use of
Conducted Energy Devices, (Washington: The Dept., 2008), available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/
split/documents/orangecty_ta_ltr.pdf.
149 Many of these recommendations are drawn from the Police Executive Research Forum’s Conducted
Energy Device Policy and Training Guidelines for Consideration, October 25, 2005, which is available at
http://www.policeforum.org/upload/PERF-CED-Guidelines-Updated-10-25-05%5B1%5D_715866088_1230
200514040.pdf.

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• In the absence of exigent circumstances, an officer should not employ
restraint techniques that will impair a subject’s respiration.
• While it may be appropriate to use the manufacturer’s training materials
when discussing the basic functions and operation mechanics of the weapon,
the sheriff’s office should create its own training materials, scenario-based
deployment and arrest drills, and testing procedures.
• Since the weapon is capable of inflicting great pain, and in rare instances is
capable of contributing to death or serious bodily injury, officers should be
trained to respect the weapon, with the same level of seriousness and
professionalism as during a firearms course.

14. Position Document on Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs)—Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police, and Canadian Police Association,
February 24, 2009150
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is formed of chiefs and senior
police executives in all provinces and territories in Canada. Its membership of over
1,000 includes police serving in national, provincial, regional, municipal, and First
Nations police agencies, as well as transportation and military police.
The Canadian Police Association (CPA) is the national centre for police labour
relations. It represents 57,000 police personnel serving in 170 police services across
Canada. It promotes the interests of front-line police personnel and the public, and
supports its members in improving their conditions in collective bargaining, education
and training, equipment, health and safety, and protecting members’ rights.
At a joint news conference held in Ottawa on February 24, 2009, the two associations
released a joint position document respecting conducted energy weapons that
included the following:
• There is a risk associated with an officer’s use of any force, which the police
mitigate through effective policies, training, and use-of-force options.
• Conducted energy weapons are “intermediate weapons.” They are a
valuable use-of-force option available to police officers to reduce the risk of
injury or death, and are not intended as a substitute for lethal force.
150 Canadian Police Association and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Position Document on
Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs), (Toronto: CPA, 2009), available at https://www.cacp.ca/media/
news/download/674/CPA_position_on_CEW_en.pdf.

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• Conducted energy weapons are intended for use in situations where there is
an imminent need for control and other options have been precluded, either
because they were ineffective or would be inappropriate given the totality of
circumstances in the situation.
• All police officers should be authorized to carry a conducted energy weapon.
At the news conference, the vice-president of the CACP stated that both associations
have been actively engaged in examining the usage and effects of conducted energy
weapons, and have reviewed the most current literature and research findings from
technical and health perspectives. They took the step of releasing this position
document out of concern that inaccurate and incomplete information is circulating in
the media relating to the use of this weapon by police:
It is our view that the public may not understand how police make decisions on
when to use force, and what the use-of-force options are that are available to
police. The conducted energy weapon is only one tool among many, but it is a
very valuable public safety tool for the community and police officers.151
The president of the CPA stated that an officer makes the decision to deploy a
conducted energy weapon after assessing the totality of the situation—that is, what
has happened in the minutes leading up to the situation, any known mental health
issues, proximity of other people, and many other factors. What the public bystander
sees is usually not the whole picture. He added:
The bottom line is that conducted energy weapons save lives. They enhance
public safety and officer safety. It is our position that all police officers should
be authorized to carry a conducted energy weapon. They should also be
provided regular and adequate use-of-force training on the use of these
weapons and other use-of-force options, to ensure that all officers understand
and are competent in the application of force at all levels.152
The representatives spoke in favour of moving toward a consistent reporting system
for conducted energy weapon use, and for a national standard for the methodology
and equipment to test weapons, to determine whether they are performing to the
manufacturer’s specifications.

151 Ibid.
152 Ibid.

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Medical Risks

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A.

INTRODUCTION .................................................................. 217

B.

CARDIAC RISKS................................................................... 219
1.

2.

Immediate cardiac risks ................................................................219
a.
Ventricular fibrillation .......................................................219
b.
Myocardial infarction (heart attack) .......................................235
c.
Pacemakers and defibrillators...............................................237
d.
Blood pressure .................................................................239
Delayed cardiac risks....................................................................240

C.

RESPIRATORY RISKS............................................................. 242

D.

METABOLIC RISKS ............................................................... 245

E.

MENTAL ILLNESS................................................................. 246
1.
2.

3.

F.

SUBJECTS WITH OTHER VULNERABILITIES................................... 264
1.
2.
3.

G.

Police as first responders...............................................................246
What psychiatrists and other medical experts told me............................248
a.
Dr. Shaohua Lu .................................................................248
b.
Dr. Joseph Noone ..............................................................252
c.
Dr. Maelor Vallance ...........................................................255
d.
Dr. John Butt ...................................................................257
e.
Dr. Christine Hall ..............................................................258
f.
Dr. Michael Webster ..........................................................259
g.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division........................260
Conclusions ...............................................................................262

Young and/or physically small subjects..............................................264
Elderly subjects ..........................................................................265
Pregnant women .........................................................................265

RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HOW THE WEAPON IS USED ..................... 266
1.
2.

External circumstances .................................................................266
Mode of deployment ....................................................................266
a.
Push-stun mode ................................................................266

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3.

H.

THE IMPACT OF WEAPON USE ON INJURIES AND FATALITIES ............. 272
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

216

b.
Probe mode.....................................................................267
Repetitive deployment .................................................................268

Introduction ..............................................................................272
The experience in British Columbia ..................................................272
Canadian studies.........................................................................276
International studies ....................................................................276
Deaths .....................................................................................279
Observations ............................................................................. 283

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A. INTRODUCTION
Since 2003, eight people have died in British Columbia after a conducted energy
weapon was deployed against them. Six of these died in municipalities policed by the
RCMP, while two died in the city of Vancouver. In Canada as a whole, 25 have died,
nine of whom have died since Robert Dziekanski died at the Vancouver International
Airport on October 14, 2007. All 25 died either at the scene or soon thereafter, in
police custody or while hospitalized.
According to Amnesty International, more than 300 people have died in similar
circumstances in the United States.153
The manufacturer has steadfastly maintained that its weapons are not responsible for
these deaths. For example, when a Calgary man died in early November 2008 after a
conducted energy weapon was deployed against him, the manufacturer’s vicepresident for communications was quoted as saying, “Not one coroner in Canada has
ruled any death was caused by a Taser device or even contributory to date.”154
And yet, well over 300 people have died in North America in what has become known
as “death proximate to TASER use.” A scenario that repeats itself with troubling
regularity finds a highly agitated and combative man who is unresponsive to an
officer’s commands subjected to one or more cycles of a conducted energy weapon.
The man falls to the ground and, while incapacitated, officers restrain and handcuff
him. Shortly thereafter the man lapses into unconsciousness, cannot be resuscitated,
and is pronounced dead at the scene or upon arrival at the hospital.
When it is suggested that the conducted energy weapon caused the death, the
manufacturer and local police force will frequently observe, correctly, that no
physical evidence was found during the autopsy suggesting that the weapon’s

153 Oral submission by Hilary Homes during the Commission’s public forums. Transcript, May 15, 2008,
p. 31.
154 As quoted in “Taser reaction ‘near insanity’; Company vice-president says concerns over stun-gun
safety overblown.” The Calgary Sun, Wednesday, November 5, 2008, byline by Nadia Moharib, Sun Media.

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electrical current triggered a heart attack or other cardiac or respiratory malfunction
causing or contributing to the death. Rather, it may be suggested, death may be
attributable to a phenomenon called “excited delirium,” that could have been brought
on by a pre-existing mental illness and/or drug usage.
In such cases, the official cause of death is often ambiguous, police forces continue to
deploy conducted energy weapons, and people keep dying. The debate rages on about
whether conducted energy weapons are safe, or whether they should be banned or at
least have a moratorium placed on their use until their safety can be established.
Because they transmit an electrical current into the body of the subject, conducted
energy weapons occupy a unique position in the range of weapons available to police
officers. They are clearly less lethal than firearms, yet the incidence of deaths
proximate to their use suggests that they are potentially more lethal than more
traditional intermediate weapons, such as batons, oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray,
or rubber bullets.
Their uniqueness, coupled with the controversy stemming from so many proximate
deaths, has attracted the professional attention of scientific and medical researchers,
who seek answers to questions such as, “Can the electrical current interfere with the
subject’s cardiac or respiratory systems?” “If so, can that interference cause or
contribute to death?” “If so, can we ascertain the risk?”
Those are precisely the questions that legislators, policy-makers, and police forces
need answered in order to decide the circumstances, if any, in which conducted
energy weapon use should be authorized.
In this part, I will discuss the medical and scientific research that has been done in
Canada and internationally on conducted energy weapons, and summarize what we
know and do not yet know about the risks associated with their use. I profess no
special expertise in this highly technical area. I am indebted to the many experts
from across North America who made presentations during our public forums, and to
our Commission’s medical researchers (under the guidance of Dr. Keith Chambers),

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who undertook an exhaustive survey of the international academic literature. In the
interests of transparency and to foster further understanding of these complex issues,
a full bibliography of the literature surveyed is included in Appendix C and the
complete text of those experts’ presentations is available on the Commission’s
website.

B. CARDIAC RISKS
1. Immediate cardiac risks
a. Ventricular fibrillation
If conducted energy weapons cause or contribute to death, the most likely ultimate
mechanism by which that occurs is ventricular fibrillation. The two lower chambers of
the heart are the left and right ventricles. In order to sustain cardiac output for life,
these bottom chambers of the heart need to contract in a regular, synchronized
manner (i.e., sinus rhythm). Ventricular fibrillation is a chaotic rhythm of these
bottom chambers in which, according to Dr. Tseng,155 the heart is not contracting, it is
not pumping, it is just writhing in a discoordinated fashion—“the heart wriggles like a
bag of worms.” According to Dr. Kerr,156 ventricular fibrillation causes the heart to
beat at 200−300 beats per minute. The person will lose blood pressure, lose
consciousness, and collapse within five to ten seconds. Dr. Tseng told me that this
type of sudden cardiac death kills up to 450,000 Americans annually. It is universally
fatal unless the rhythm is defibrillated into normal cardiac rhythm. One study
determined that if defibrillation did not occur within two to four minutes, 50 percent
of subjects suffered irreversible brain death. If defibrillation did not occur within 10
minutes, death was almost universal.
Ventricular fibrillation is caused by a disruption in the normal electrical current going
to the heart muscle. This disruption can have an internal or external source. The
155 Transcript, May 9, 2008, p. 5.
156 Transcript, May 20, 2008, pp. 1-20.

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disruption is most frequently internal, typically in people with heart disease. For
example, a person who has had major heart attacks in the past will develop scar tissue
in their heart and, when a stimulus is at a particular stage in the cardiac cycle, the
electrical signal cannot go one way around the heart. It goes the other way, circles
around the scar tissue and creates a very fast hemodynamically unstable rhythm,
ventricular tachycardia, which may lead to ventricular fibrillation. It can also arise in
people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (where the walls of the heart get very thick)
or other congenital forms of heart disease.
Disruptions from an external source can be accidental or intentional. Electrocutions
from household electrical current or from lightning are typical accidental external
sources. So too are mechanical traumas to the chest wall, known as commotio cordis.
For example, if a hockey puck or baseball strikes the chest at a vulnerable time during
the heartbeat cycle, a healthy athlete may die suddenly from ventricular fibrillation.
Of particular interest to this Commission is the intentional external disruption of these
electrical signals. Dr. Kerr and Dr. Tseng are both experienced cardiologists and
electrophysiologists who devote much of their professional careers to installing
pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators into patients’ chests. These
defibrillators have a wire leading down into the heart. When the patient develops a
life-threatening arrhythmia, the defibrillator will either pace the heart very rapidly
and stop the arrhythmia, or shock the heart in order to bring the rhythm back to
normal.
Dr. Kerr told me that they implant these defibrillators on an almost daily basis. In
every case, they need to test it to ensure that it is working properly. They do this by
intentionally inducing ventricular fibrillation through the introduction of tiny electrical
shocks at the most vulnerable period of the cardiac cycle. The defibrillator recognizes
the rapid beating as ventricular fibrillation, charges up its capacitors, and introduces
an electrical shock to terminate the fibrillation.

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According to Dr. Kerr, if a person is shocked externally, between 5 and 10 joules
would be required in order to bring on ventricular fibrillation. However, in the case of
an internal shock, only 0.2 to 0.5 joules is required.
Dr. Tseng explained the importance of timing, when a cardiologist intentionally
induces ventricular fibrillation, by saying that a normal heartbeat can be divided into
several discrete phases:
• P-wave—this represents contraction of the upper chambers of the heart
(atria), which take blood from the veins of the body and feed the ventricles;
• QRS—this represents contraction of the ventricles, ejecting blood from the
heart into the rest of the body or the lungs;
• QT—this represents the period of re-polarization, or electrical recovery of
the ventricles; and
• T-wave—this represents the peak of this recovery period. The peak of the Twave, which accounts for approximately 3 percent of the entire cycle, is the
most vulnerable period. To induce ventricular fibrillation, a cardiologist
delivers the electric shock at the peak of the T-wave.
i.

Risks to subjects with healthy hearts

With that basic introduction to ventricular fibrillation, I turn now to an examination of
whether the electrical current emitted from a conducted energy weapon is capable of
inducing ventricular fibrillation and, if so, in what circumstances.157
In the discussion that follows, I will focus on deployment of conducted energy weapons
in probe mode, in which two barbed darts are fired from the weapon become
imbedded in the subject or their clothing, and a five-second pulsed electrical current
is introduced to the subject's body via wires connecting the weapon to the barbs.
As I discussed in Part 3, the X26 conducted energy weapon delivers 19 electrical pulses
per second, each pulse lasting for 80-100 millionths of a second. According to
Mr. Reilly, the weapon has a peak output current of 3 amperes (i.e., a measure of the

157 While most of the research to date has focused on the direct effect of a conducted energy weapon’s
electrical current in triggering ventricular fibrillation, there are other possible mechanisms that may be
more causative, such as the possibility of a heightened adrenergic state causing ventricular fibrillation, or
some other arrhythmia, such as bradycardia.

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actual amperage during a pulse), and has a “delivered charge” for each pulse of
approximately 100 micro-coulombs (100 millionths of a coulomb).
Several controlled laboratory experiments on pigs have focused on whether the
electrical current from conducted energy weapons causes ventricular fibrillation:
• McDaniel et al.158—10 anesthetized pigs were subjected to five-second pulses
discharged across the thorax from a custom-built device designed to deliver a
discharge matching the waveform characteristics of the X26. The charge was
increased until ventricular fibrillation was induced, at which point a
decreasing series of discharges were applied until ventricular fibrillation was
no longer induced by five discharges of equal charge. The researchers
defined the maximum safe level as the highest discharge that could be
applied five times without induction of ventricular fibrillation, from which a
safety index was calculated. They calculated that a discharge that could
induce ventricular fibrillation required at least 15 times the charge of the
standard X26 discharge, increasing to 42 times in the case of increasingly
heavy pigs. They concluded that the study confirmed the cardiac safety of
such devices, that such devices may be safely applied multiple times if
needed, and that discharge levels indicate an extremely low probability of
inducing ventricular fibrillation.
• Lakkireddy et al.159—five anesthetized adult pigs were subjected to a series
of discharges at increasing levels of charge, to determine at what level
ventricular fibrillation would be induced. Electrodes were placed at five
different locations on the thorax and back. After baseline testing, high-dose
cocaine was infused intravenously. Researchers found that standard
discharges (i.e., at X26 level) did not cause ventricular fibrillation in any of
the pigs at any of the five electrode locations, before or after cocaine
infusion. However, they identified ventricular capture with electrodes placed
nearest the heart, which suggests that the discharge may have overridden
the heart’s normal electrical current. The risk of ventricular fibrillation
decreased as the electrodes were placed further and further away from the
heart, and also decreased with cocaine infusion.
• Nanthakumar160—six anesthetized pigs were subjected to a total of 150
discharges from actual X26 and M26 weapons, in which the probes were
placed either over the heart or the abdomen. Previous researchers had been
158 McDaniel, W.C., et al., "Cardiac Safety of Neuromuscular Incapacitating Defensive Devices," (2005),
28 Supplement 1 PACE S284.
159 Lakkireddy, D., et aI., "Effects of Cocaine Intoxication on the Threshold for Stun Gun Induction of
Ventricular Fibrillation," (2006) 48 J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 805.
160 Nanthakumar, K., et al., "Cardiac Electrophysiological Consequences of Neuromuscular
Incapacitating Device Discharges," (2006) 48 J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 798.

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unable to record electrical signals within the heart during the discharge,
because the electrical “noise” from the weapon overwhelmed the
electrocardiogram. To remedy that significant deficiency, these researchers
inserted bipolar recording catheters into the right ventricle, and a blood
pressure catheter was positioned in the descending aorta. They found that of
the 94 discharges over the heart, blood pressure dropped to zero, and there
was stimulation of the myocardium in 74 cases (79 percent), with a mean
ventricular rate during stimulation and capture of 324 beats per minute.
However, of the 56 discharges over the abdomen, there were no instances of
myocardium stimulation. Put more simply, standard weapon discharge over
the heart induced ventricular tachycardia (a precursor to ventricular
fibrillation) four times out of five, but never in the case of discharge over the
abdomen. In an attempt to simulate an excited state in these anesthetized
pigs, the researchers infused them with epinephrine (adrenaline). In 16
discharges, there were 13 episodes of stimulation of the myocardium,
including one case of ventricular fibrillation.
• Dennis161—six anesthetized pigs were subjected to two 40-second discharges
from an X26 weapon. Dart placement traversed the left thorax. To assess the
rhythm and function of the myocardium, echocardiography was performed.
Two animals died from ventricular fibrillation, and most of the others
“showed capture of ventricular rhythm with rapid ventricular contractions
seen on echo consistent with ventricular tachycardia (approximate rate of
300 bpm).” The researchers stated that their observations were in general
agreement with those of Nanthakumar, discussed above.
• Walter162—the same team of researchers as in Dennis subjected eight
anesthetized pigs to two 40-second discharges from an X26 weapon, with the
darts placed along a transcardiac vector. The pigs were monitored with an
ECG and echocardiography. All eight animals showed rapid cardiac rhythm
and significant decline in systolic function that was consistent with
ventricular fibrillation/flutter (301 beats per minute). One animal died from
ventricular fibrillation, while two others experienced ventricular
tachycardia/flutter, which reverted spontaneously to a normal rhythm within
17 seconds of cessation of the discharge. The researchers concluded that
ventricular tachycardia/flutter occurs immediately upon starting the weapon
discharge and invariably in all animals regardless of body mass, using darts
more than 5 cm from the heart. Consequently, there is no safety factor for
ventricular tachycardia, and a moderate likelihood of fatal ventricular
fibrillation (one in eight animals tested) with the transcardiac vector used in
this study.
161 Dennis, A. J., et al., "Acute Effects of TASER X26 Discharges in a Swine Model," (2007), 63 TRAUMA
581.
162 Walter, R.J., et al., “TASER X26 Discharges in Swine Produce Potentially Fatal Ventricular
Arrhythmias,” (2008) 15 Acad. Emerg. Med. 66.

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• Webster163—some researchers questioned whether pig study results could be
extrapolated to humans, because pigs (but not humans) have a thick band of
muscles across the chest that may affect electrical conductivity. To address
this concern, these researchers modified dart placement. In their first study
of 10 anesthetized pigs, a dart was inserted into the chest and, after each
X26 discharge, the dart was moved closer to the heart. They determined
that, on average, ventricular fibrillation occurred when the dart was 17 mm
from the heart. In their second study (which eliminated a gel that had been
applied to fill the air gap around the dart plunger), they determined that
ventricular fibrillation occurred, on average, when the dart was about 6 mm
from the heart. Mr. Webster told me that “if a 9 mm dart goes into a human
that has 11 mm distance [between skin and heart], these data suggest that
under those conditions the human would be electrocuted.”164 He stressed
that the dart would have to land in a very small area of the chest, between
the ribs. The researchers undertook a statistical analysis of several variables
(including real-life dart placement locations based on data provided from the
manufacturer and variations in skin-to-heart distances in the general
population), from which they concluded that the probability of ventricular
fibrillation from use of a conducted energy weapon was about six in a
million. Mr. Webster also told me that during their testing many discharges
caused ventricular tachycardia (rapid heartbeats in an abnormal rhythm),
that were resolved either by returning to normal or progressing to ventricular
fibrillation several minutes later.
While researchers often rely on animal studies because of ethical objections to
experiments on humans (and prefer using pigs because of their anatomical and
physiological similarities to humans), they readily acknowledge the inherent
limitations in pig studies because of crucial anatomical and electrophysiological
differences between pigs and humans, which calls for caution in making extrapolations
to humans. For that reason, attempts have been made to study the effect of
conducted energy weapons on humans, in ethically acceptable settings.
Dr. Jeffrey Ho, a specialist in emergency medicine, made a presentation at our public
forums. He told me that he has conducted several studies on the effect of conducted
energy weapons on human volunteers:

163 John G. Webster, Transcript, May 5, 2008, p. 62.
164 Ibid., p. 68.

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• In a 2006 study,165 they sought to determine if there was evidence of induced
electrical dysrhythmia or direct cellular damage that would indicate a causal
relationship between application of an X26 and in-custody death. Sixty-six
adult volunteers recruited at a TASER International training course were
subjected to one 5-second discharge in their backs from an X26. Thirty-two
of them underwent electrocardiographic evaluation immediately before and
after (but not during) the discharge, and 16 and 24 hours later. They found
that the weapon discharge did not affect the recordable cardiac electrical
activity within the 24-hour period.
• In a 2007 study,166 a baseline electrocardiogram was obtained from 25 adult
volunteers, who were then put through a physical regimen of push-ups and
treadmill sprints to simulate the physical exertion often seen in real-life
scenarios. They then received a continuous 15-second discharge from an X26
on their thoraces, either in their front or in their back. Electrode positions
involved at least a 12-inch spread and always encompassed the normal
anatomic position of the heart. An electrocardiogram was obtained after
exposure. They found that in all cases, exposure did not cause a detectable
change in the electrocardiogram.
• In a 2008 study,167 the researchers noted that some animal model research
supported the hypothesis that conducted energy weapons can cause
dangerous cardiac rhythms, recording supposed cardiac capture rates of 300
beats per minute. They attempted to recreate these animal research
conditions in humans. The study involved 33 human volunteers recruited at
several TASER International training courses in 2007. They underwent
echocardiography before, during, and after 10-second X26 applications, with
thoracic skin surface electrodes placed in the optimal cardiac axis position
(upper right sternum and cardiac apex as estimated by the palpated point of
maximal impulse). Ultrasound images were analyzed using M-mode through
the anterior leaflet of the mitral valve for evidence of arrhythmia. Although
the mean heart rate increased from 109 to 120 beats per minute during
exposure, no adverse events were recorded. Sinus rhythm was clearly
demonstrated in 21 of 33 subjects during exposure, but not in the other 12
due to movement artifact. There were no episodes of ventricular
tachyarrhythmia. The authors noted that there have been over 700,000
conducted energy weapon discharges during the manufacturer’s training
classes, with no reported collapses, cardiac arrests, or fatalities, from which
165 Ho, J., et al., "Cardiovascular and Physiologic Effects of Conducted Electrical Weapon Discharge in
Resting Adults," (2006) Acad. Emerg. Med. I.
166 Ho, J., et al., "Absence of Electrocardiographic Change Following Prolonged Application of a
Conducted Electrical Weapon in Physically Exhausted Adults," (2007) SAEM Annual Meeting Abstracts #322,
p. S128.
167 Ho, J., et al., “Echocardiographic Evaluation of a TASER-X26 Application in the Ideal Human Cardiac
Axis,” (2008) 15 Acad. Emerg. Med. 838.

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they concluded, “the possibility of [conducted energy weapon] induced
arrhythmia seems extremely unlikely.”
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Emergency
Medicine have conducted several human tests:
• Levine168—105 adult volunteer law enforcement officers were subjected to a
single X26 discharge of up to five seconds (average shock duration was three
seconds) into their backs. The researchers concluded that “a significant
increase in heart rate was found after a brief shock … [but] there were no
other identified cardiac rhythm disturbances or morphology changes except
for a few subjects who appeared to have QT changes, the significance of
which is unclear.”
• Vilke169—32 healthy police volunteers were subjected to an X26 discharge of
up to five seconds (average was 2.1 seconds). Alligator clips were attached
to each subject’s clothing instead of the weapon’s normal barbs, and the
report does not specify whether they were attached in the chest or back
area. An ECG was taken five minutes before exposure and one minute after
exposure, but not during exposure. There was an increase of 2.4 beats per
minute in mean heart rate, but there were no instances of dysrhythmia or
ectopy for any subject. The researchers concluded that “we found no
clinically significant changes in cardiac interval changes, including QTc, PR,
or QRS immediately after a TASER activation.”
During our public forums, Dr. Tseng told me about a reported case170 in which a prison
inmate with a pacemaker implanted in his left chest was subjected to a conducted
energy weapon discharge into his right chest area. When the pacemaker data was
analyzed, there was clear evidence of weapon-induced myocardial capture—two high
ventricular rate episodes (240 beats per minute) corresponding to the exact time of
the weapon application.171 Dr. Tseng said that in the case of implanted defibrillators,
there is a risk that the defibrillator may interpret the weapon’s pulses as abnormal

168 Levine, S.D., et al., “Cardiac Monitoring of Human Subjects Exposed to the TASER,” (2007) 33 J.
Emerg. Med. 113.
169 Vilke, G.M., et al., “Twelve-lead Electrocardiogram Monitoring of Subjects Before and After
Voluntary Exposure to the TASER X26,” (2008) 26 Am. J. Emerg. Med. 1.
170 Cao, M., et al., “TASER-Induced Rapid Ventricular Myocardial Capture Demonstrated by Pacemaker
Intracardiac Electrograms,” (2007) 18 J. Cardio. Electro. 876.
171 Drs. Tseng and Kerr cautioned that one cannot be sure from the data available in this case whether
the pulse from the weapon stimulated the heart directly, or whether the electrical charge from the
weapon collected on the wire running from the pacemaker into the heart and ran down the wire to
stimulate the heart.

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cardiac rhythm, and may shock the patient because of the weapon, not because of any
dangerous heart rhythm.
From this review, I have drawn several conclusions.
First, there can be no doubt that an external electrical current can overtake the
human body’s internal electrical system, resulting in ventricular capture, which may
lead to ventricular tachycardia and, in some cases, ventricular fibrillation.
Cardiologists routinely introduce small electrical shocks for the purpose of triggering
ventricular fibrillation, in order to test newly implanted defibrillators.
Second, there is some evidence that the electrical current from a conducted energy
weapon is capable of triggering ventricular capture. The real-life example of a man
with a pacemaker having a conducted energy weapon applied against him, resulting in
myocardial capture corresponding exactly to the timing of the weapon’s pulses, is
persuasive evidence that the weapon’s electrical current can override the heart.
Third, human studies conducted to date, by researchers such as Drs. Ho, Levine, and
Vilke, have not yielded evidence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. However, I am
reluctant to generalize from their studies, for several reasons. They frequently
applied the electrical shock to the subject’s back as opposed to the chest area,
clipped the electrodes to the subject’s clothing or taped them to the skin rather than
using barbs that penetrate the skin, and in some cases restricted the discharge to 2−3
seconds. More importantly, most of those studies were not capable of ascertaining
whether there was an arrhythmia during the weapon’s discharge. In one study, the
researchers were able to determine that 21 subjects who were monitored by
echocardiography had normal heart rhythms during discharge, but that is far too small
a sample from which to draw conclusions about whether a weapon is capable of
causing ventricular capture and, if so, how frequently.
Fourth, we do know from several animal studies that a conducted energy weapon’s
discharge can trigger ventricular tachycardia and/or fibrillation in pigs. I approach
these studies with caution, recognizing the differences between pigs and humans.

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Having said that, I am satisfied that it is safe to draw several conclusions from these
studies that can be extrapolated to humans. First, the greatest risk of ventricular
fibrillation arises when the probes are vectored across the heart. Second, the risk of
ventricular fibrillation increases as the tips of the probes get closer to the wall of the
heart.
Fifth, I am satisfied that there is a short “window” during the heart’s normal beat
cycle (the T-wave), when the heart is most vulnerable to an external electrical shock.
Fibrillation is known to occur when athletes receive a blow to the sternum during the
T-wave, and when cardiologists test newly implanted defibrillators, they time their
electrical charge to coincide with the T-wave.
Sixth, while induction of ventricular fibrillation may be dependent on timing of
discharges within the vulnerable period of the cardiac cycle, that “narrow window”
does not apply to rapid ventricular capture causing ventricular tachycardia, a
hemodynamically unstable rhythm which may degenerate into ventricular fibrillation.
Death in these circumstances may not be immediate. Ventricular tachycardia is not
dependent on timing within the cardiac cycle—discharges at almost any time in the
cardiac cycle can capture the heart to cause ventricular tachycardia.
Seventh, while I have concluded that a conducted energy weapon is capable of
triggering ventricular capture that may lead to ventricular tachycardia and/or
fibrillation, I do not have enough information to quantify that risk with any degree of
precision. Further, the risk appears to vary, depending on several factors, which I will
discuss later in this part.
Eighth, in deaths proximate to use of a conducted energy weapon, there is often a
lack of physical evidence on autopsy to determine whether arrhythmia was the cause
of death, which opens the door to debate about whether the weapon or some preexisting medical condition was responsible. While alcohol or drug intoxication may
complicate the pathological analysis in some cases, other explanations must be found
in cases where alcohol or drugs were not involved. Several medical experts who made

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oral presentations during our public hearings emphasized that there must be some
explanation for these sudden deaths:
• Dr. Charles Kerr—“But the one thing I think is clear is that people have had
cardiac arrests, and the majority of times there’s no obvious structural heart
disease or other cause of death, no bleeding or head trauma. And if
somebody dies suddenly and no obvious cause, that is almost certainly an
arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm, either an excessively fast abnormal
heart rhythm or a slow one.”172
• Dr. Zian Tseng—“If you see no finding on an autopsy that supports a related
arrhythmic death. If there’s a person that dropped dead suddenly after
TASER application and you can find nothing else on autopsy, I would venture
to say that that’s due to an arrhythmic death.”173
• Dr. Michael Janusz—“If someone is tasered in the front of the chest and
immediately falls to the ground and is unresponsive, it is almost certainly
ventricular fibrillation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation
are required.”174
Before moving on to an examination of circumstances in which the risk may increase, I
would like to comment on a statistic cited by one of the medical researchers, that
there have been over 700,000 conducted energy weapon discharges during the
manufacturer’s training classes, with no reported collapses, cardiac arrests, or
fatalities. On its face, this is an impressive record of safety. However, I approach this
data with caution for the following reason. The information before me points to the
capacity of a conducted energy weapon to cause heart arrhythmia even in healthy
adults, but the risk varies depending on the existence of several factors, such as the
location of the probes (i.e., across the heart), the timing of the discharge (i.e., during
the T-wave), the proximity of the tip of the probe to the heart wall, and the duration
of the discharge.
As the animal studies have shown, the likelihood of triggering ventricular fibrillation
increases dramatically as some of these variables are manipulated. It follows that the
converse is true as well, and the risk of ventricular fibrillation decreases if, for

172 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 18.
173 Transcript, May 9, 2008, p. 27.
174 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 25.

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example, the probes are kept away from the heart and the duration of the discharge is
shortened. The dilemma facing researchers using human subjects is to obtain useful
data without exposing their volunteers to undue risk. Similarly, those who deploy
weapons against police officers during training want to give their subjects a real-life
experience, without exposing them to undue risk. Consequently, it is not surprising
that the manufacturer has published guidelines175 for how its weapons should be
deployed during instructor training, which include the following:
• The actual barb and probe body is removed, and the ends of the wires are
taped to the volunteer’s body;
• The two wires are taped to parts of the body distant from the heart, such as
a foot and hip, a shoulder and hip or the upper and lower back; and
• The weapon is discharged for 1−2 seconds, which is “ample enough time to
experience the effects first hand.”
I understand entirely the reasons for this precautionary approach—giving police
officers an opportunity to experience the weapon’s discharge, but according to a
protocol that minimizes the risk of triggering a cardiac arrhythmia. But it is this very
protocol that makes the resulting data of very limited value when ascertaining the
weapon’s capacity to cause harm. The protocol deliberately excludes the very factors
that create the risk, such as avoiding a vector across the heart, not allowing the
probes to deploy into the chest area (which would reduce the probe tip-to-heart
distance), and shortening the duration of the discharge.
This data does suggest that the risk of ventricular fibrillation can be reduced, and
perhaps even eliminated, if probes are kept away from the heart and attached to the
surface of the skin, and if the duration of the discharge is reduced to less than half of
the standard five-second cycle. But I do not find this data of any assistance when
considering the capacity of a conducted energy weapon to trigger cardiac arrhythmia.

175 TASER International Instructor Training Bulletin, “Mandatory Hits with the ADVANCED TASER,” M26
Instructor course materials, Version 11.

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ii.

Circumstances in which the risk may increase

Heart disease
Several cardiologists told me that people with cardiovascular disease are at a
significantly higher risk of ventricular fibrillation. Dr. Janusz said:
It is really quite difficult to cause a normal heart to fibrillate. When we have
the chest open at surgery, you can pick the heart up, look at the vessels on the
back, touch it with your hand, touch it with the cautery. It’ll have the odd
extra beat but that doesn’t cause any problem. By contrast, in a really sick
heart, we are very cautious to avoid touching the ventricle until we are on
bypass so that it will have the support of the circulation in case it fibrillates.176
To the same effect, Dr. Kerr explained that scar tissue formed by previous heart
attacks could cause abnormal circular “re-entry” currents that travel around the heart
instead of from top to bottom, potentially causing disorganized rhythms leading to
ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation.
I also learned that the shock and intense pain that a subject experiences when a
conducted energy weapon is discharged is more dangerous when the subject has
cardiovascular disease, because the heart may beat faster and more forcefully, placing
greater strain on the heart wall. People with chronic high blood pressure may undergo
a dramatic increase in blood pressure, leading to ventricular fibrillation. People with
weakly pumping hearts (e.g., congestive heart failure) may be unable to tolerate the
faster heartbeat for long, with the same outcome.
Heart disease not only increases the risk of ventricular fibrillation, but also affects
resuscitation. Dr. Janusz states, “Unfortunately, patients with underlying heart
disease will also be the most difficult to resuscitate after ventricular fibrillation.”177
In light of this medical evidence, it is not surprising that in 2007 the manufacturer
published a product warning that stated in part:
Avoid Known Pre-Existing Injury Areas—when practical, avoid deploying a
TASER device at a known location of a pre-existing injury (e.g., avoid targeting
176 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 23.
177 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 24.

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… the chest area on persons with a known history of previous heart attacks,
etc.). These injuries may be provoked by such deployment.178
However, the April 28, 2008, version of this product warning removed any specific
reference to cardiac risks, cautioning users only that “when practical, avoid deploying
or using a TASER device on a known area or location of pre-existing injury without
legal justification. Pre-existing injuries may be exacerbated by such deployment.”
The manufacturer published, contemporaneously, a training bulletin that stated in
part:
The preponderance of the data, including all of the human studies, suggests
that VF [ventricular fibrillation] is not caused by ECDs [electronic control
devices] in real-world usage. There is no evidence of important
electrocardiogram changes, or capture (pacing response of the heart to
electrical stimulation), and finite element modeling does not suggest a current
density in real-world use able to induce fibrillation in humans. Also,
epidemiological studies do not find that real-world human ECD use causes
VF.179
It may be true that human studies have not documented instances of ventricular
fibrillation following discharge of a conducted energy weapon. However, that speaks
to a different issue than what is under consideration here—whether a conducted
energy weapon is capable of triggering cardiac capture that may lead to ventricular
tachycardia and/or fibrillation. In one reported case,180 a conducted energy weapon
was used to subdue an adolescent, who subsequently collapsed. Paramedics found the
adolescent to be in ventricular fibrillation and began performing cardiopulmonary
resuscitation within two minutes of the collapse, and a perfusing rhythm was restored.
I am persuaded, from the information before me, that a conducted energy weapon is
capable of triggering cardiac capture, and that the risk increases in the case of
subjects with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

178 “Product Warning—Citizen,” March 1, 2007, p. 2.
179 Training Bulletin 14.0-03 TASER Law Enforcement Warnings, April 28, 2008.
180 Kim, Paul J. and Wayne H. Franklin, “Ventricular Fibrillation after Stun-Gun Discharge,” 353 New
England J. Med. 9 (2005).

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Body size or shape
In one animal study, it was found that the conducted energy weapon discharge that
was required to induce ventricular fibrillation increased significantly in the case of
increasingly heavy pigs.181 However, size may be relevant only insofar as a larger
subject will probably have a greater skin-to-heart distance. As Webster
demonstrated,182 the likelihood of ventricular fibrillation increased as the tip of the
weapon’s dart moved closer and closer to the heart. Another researcher, who had
conducted a similar porcine test in which he found that the average dart tip-to-heart
distance to induce ventricular fibrillation was 17 mm, measured the skin-to-heart
distance of 150 adult human volunteers. He found that 42 percent had a skin-to-heart
distance of 26 mm or less, which made them potentially vulnerable for ventricular
fibrillation, assuming that the tip of the dart penetrated the full 9 mm into the
chest.183
Subject’s physical response
There is some evidence to suggest that the way in which a subject responds to a
conducted energy weapon discharge may increase the risk of ventricular fibrillation.
No one disputes that, in addition to incapacitation, discharge of a conducted energy
weapon produces intense pain, often coupled with anxiety, distress, and a physical
struggle with police officers. According to Dr. Kerr:
[W]hen people have pain, anxiety, distress, they will have an outpouring of
their central nervous system, what we call the sympathetic nervous system,
that stimulates the heart. There’s also an outpouring from the adrenal glands
of adrenaline and other compounds like adrenaline, and they also directly
stimulate the heart. They cause the heart to go faster, they cause the blood
pressure to go up, and they also alter the electrical properties of heart muscle
cells by changing the voltages across the cell membranes that make them more
prone to developing dangerous arrhythmias.184

181 Ibid., footnote 158.
182 Ibid., footnote 163.
183 Rahko, P., “Evaluation of the Skin-to-Heart Distance in the Standing Adult by Two-Dimensional
Echocardiography,” (2008) 21 J. Am. Soc. Echocard. 761.
184 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 7.

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Dr. Swerdlow agreed, stating during his presentation that “as electrophysiologists and
other cardiac experts, we know that adrenaline makes you more vulnerable to
fibrillation as a serious arrhythmia and cause of death.”185
In his 2006 animal study,186 Dr. Nanthakumar demonstrated that relationship. He
found that when epinephrine (adrenaline) was induced during weapon discharges
across the heart, the myocardium was stimulated in 13 out of 16 pigs, one of which
resulted in ventricular fibrillation.
This type of exertion (involving skeletal muscle contractions) may also result in the
buildup of lactic acid and carbon dioxide in the blood, which lowers the blood pH,
thereby increasing acidity, which may lead to acidosis.187 Normal blood pH varies
between 7.35 and 7.45, but may drop to 7.2 or 7.0, or even lower in the case of
acidosis. Acidosis affects the electrolyte balance, especially potassium, and the
electrical triggering of the heart, making the heart more susceptible to ventricular
fibrillation.188
Sometimes the intense muscle contractions brought about by the conducted energy
weapon discharge causes muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), contributing to an increase
in potassium levels that may electrically imbalance the heart.
When acidosis occurs, it can take some time for the blood’s pH level to return to
normal. Dr. Tseng told me that, because of this, one cannot eliminate ventricular
fibrillation as a possible cause of death just because death did not immediately follow
discharge of a conducted energy weapon:
Also I’ll say that delayed sudden death doesn’t mean that the TASER shock was
not contributory. You’ve seen that the TASER causes QT changes. It causes
acidosis. It causes pain and adrenaline. And those effects persist for minutes.
So if you have a sudden death ten minutes later, twenty minutes later, that

185 Transcript, June 25, 2008, p. 31.
186 Ibid., footnote 160.
187 Ibid., footnote 161, p. 588.
188 Jauchem, J.R., et al., “Acidosis, Lactate, Electrolytes, Muscle Enzymes, and Other Factors in the
Blood Sus scrofa Following Repeated TASER Exposures,” (2006) 161 Forensic Science Intl. 20, at 27.

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doesn’t mean that the TASER twenty minutes ago didn’t contribute to the
death.189
Timing of the shock
While a sufficient external electrical current is capable of triggering ventricular
fibrillation at any time during a normal heartbeat cycle, it does not appear to be in
dispute that this risk increases significantly if the discharge of the external electrical
current coincides with the cycle’s T-wave peak. Odell states:
Current pulses which might merely produce an extrasystole if present at other
portions of the cycle may induce fibrillation during the T-wave with a threshold
25 or more times lower than at other times in the cycle190 [emphasis added].
There is, of course, no way for a conducted energy weapon operator to tell what part
of a heartbeat cycle a subject is in when the weapon is deployed.

b. Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Coronary heart disease is caused by a blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the
heart muscles. During our public forums, Prof. Savard described the process as
follows:
Now, for the abnormal state we’ll talk about coronary heart disease, which is a
narrowing of the arteries that irrigate the heart muscle itself. So this
narrowing occurs because of plaque, because of atherosclerosis. If you have
partial occlusion (i.e., blockage) in the myocardium, the muscle under the
occlusion does not receive enough blood, you have a state of ischemia. The
muscle is still alive but is like choking. But if you have a complete occlusion,
then the tissue, the muscle will die, will be replaced by scar tissue. It’s called
myocardial infarction.191
Another cause of myocardial infarction is electrical injury. In one case, a construction
worker was diagnosed with inferior wall myocardial infarction after a crane boom

189 Transcript, May 9, 2008, p. 28.
190 Odell, M., “The Human Body as an Electric Current,” (1997) 4 J. Clin. For. Med. 1, at 5. He cites, for
this proposition, the International Electrotechnical Commission, Effects of Current Passing Through the
Human Body, Document 479-1, IEC, 1984.
191 Transcript, May 22, 2008, p. 4.

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came in contact with a high tension line rated at 23,000 volts. In a case report,192 the
attending physician cited numerous other reported instances, but characterized the
phenomenon as “uncommon.”
In an animal study comparing AC and DC current, researchers found a 90 percent
incidence of myocardial infarction with AC current, and a 33 percent incidence with
DC current. After citing these results and after discussing real-life instances of
myocardial infarction following electrical injury, the researchers stated that the
absence of atherosclerosis made coronary spasm a likely cause of this myocardial
damage: “The proposed mechanism of injury is prolonged coronary artery spasm,
perhaps tetanic in nature, induced by the alternating current.”193
Another researcher, after reviewing numerous previous studies, was more cautious,
emphasizing that appropriate treatment will depend on an accurate diagnosis of the
cause of the cardiac arrest:
A specific therapy does not exist; however, victims with cardiac arrest from
electrical shock or lightning strike require prompt, aggressive resuscitation.
Treatment of myocardial necrosis requires drugs to reduce platelet aggregation
and heparin; Ca-antagonist (in no heart failure cases) and nitrate may be
helpful to reduce coronary spasm. Hypertension, heart failure or conduction
abnormalities required standard therapeutic regimens. However, in managing
apparent acute myocardial infarction, the possibility that injury is not of
ischemic origin must be considered.194
While studies have not yet examined whether the electrical current from a conducted
energy weapon is sufficient to trigger coronary spasm, it is possible that such a
mechanism exists.
A further possible cause of myocardial infarction associated with use of a conducted
energy weapon is stress. The anxiety felt by subjects before a discharge, the intense
pain experienced during discharge, and the exertion that often follows discharge
192 Kinney, T.J., “Myocardial Infarction Following Electrical Injury,” (1982) 11 Annals Emerg. Med. 622.
193 Robinson, N.M.K., et al., “Electrical Injury to the Heart May Cause Long-term Damage to Conducting
Tissue: A Hypothesis and Review of the Literature,” (1996) 53 Intern. J. Cardiol. 273.
194 Fineschi, V., et al., “Electric Shock: Cardiac Effects Relative to Non-fatal Injuries and Post-mortem
Findings in Fatal Cases,” (2006) 111 Intern. J. Cardiol. 6.

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(during attempts at restraint) inevitably increase the heart rate and, with it, a greater
oxygen demand. Subjects with pre-existing coronary artery disease have a
significantly reduced capacity to supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood,
which may lead to ischemia or in severe cases, myocardial infarction. Dr. Kerr
cautioned that:
[P]eople can have absolutely amazing intensification of their sympathetic
nervous system under stressful situations. People can jack their heart rates up
to 180, 200 beats a minute in a tense environment. Their blood pressures can
go up to 200, 240 millimetres of mercury sometimes in these kinds of
environments. And the intense stimulation that that causes the heart—I don’t
think can be underestimated.195

c. Pacemakers and defibrillators
Permanent pacemakers deliver tiny electrical impulses to the heart, to regulate
abnormally fast, slow, or irregular heartbeats. Implanted cardioverter defibrillators
also deliver electrical currents to the heart to correct fibrillations and other
arrhythmias. Both devices deliver their currents directly into the heart by way of
metal leads running from the devices into the heart muscles. Researchers have raised
several concerns:
• These wires might conduct the current from a conducted energy weapon
directly into the heart, in which case much less current would be required to
trigger a life-threatening arrhythmia.
• The weapon’s current might override the pacemaker’s current. That effect
was demonstrated in one case discussed earlier, in which a prison inmate
with an implanted pacemaker received a conducted energy weapon
discharge, and data retrieved from the pacemaker showed a very high heart
rate (tachycardia) driven by every third weapon pulse. Dr. Kerr mentioned
this case during his oral presentation, and cautioned that it was not clear
whether the weapon’s current stimulated the heart directly or the weapon’s
current collected on the wire and travelled down the wire, stimulating the
heart.
• The device might interpret the weapon’s current as ventricular fibrillation,
causing the defibrillator to emit an electrical current inappropriately.
195 Transcript, May 20, 2008, p. 13. According to one cardiologist, this intense blood pressure can also
trigger the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque to induce myocardial infarction.

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Dr. Tseng identified this as a concern. In one case, the female subject of a
five-second weapon discharge wore an implanted cardioverter defibrillator.
After the incident, data from the device revealed one episode of ventricular
fibrillation which corresponded to the time of the weapon discharge. The
device’s capacitor charged up in preparation for ventricular fibrillation
therapy, but by the time that the device attempted to reconfirm fibrillation,
the weapon discharge had ceased and the device no longer detected
fibrillation, so the charged energy was diverted. The researchers found no
damage to the device, but added: “A longer exposure time to the TASER
energy or a shorter capacitor charging time due to lower shock energy
programmed (i.e., 20 J) could have led to a shock delivery by the ICD.”196
• The weapon’s current might damage the device. According to one
researcher, “electromagnetic interference can result in many undesirable
consequences, including damage to internal circuitry, oversensing,
undersensing, failure to pace, failure to capture, power on reset, triggering
of elective replacement indicators and inappropriate defibrillation
therapy.”197 However, his test of nine pacemakers and seven defibrillators
on a pig, with a standard five-second weapon shock over the heart, found no
damage to the devices. He stated, at page 555:198
Our results indicate that there was no change in the integrity of pacing
and sensing functions of both the ICD [implantable cardioverter
defibrillator] and the PM [pacemaker] leads. There was no immediate
damage to implanted pacemakers’ and defibrillators’ generators caused
by the standard NMI [neuromuscular incapacitation] discharge. A 5second NMI discharge did not seem to be detrimental to pacemaker or
ICD lead function and integrity acutely. Our experimental design, of
course, could not exclude the potential that repeated applications of
these shocks may cause cumulative damage to the generators or that
single applications may lead to long-term malfunction of these devices.
From this review I conclude that there are several risks associated with deployment of
a conducted energy weapon against a subject who is wearing an implanted pacemaker
or defibrillator. For example, the weapon’s current may collect on the device’s wire
and travel directly into the heart (in which case significantly less current may be

196 Haegeli, L.M., et al., “Effect of a TASER Shot to the Chest of a Patient with an Implantable
Defibrillator,” (2006) 3 Heart Rhythm 339.
197 Lakkireddy, D., et al., “Do Electrical Stun Guns (TASER-X26) Affect the Functional Integrity of
Implantable Pacemakers and Defibrillators?” (2007) 9 Eurospace 551. See also Lakkireddy, D. et al., “Can
Electrical-Conductive Weapons (TASER) Alter Functional Integrity of Pacemakers and Defibrillators and
Cause Myocardial Capture?” Abstract, Heart Rhythm Society, 29th Annual Meeting, May 2008.
198 Ibid.

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required to trigger a life-threatening arrhythmia), or the device may wrongly interpret
the weapon’s current as ventricular fibrillation and respond inappropriately.
In the light of these risks, it is in my view imprudent for law enforcement agencies in
British Columbia to train in accordance with the part of the manufacturer’s current
training materials that states:
Modern pacemakers and implanted defibrillators withstand external electrical
defibrillators at least 800 times stronger than the TASER conducted energy
pulses…. Published peer reviewed research shows that there is no negative
effect of the TASER device when used on a subject with an implanted device.
It is not surprising that these devices can withstand the current from a defibrillator—
one would hope that those who design these devices would build such safety margins
into the devices in anticipation that a person wearing a device might need to be
externally defibrillated. The issue before me is different—is a person wearing one of
these devices at greater risk if they receive a discharge from a conducted energy
weapon? The information before me strongly suggests that they are, and that risk
should be addressed in the training that officers receive.
Unquestionably, we could benefit from further research. Mr. Reilly told me:
But there could be other things that ought to be looked at and I think, for
instance, implanted pacemakers and implanted defibrillators would certainly
be things on our list of things that we need to understand better, whether the
function of those devices might be interfered with. And that’s the question
that needs to be raised, and I don’t have an answer for it.199

d. Blood pressure
Several researchers have found that a subject’s heart rate increased, either before,
during, or after a conducted energy weapon discharge. An increase in heart rate leads
to increased blood pressure, which can cause acute stroke or create several other
problems:
• Rupture of a pre-existing aneurysm—an aneurysm is an abnormal
ballooning of the wall of an artery, which makes the wall thinner and more
199 Transcript, May 5, 2008, p. 58.

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brittle, and thus prone to rupture in the event of a sudden increase in heart
rate and blood pressure. Rupture of a major artery such as the aorta can
cause massive internal hemorrhaging and loss of blood pressure, which can
lead to death.
• Rupture of the heart wall—a similar risk exists in areas of the heart wall
where coronary heart disease has created scar tissue, so that the heart wall
is thinner and more brittle.
• Petechiae—these are pinpoint bruises usually affecting the eyelids and the
clear membrane covering the white part of the eyeball (conjunctiva).
Petechiae are traditionally associated with asphyxia deaths, but a decade
ago one researcher questioned that relationship, given the absence of
petechiae in many such deaths. Her review of the literature led her to
conclude that “petechiae of the head are the product of purely mechanical
vascular phenomena; namely impaired or obstructed venous return in the
presence of continued arterial output.”200 This phenomenon may have some
relevance to the use of conducted energy weapons for the following reason:
if the deployment of a weapon and any resulting struggle causes an increase
in blood pressure, and if compressive pressure to the subject’s chest or neck
during restraint is great enough to obstruct venous return from the head but
not enough to obstruct arterial flow to the brain, then cephalic venous
pressure will rise, resulting in petechiae.

2. Delayed cardiac risks
Can a conducted energy weapon be responsible, if a subject dies some time after the
conducted energy weapon was discharged?
Based on the information before me, one can envisage scenarios in which a conducted
energy weapon may contribute to a subject’s death, even though that death appears
to have occurred some time after deployment of the weapon. For example:
• The weapon’s current might cause an implanted cardioverter defibrillator to
interpret the weapon’s externally generated current as ventricular
fibrillation, leading the device to respond inappropriately after charging up
its capacitor. I accept that such an inappropriate discharge would rarely
cause death.
• In the case of subjects with coronary heart disease, stress brought on through
deployment of the weapon (and post-discharge efforts at restraint) may lead
to increased heart rate and blood pressure, leading to subsequent myocardial
infarction and/or rupture of a pre-existing aneurysm.
200 Ely, S., et al., “Asphyxial Deaths and Petechiae: A Review,” (2000) 45 J. Forensic Sc. 1274.

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Those phenomena may be identifiable during an autopsy, providing an evidentiary
basis for the pathologist to conclude that the weapon’s electrical current may have
been the triggering event.
However, the human body may react to a conducted energy weapon discharge in a
way that does not leave physical evidence that would be available to a pathologist
during an autopsy. For example, several presenters told me that stress produces
adrenaline, which causes the heart to race, increases blood pressure, and changes
voltages across heart cell membranes, making a person more susceptible to ventricular
fibrillation, either directly, or indirectly through acidosis. When acidosis occurs, it
can take some time for the blood’s pH level to return to normal and, because of this,
one cannot eliminate ventricular fibrillation as a possible cause of death just because
death did not immediately follow discharge of a conducted energy weapon.
Similarly, some studies have demonstrated a progression from ventricular tachycardia
to ventricular fibrillation over several hours.
Finally, death may have occurred earlier than observers think. Dr. Janusz explained
this as follows:
And an acute condition where you have a low cardiac output and a low blood
pressure, so a partially perfused brain will often cause seizures. That won’t go
on all that long after the condition proceeds to ventricular fibrillation because
all cerebral activity will stop within a minute or so. But you’ll see a patient, or
a victim, lying on the ground thrashing around, and may not recognize that the
heart has stopped, because he’s still moving. Agonal gasping reflex is
something that’s present frequently or universally after cessation of flow to the
brain and it’s a trigger in the brain stem that causes an attempt to take a big
breath. So that if you observe somebody who has just expired and watch for a
minute or two or three or five minutes, you will see every so often an attempt
at a large breath. And if you had someone lying on the ground and he wasn’t
really being examined carefully and they saw a respiratory effort from time to
time, they might conclude that he was breathing, whereas in fact the cardiac
arrest had occurred a few minutes before.201

201 Transcript, May 20, 2008, pp. 27-28.

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I am satisfied that there are some circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon
may have caused or contributed to a death, even though the death occurred (or
appeared to occur) some time after the weapon was discharged.

C. RESPIRATORY RISKS
Human life is as dependent on the lungs as it is on the heart. The lungs perform two
principal functions. They extract carbon dioxide from the blood and expel it from the
body through the mouth, and they infuse the blood with oxygen, which is then
circulated to cells throughout the body.
Breathing or respiration facilitates these exchanges, and breathing results from the
regular contraction and relaxation of the intercostal muscles around the rib cage and
the thoracic diaphragm, a sheet of muscle separating the thoracic cavity from the
abdominal cavity.
If breathing ceases, the body’s vital organs are starved of oxygen. The heart stops
beating, the brain stops functioning, and death soon ensues.
The intercostal muscles and the thoracic diaphragm are skeletal muscles, precisely the
types of muscles that a conducted energy weapon is designed to incapacitate. For this
reason, several researchers have investigated whether the current from a conducted
energy weapon is capable of interfering with the vital function of these muscles:
• Jauchem202—six anesthetized pigs were subjected to repeated five-second
X26 shocks across the chest, followed by five-second rests, for three
minutes. Their respiration rates were monitored, and the researchers
reported: “Complete cessation of breathing was noted to occur during each
five-second TASER exposure.”
• Ho203—52 human volunteers attending a manufacturer’s training program
received either a 15-second continuous X26 discharge, or three consecutive
five-seconds-on/one-second-off discharges. The electrodes were placed on
202 Jauchem, J.R., et al., “Acidosis, Lactate, Electrolytes, Muscle Enzymes, and Other Factors in the
Blood of Sus scrofa Following Repeated TASER Exposures,” (2005) For. Sc. Int’l.
203 Ho, J.D., et al., “Respiratory Effect of Prolonged Electrical Weapon Application on Human
Volunteers,” (2007) 14 Acad. Emerg. Med. 197.

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the subject’s trunk in positions to span a majority of the trunk while
including transdiaphragmatic positioning. Common placement included
ipsilateral and contralateral positioning at shoulder and hip, pectoral region
and leg, and scapula and buttock. They found no evidence of breathing
impairment during either type of weapon exposure, from which they
concluded: “It does not appear that prolonged CEW exposure causes a
decreased tidal volume, hypercapnia, hypoxia, or apnea.” During his oral
presentation, Dr. Ho told me that they actually found that one parameter
that they measured (minute ventilation) actually improved, which he
interpreted to mean that subjects hyperventilated during weapon exposure
in order to blow off excess carbon dioxide caused by acidosis.204
These studies are, in my view, inconclusive. While the animal study demonstrated a
cessation of breathing during the weapon’s discharge, the human study showed just
the opposite. The animal study suggests the capacity of a conducted energy weapon
to disrupt breathing in humans, while one limited human study documented that the
breathing of 52 subjects was not interrupted. Would the human study results have
been different, for example, if the duration of the weapon discharge had been
greater? I am reluctant to generalize from these findings. However, several reports
suggest that a link may exist:
• U.S. Department of Defense205—the Human Effects Center of Excellence
conducted a human effectiveness and risk characterization study of the M26
and X26 weapons, during which it identified several unintended effects,
including acute respiratory impairment and failure:
If long periods of uninterrupted EMI activation did occur, the risk of
unintended adverse effects such as … impairment of respiration … could
be severe.
If placements of the darts induces spasm of the muscles of respiration
(diaphragm and intercostal muscles), one can hypothesize that the
subject may not be able to breathe. Furthermore, personal
204 Transcript, May 16, 2008, pp. 13-14. However, it is possible that respiration was inhibited during the
15-second discharge, but that hyperventilation in the 45 seconds after discharge more than made up for
the initial respiratory inhibition; i.e., the calculated minute ventilation was improved, but this parameter
masked the fact that respiratory inhibition occurred. Dr. Ho also told me about his as-yet-unpublished
study in which human volunteers were exposed to a 10-second weapon discharge, in push-stun mode, in
the shoulder area. Ultrasound images of the diaphragm showed that in all cases respiration continued; in
fact, the diaphragm moved faster during discharge, indicating hyperventilation (pp. 21-22).
205 Maier, A., et al., Human Effectiveness and Risk Characterization of the Electromuscular
Incapacitation Device—A Limited Analysis of the TASER, by the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Human Effects
Center of Excellence,” 2004.

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observations during animal studies in pigs … suggest that the test
animals hold their breath while being stimulated with the TASER. If
humans respond similarly, one would expect no or minimal normal
breathing while being exposed. In an extreme case of several minutes
exposure during which respiration is impaired, acute respiratory failure,
which is immediately life-threatening, could plausibly develop. Acute
hypoxia and CO2 retention cause acidosis, and failure of aerobic cellular
production in all tissues with earliest effects seen in the brain and
heart.
• Canadian Police Research Centre206—it stated that “depending on probe
location in the upper torso, it appears likely that the muscular tetany
produced by a TASER deployment could impair a subject’s respiration…. If
breathing is stopped or impaired during the five-second cycle, this could
affect both CO2 and pH levels. If the TASER is cycled continuously for 15-20
seconds, the effects could be expected to increase.” The authors
emphasized that respiratory impairment becomes particularly crucial when
the weapon is used or restraint is applied during or after a prolonged physical
struggle. They concluded:
The issue related to multiple CED applications and its impact on
respiration, pH levels, and other associated physical effects, offers a
plausible theory on the possible connection between deaths, CED use,
and people exhibiting the symptoms of ED [excited delirium] (p. 18).
There is another concern associated with interruption or cessation of breathing—
acidosis. If the current from a conducted energy weapon interferes with a subject’s
breathing, that could lead to an increase in the carbon dioxide in the blood, creating
carbonic acid, a resulting increase in acidity, and the lowering of the pH level leading
to acidosis. As discussed earlier, acidosis can disturb blood electrolytes (such as
potassium) and lactate, and can also affect the heart’s electrical conduction system,
both of which can trigger fatal heart arrhythmias. Acidosis may last for an hour or
longer after the initial weapon discharge, which means that the arrhythmia and/or
death may be postponed.
One further complication should be noted. As Dr. Ho and others told me, acidosis is
cleared primarily by the lungs. Treatment therefore requires stopping further muscle

206 Manojlovic, D., et al., Review of Conducted Energy Devices, Technical Report TR-01-2006, August 22,
2005.

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contractions, and restoring oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. In a hospital setting,
providing oxygen is a standard protocol. In the absence of such medical intervention,
the body’s natural response is to hyperventilate. But hyperventilation can be
frustrated if a subject is lying face down (prone), if pressure is applied to the chest or
neck area, or if the subject has been restrained or is struggling with police officers
who are attempting to restrain the subject. Hence, what would normally be an
appropriate police response may in these circumstances prevent the subject’s body
from clearing acidosis, thereby increasing the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

D. METABOLIC RISKS
Rhabdomyolysis is muscle damage. It can be brought on by prolonged muscle exertion
(e.g., long-distance running, struggling with or fleeing from police), from direct
electrical damage to muscles,207 hyperthermia (i.e., overheating), genetic defects, or
ingestion of alcohol or drugs. The primary cause of death in the first 12−24 hours is
cardiac arrest from electrolyte (e.g., potassium) imbalances. It also causes the
release of muscle breakdown products (e.g., myoglobin, creatine phosphokinase, and
potassium) into the bloodstream. If these products are released in levels higher than
the kidneys can clear, they can cause acute renal (kidney) failure (usually after 24
hours). Hypocalcemia (low blood calcium) can also occur when high levels of calcium
ion leave the blood and flow into damaged muscles, worsening the muscle damage and
the acidosis in a vicious cycle.
One of the presenters raised the possibility that a conducted energy weapon could
cause rhabdomyolysis. Dr. Butt stated:
A number of persons who are subjected to the TASER are at risk in the
beginning of having hyperthermia or an increased temperature. And one of the

207 In one case a 17 year old who had high-voltage electrical contact with his head was diagnosed with
rhabdomyolysis, which led to acute renal failure: Sungur, M., “Rhabdomyolysis Caused by Electric Injury,”
(2001) 20 J. Emerg. Med. 195.

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features pathologically of hyperthermia is disruption, focal disruption of
striated or voluntary muscle called rhabdomyolysis.208
There is some anecdotal evidence to support this concern. In Alabama, an emergency
department physician diagnosed rhabdomyolysis in each of two young men who were
admitted after having been subjected to conducted energy weapon discharges. 209 One
of the subjects had no prior medical record, but had become severely agitated and
began assaulting his mother. He was not intoxicated by alcohol or drugs and, on
discharge, was diagnosed with a non-specific psychotic state. The other subject had a
history of depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and marijuana and cocaine abuse. The
authors concluded:
Emergency physicians must consider potential complications and confounding
variables as they evaluate patients who have been immobilized by a TASER
device. The literature suggests a 1 percent incidence of mild rhabdomyolysis
for these patients. Most of these patients will, however, have other conditions
or have been involved in scenarios also associated with the development of
rhabdomyolysis.
In my view the evidence is inconclusive whether the current from a conducted energy
weapon is capable of causing rhabdomyolysis. Having said that, there does appear to
be some correlation between a highly agitated (e.g., hyperthermic) subject, the
discharge of a conducted energy weapon, and rhabdomyolysis. I will discuss this
correlation later in this part.

E. MENTAL ILLNESS
1. Police as first responders
In 2006, the BC Ministry of Health asked the Centre for Applied Research in Mental
Health and Addiction (CARMHA) at Simon Fraser University to study the related issues
of homelessness, severe addictions, and mental illness. CARMHA found that in British
208 Transcript, May 21, 2008, p. 7.
209 Sanford, J.M., et al, “Two Patients Subdued with a TASER Device: Cases and Review of
Complications,” (2008) J. Emerg. Med.

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Columbia approximately 130,000 adults meet the criteria for severe addiction and/or
mental illness. Within that group, an estimated 11,750 are also absolutely
homeless.210
People with severe addictions and/or mental illness are a disproportionate drain on
police resources. In 2007 the Vancouver Police Department collected data over a 16day period of police incidents that involved a person who was suffering from the
effects of a mental illness.211 Across the city as a whole, 31 percent of all calls for
service involved at least one mentally ill person.212 This amounted to approximately
58,900 out of 190,000 annual calls, for a direct annual cost of $9 million.
Dr. Nancy Hall, a policy consultant with the BC Division of the Canadian Mental Health
Association told me that a recent study showed that 30 percent of people accessing
the mental health system did so through the police. Ms. Camia Weaver, justice
coordinator for the association told me that “police in British Columbia and actually
across North America are increasingly first responders to mental health crises, and
there is no doubt that they have become the front-line mental health workers in
recent years.”213
From the material that I have reviewed, including video clips of real-life incidents,
there can be no dispute that police officers are being called more frequently to deal
with subjects whose inappropriate and sometimes violent behaviours suggest mental
illness or alcohol/drug incapacitation, or both. When an officer deploys a conducted
energy weapon against the subject in such circumstances, the crisis is sometimes
resolved. At other times, the subject inexplicably collapses into unconsciousness, and
sometimes dies. This scenario, perhaps the most controversial aspect of conducted
energy weapon use, is the issue to which I now turn.
210 Patterson, M., et al., “Housing and Support for Adults with Severe Addictions and/or Mental Illness in
British Columbia,” Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction, Faculty of Health
Sciences, Simon Fraser University, February 2008, pp. 8-9.
211 Wilson-Bates, F., “Lost in Transition: How a Lack of Capacity in the Mental Health System is Failing
Vancouver’s Mentally Ill and Draining Police Resources,” January 2008, pp. 12-13.
212 This level rose to nearly 50 percent in District 2, which includes the Downtown Eastside.
213 Transcript, May 7, 2008, p. 19.

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To put into context the discussion that follows, it would be useful to list the cluster of
physical symptoms and behaviours that police officers frequently encounter, as set out
in the manufacturer’s training materials:
• bizarre or violent behavior;
• signs of overheating/profuse sweating;
• disrobing;
• violence toward/attacking glass, lights, and reflective surfaces;
• superhuman strength and endurance;
• imperviousness to pain—self-mutilation;
• disturbances in breathing patterns or loss of consciousness; and
• complaints of respiratory difficulty.214

2. What psychiatrists and other medical experts told me
I am indebted to several psychiatrists and other medical experts who greatly enhanced
my understanding of mental illness, specifically delirium. I summarize their oral
presentations below.

a. Dr. Shaohua Lu
Dr. Lu is a psychiatrist at the Vancouver General Hospital’s medical surgical unit. He
assesses, on a daily basis, patients with severe addictions and severe mental illnesses
such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and delirium, and has seven years’ previous
experience in an emergency psychiatry unit.
Dr. Lu told me that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume IV (DSM-IV) defines
delirium as a disturbance of the conscious mind, with reduced ability to focus or
sustain attention. It involves a change in cognition, or the development of a
perceptual disturbance that is not better accounted for by a pre-existing dementia.
The disturbance develops over a short time, and tends to fluctuate during the course
of the day.
214 TASER International, “User Certification Course * TASER X26 Electronic Control Device,” Version 14.0,
PowerPoint presentation, slide 196.

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If delirium can be broadly defined as a generalized cognitive and brain dysfunction, it
presents itself as follows:
• Impaired level of consciousness—the person will present as drowsy or
agitated, typically with a disrupted sleep-wake cycle.
• Attention deficits—the person will be disoriented, not knowing what time it
is or, in more severe cases, who they are. They will have poor attention and
concentration, experiencing difficulty following basic instructions.
• Language deficits—the person will have impaired comprehension and
speech, with difficulty in articulating their thoughts, which may cause them
to appear more aggressive than normal.
• Memory deficits—the person may have impaired short-term memory and
working memory, and experience difficulty answering questions about where
they are and what they are doing.
• Executive cognition function impairments—there is a generalized
disorganization and impaired insight (meaning that they do not have an
appreciation that they are in a disorganized state), with a decreased ability
to plan, organize, and execute tasks.
• Thought disturbances—the person will often have delusional thinking and
illogical thought processes, such as thinking they are being abducted or, in
the case of older patients, thinking they are still fighting World War II. This
can lead to bizarre behaviours.
• Disturbed effects—most patients with delusions are in an unstable state—
scared, frightened, and in a state of anxiety and irritability.
• Perceptual disturbances—the person may misinterpret external and internal
stimuli and, depending on severity, may experience visual, auditory, or
tactile hallucinations.
• Psychomotor changes—the person typically experiences agitation and
restlessness, which can have a profound impact on their strength. Even
elderly patients can display tremendous strength. This “defensive
aggression” is rarely directed at any specific individual and is not meant to
harm anyone. Rather, the person is just frightened, and may barricade
himself or herself, or throw things as a reaction to what they perceive as an
intrusion into their personal space.
• Autonomic instability—delirium is a medical, physiological response to
external insults (i.e., changes in perception), and patients will almost always
exhibit autonomic instability, including rapid breathing, sweating, increased
heart rate, and unstable blood pressure.

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Dr. Lu told me that psychiatrists do not use the term “excited delirium.” In their
understanding, most patients with delirium are in an excited and agitated state.
Those who use the term “excited delirium” appear to be describing a patient who has
delirium with a highly agitated and extremely restless presentation—“the more severe
spectrum of delirious presentation.”
Dr. Lu emphasized that delirium is not a medical disease. It is a syndrome, and it is a
symptom of many underlying problems. He then listed the principal predisposing and
risk factors: advanced age, dementia, medical co-morbidity, a history of alcohol
abuse, male gender, sensory impairments (especially hearing and vision), unfamiliar
settings, language barrier, and dehydration.
There are also numerous precipitating factors that can put the person over the edge
and generate a delirious state, including environmental change, pain, emotional stress
or social isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation (including long-haul flights), prolonged
sensory deprivation or stimulation, metabolic disturbance (e.g., dehydration or
electrolyte changes), neurological conditions (e.g., stroke or head injury), surgery,
severe medical illness or trauma, exposure to anesthetics, infections, hypoxia
(shortage of oxygen), fever, hypothermia, or drugs and medications. A simple dose of
morphine for pain, or heroin, can bring on delirium. Cocaine and psycho-stimulants
are highly precipitating agents for delirium, as is acute alcohol or sedative withdrawal.
Dr. Lu added that “the more vulnerable the individual, the less noxious insult is
necessary to precipitate delirium. The healthier the individual, the more trauma and
more medical problems are necessary to get into that state.”
Cocaine (and other psycho-stimulants such as crystal methamphetamine) has a direct
stimulation effect on the cardiac function, particularly in new users. It will increase
the heart rate and the demand for oxygen, and it can potentially disrupt the rhythm of
the heart. In combination with low doses of alcohol, cocaine can also form additional
compounds that stimulate the speed of the heart.

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It is often difficult, even for psychiatrists, to determine whether a patient is in a
delirious state, as opposed to extreme depression or psychosis. In extreme cases,
delirium is a medical emergency. In otherwise healthy individuals, sudden onset of
delirium may be a warning sign of potentially life-threatening metabolic changes or
extreme fatigue and exhaustion, which can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death.
Dr. Lu told me that in a hospital setting, professionals use a variety of techniques to
manage delirium. They will use social restraint (which may mean placing the patient
in a comfortable, familiar setting), reduce stimulation, bring in a family member or
friend, or find someone who speaks the patient’s language. In cases of dehydration,
they will rehydrate the patient. They will normalize the patient’s sleep, and attempt
to correct the underlying medical problem. If it is necessary to physically restrain a
highly agitated patient, they will initiate pharmacological treatment (e.g.,
benzodiazepine or an antipsychotic drug) as soon as possible to reduce agitation.
Dr. Lu offered practical suggestions for first responders who must deal with delirious
subjects:
• Education, training, and recognition—it may not be particularly helpful to
attempt to determine whether the subject’s delirious state is due to cocaine
or methamphetamine ingestion, psychosis, extreme psychosis as a result of
untreated schizophrenia, or severe bipolar. Rather, it is important that a
first responder recognize that a delirious patient can have autonomic
changes such as sweat, disorganization, disorientation, and defensive
aggression. They should recognize that patients are frightened and may not
be capable of following basic instructions, and they should receive training
on how to talk to patients and calm them down.
• Use containment whenever possible—this means keeping the subject in a
prescribed area (but not physically restraining them) in order to buy time to
bring in familiar support.
• Medical/paramedic backup—this should be brought in as soon as possible if
it appears that a subject is in a delirious state.
• Restraints and conducted energy weapons—first responders should be
aware of the medical risks associated with physically restraining a delirious
subject, or deploying a conducted energy weapon against them. In the case
of an otherwise healthy individual, they likely have profound exhaustion and
electrolyte changes before delirium kicks in. At that stage, any additional

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insult (e.g., struggling or fighting) can lead to the body just giving out,
resulting in cardiac arrest and death.
• Monitor basic vital signs—monitor the heart rate, breathing rate, and level
of consciousness.
• Severe agitated delirious state—if medical/paramedic backup is present,
then sedation, oxygen, IV fluids, and a low-stimuli environment should be
considered. Cooling measures are particularly helpful for young males whose
delirium is caused by cocaine or crystal methamphetamine or other druginduced agitated state.

b. Dr. Joseph Noone
Dr. Noone is a psychiatrist at the Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, BC, serving as the
medical director of the Adult Program and medical manager of the Psychiatric
Intensive Care Unit. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of British
Columbia, and provides on-call emergency psychiatric services in the emergency
departments of three Lower Mainland hospitals. He is also a director of Code White
training, which focuses on team interventions with higher levels of aggression. The
main focus of his clinical practice for the past 27 years has been the prevention and
management of aggressive behavior in healthcare.
Dr. Noone told me that delirium is an acute confusional state with fluctuating levels of
consciousness. There is usually hyperactivity, but occasionally lethargy. There is a
rapid succession of confused, unconnected ideas, often with illusions (visual
misperceptions) and hallucinations. Delirium is most frequently caused by drugs, a
closed-head injury, hypoglycemia, electrolyte disturbance, or an acute psychosis such
as schizophrenia or manic or bipolar mood disorder.
He emphasized that advanced delirium is a medical emergency, not a psychiatric
emergency, requiring intensive medical assessment and management. The goal of
treatment is to reverse the causes.
Dr. Noone said that “excited delirium” is not a valid medical or psychiatric diagnosis.
In his view it provides a convenient post-mortem explanation for in-custody deaths,
where physical and mechanical restraints and conducted energy weapons were
employed. His main concern about usage of this term is that “it’s being used more

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and more frequently in an attempt to automatically absolve law enforcement from any
and all responsibility for their involvement in sudden in-custody deaths.”215 It would be
preferable to:
• avoid use of the term “excited delirium” (which implies a diagnosis), and use
the more descriptive, less judgmental term of “emotionally disturbed
person”; and
• focus on the principal risk factors for in-custody death—positional asphyxia,
cocaine-induced psychosis or delirium, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
Dr. Noone said that the best way to treat an emotionally acting-out person is to do the
following:
• Assess—you should approach the situation objectively and with an open
mind, considering all the possibilities. You should take your time and remain
calm. If the degree of force used by the professional is measured on a scale
of one to ten, police officers often go in at eight or nine, and this will likely
escalate rather than defuse the situation. From his experience, it is much
more effective to go in at about three or four—if you go in low, you can
usually get compliance.
• Contain—it is unwise for one, two, or even three people to attempt to
contain a highly agitated subject. From Dr. Noone’s experience, a team
response is much more effective. Instead of grabbing the subject roughly,
“gentle touching, not touching, showing support is what will bring this
confused person down to a level where you can deal with them.”
• Treat—once the subject has been transported to the emergency department,
it is important to treat the subject for the underlying medical condition.
Delirium is a superimposed condition for which there are medical reasons.
Often this type of aberrant behaviour is not psychotic—“The big mistake we
don’t want to make is to treat something as behavioural when in fact it has a
medical cause.”
When asked about the appropriateness of deploying a conducted energy weapon
against a person in a delirious state, Dr. Noone replied:
I believe that highly agitated individuals, even more so if they are in delirium,
are at very high risk of further medical compromise, due to metabolic, cardiac,
respiratory, or other complications. To “taser” such vulnerable individuals

215 Transcript, May 16, 2008, p. 41.

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would be contraindicated medically due to the risk of death, in my opinion.
That’s a clinical opinion.216
Dr. Noone referred to two paragraphs of the RCMP Operational Manual217 that until
February 2009 stated:
3.2.2. Individuals experiencing excited delirium require medical treatment
which first requires that they be restrained.
3.2.3. In considering intervention options for excited delirium cases, the use of
the [conducted energy weapon] in a probe-mode deployment may be the most
effective response to establish control.
He disagreed with that policy for several reasons. First, “excited delirium” is not a
medical or psychiatric condition, and use of the expression in the manual could refer
to just about anything. Second, medically untrained people (including police officers)
may apply this policy to any agitated individual, whether delirious or not, which would
be a worrisome development. Third, use of a conducted energy weapon on a small
number of highly agitated individuals who are really in delirium is strongly medically
contraindicated. The safest and most effective method of restraint and transportation
would be a trained team intervention using soft empty-hand control, while working to
maintain a relationship with the individual.
He said that the healthcare approach to prevention and management of aggressive
behavior is respect and professionalism, not power and control, which only causes
conflict and incites the situation. When control is required, it is important that it be
applied in a supportive, respectful manner. Communication is very important,
including body language, facial expression, managing the distance, speed of
movement, and the volume, tone, rate, and rhythm of speech. He has found that in
the vast majority of emotionally disturbed, mentally ill and alcohol/drug-intoxicated
people, the use of presence, dialogue, and empty-hand control measures achieve
compliance, without resort to pain compliance or closed-fist responses or impact
weapons.
216 Transcript, May 16, 2008, p. 49.
217 RCMP Operational Manual—Chapter 17.7—Conducted Energy Weapon.

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c. Dr. Maelor Vallance
Dr. Vallance is currently clinical emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of
British Columbia. He has practised psychiatry for more than 40 years, including
administratively as chair of the Forensic Commission and clinically as director of
emergency psychiatric services at Vancouver General Hospital.
Dr. Vallance told me that the principal features of delirium are a reduced clarity of
awareness of the environment or clouding of consciousness that leads to considerable
impairment of attention. Anything coming from the outside, including instructions
from the police, may not get through. Even if they do get through, they may not be
held in consciousness long enough for the individual to act on them.
There are also changes in cognition, such as disorientation (especially for time),
impairments of memory (so that warnings may be quite useless), and problems
understanding and expressing language. There may be perceptual disturbances, such
as illusions and hallucinations, where they will misinterpret what they hear or see.
Delirium fluctuates. It is usually worse at night because there is less orienting
stimulation to keep them on track. It also varies with the level of excitement—the
greater the excitement, usually, the greater the derangement.
Dr. Vallance said that there are many underlying causes of delirium, including a
general medical condition (e.g., liver disease, AIDS, gross dehydration, electrolyte
disturbances or imbalance, acidosis), drug intoxication (especially cocaine and crystal
methamphetamines), alcohol withdrawal (e.g., delirium tremens), or a combination of
factors (e.g., someone with AIDS who also has cocaine intoxication, or someone with
pneumonia who has an aberrant reaction to a medication).
It is not always easy to differentiate delirium from other conditions (e.g., excited
catatonic schizophrenia, mania, or agitated dementia), particularly in the community
and especially when the person is severely agitated. Observation alone is insufficient
for diagnosis; interactions with the individual and collateral data are also required.

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Police officers may observe agitation or derangement, but would have no way of
knowing the specific condition with which they are dealing.
Dr. Vallance told me that “excited delirium” is not a medical term. It is not described
in the medical literature, nor is there real clinical evidence of it as a separate entity.
There is no specific pathology post-mortem. He said:
The symptoms and the behaviours that you see in what is called “excited
delirium” are essentially indistinguishable from a deranged, agitated individual
in the community, irrespective of the underlying cause. And there is no known
specific pathology. In short, there’s nothing to identify it.
The features as they are described of excited delirium … are essentially the
features that you would find in any severely agitated, deranged individual,
whether they are suffering from a true delirium with all of its underlying
medical causes, a severely agitated schizophrenic, or a severely agitated manic
patient; there’s nothing to differentiate it from these conditions.218
Dr. Vallance said that deaths do occur in temporal proximity to various interventions,
which may include a conducted energy weapon, forceful physical restraint,
chokeholds, or pepper spray. This occurs mostly in those individuals who are the most
physically compromised in our community, such as those with a serious medical
condition, poor nutrition, serious dehydration, or cocaine intoxication. Also, their
level of exhaustion is an extremely important factor. One would expect that as
exhaustion approaches there would be a gradual slowing down of activity and a
lessening of resistance. However, just the opposite occurs. It is like a car with the gas
pedal fully down. It will go at full speed until it runs out of gas. If such people are
subjected to a conducted energy weapon when they are “running out of gas,” it is
analogous to someone pressing down on the brake pedal while the gas pedal is still
fully down—the car spins out of control. It is when such highly agitated people are
physically restrained and then collapse into inactivity that they are most vulnerable.
He said:

218 Transcript, May 21, 2008, p. 21.

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We need to have protocols for intervention, particularly using [conducted
energy weapons] because we know relatively little about them. When should
they be used and when should they not be used? …
The first step in intervention should very rarely be physical restraint of any
kind. The physical restraint by itself tends to escalate the situation, when the
purpose really should be to de-escalate. The escalation of the situation with
further agitation and excitement is a danger in itself.
In order to intervene without using physical restraint as a first step, I believe
it’s necessary to develop specialized intervention teams. There is specific
training in that form of intervention. I believe that it’s too much to ask the
police force to have the level of training that is available as a general training
throughout the police. It requires specific selected officers to be specifically
trained under our very extensive training programs now. Even then, I don’t
believe that they should act alone. I believe it should be a team effort.219

d. Dr. John Butt
Dr. Butt is a forensic pathologist in Vancouver, BC. In the 1970s, he was instrumental
in the reform that converted Alberta’s coroner system into a medical examiner
system. He served as Chief Medical Examiner in Alberta for 16 years and as Chief
Medical Examiner in Nova Scotia for three years. In 1990, he served as president of
the National Association of Medical Examiners in the U.S.A. In 2004, he and several
colleagues provided medical expertise to the Victoria Police Department’s report on
conducted energy weapons.
Dr. Butt told me that the principal role of a coroner or chief medical examiner is to
determine the medical cause of death. If, on autopsy, there is no pathology present
explaining the death, then the circumstances surrounding the death become very
important. This is relevant in deaths proximate to use of a conducted energy weapon,
because there is no specific pathology related to the use of such weapons. For
example, the electrical current from a weapon is not sufficient to leave burn marks (in
contrast to electrocution from power lines), and even if the weapon caused a heart
arrhythmia, that would not be evident on autopsy.

219 Transcript, May 21, 2008, p. 24.

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In such “negative autopsy” cases, studying the proximate events is essential to
developing an understanding of the mechanism of death. This is particularly true
when dealing with emotionally disturbed subjects, many of whom display
hyperactivity, agitation, hyperthermia, feats of strength, numbness to pain, and a
disposition to resist force. Dr. Butt said that researchers were aware of sudden incustody deaths long before conducted energy weapons were introduced, and several
explanations were proposed, including asphyxia (due to kneeling on the subject’s
trunk or neck and thus restricting breathing) and metabolic acidosis (due to sudden
changes to the acid level of the blood brought on by a struggle or other convulsive
muscle movement). Pathologists sometimes do not understand how these mechanisms
may have contributed to a death, and may assign death to “sudden death associated
with custodial death syndrome” or “sudden death associated with excited delirium
(custody)” without going behind the symptoms to find the underlying anatomical cause
of death.
Dr. Butt spoke in favour of involving mental health professionals (in addition to
paramedics) when dealing with emotionally disturbed subjects, because of their skills
in de-escalating tense situations—cooling off—“puts the situation into a much safer
mode for everybody.”

e. Dr. Christine Hall
Dr. Hall is a specialist in emergency medicine in Victoria, BC. She also has a master’s
degree in epidemiology. Her interest in conducted energy weapons arose from her
experience with a surprising number of emergency patients who are acutely agitated,
disruptive, violent, and incoherent; who become involved in profoundly intense
physical interaction with the police; and who, when finally physically controlled in
some way, sometimes die unexpectedly within minutes.
Her review of the literature showed that such in-custody deaths pre-date introduction
of conducted energy weapons, and early attempts to explain such deaths were
unpersuasive. Her particular professional interest is what to tell police officers to do

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when they encounter an agitated and incoherent person. She offered three
suggestions:
• Recognize the medical emergency—although the acutely agitated violent
person may be engaged in behaviour that manifests as a police problem, the
person may well be a medical emergency.
• Facilitate medical treatment—the person needs to get to a hospital; in
urban areas an ambulance crew with advanced life support skills may be able
to medicate the person with a sedative once the person is under some
physical control.
• Getting control of the person—the problem is that there is no simple way to
give care to a violent, combative, and incoherent person without first getting
control over them. The ideal response is to contain the situation until
medical backup arrives, but it is not always possible for the police to stand
by if people are at physical risk or property is being destroyed.

f.

Dr. Michael Webster

Dr. Webster has a doctorate in counselling psychology. He initially practised in several
federal penitentiaries in British Columbia, but subsequently developed an expertise in
crisis situations, hostage-takings, barricaded person incidents, kidnappings, and
incidents of public disorder. He now provides consulting services to policing bodies in
Canada and internationally.
Dr. Webster agreed with other presenters that police patrol personnel are often faced
with individuals exhibiting bizarre and/or aggressive behaviours, shouting, elevated
suspicion, anxiety or panic, violence, unexpected physical strength, and profuse
sweating. He expressed the following concern:
Even with an extensive autopsy, there is no definitive way to prove that
someone died of excited delirium. It may be that police and medical
examiners are using the term as a convenient excuse for what could be
excessive use of force or inappropriate control techniques during an arrest.
He told me that properly trained mental health professionals are aware that the more
active variety of delirium increases the risks associated with physical restraints. He
said that most mental health professionals would agree that people manifesting this
symptom picture are in a state of hyperarousal and are in crisis.

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Crisis intervention is designed to assist people in lowering their arousal level and
regaining their mental balance, enabling them to use better judgment, make
decisions, and become better problem solvers. The method most amenable to police
first responders is the creation of a safe, non-threatening environment. In his words,
“The first rule of crisis intervention is: no more crisis.” As a police psychologist,
Dr. Webster said that from a review of conducted energy weapon tragedies, it is not
difficult to see numerous violations of this rule.
He recommended that Canadian law enforcement recruits be provided with crisis
intervention training during their basic police training, which usually entails
five to seven days and covers a broad array of topics, including drug awareness,
mental health issues, conflict and crisis theory, crisis intervention, verbal and
non-verbal communication techniques, and experiential exercises.

g. Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
Camia Weaver, a lawyer who serves as justice coordinator for the BC Division of the
Canadian Mental Health Association, told me that in 2003 the association published A
Study in Blue and Grey, dealing with issues and solutions to interactions between
police and people with mental illness. It outlines the best practices in police
interventions and has become a primary resource for the development of
comprehensive programs of police response to persons with mental illness.
In 2005, the association started a Mental Health and Police project, a collaborative
process between police, mental health professionals, consumers, and family members.
It mapped the first response to people with mental illness in the community, the gaps
in that response, and developed action plans. In 2006, that project was expanded
from the original six communities to nine communities.
The association strongly believes that there should be standardized and improved
crisis intervention training for dealing with people with a mental illness. There is very
little such training at the Justice Institute for police recruits and, according to Ms.
Weaver, “There is a philosophical difference, almost an opposition, between the
typical police training, which is command and control, and the tenets of effective

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crisis intervention communication techniques.” Rather than relying on a designated
police cruiser with a psychiatric nurse accompanying the officer (such as Car 87 in
Vancouver and Car 67 in Surrey), best practices suggest that:
[T]he key components for the most effective crisis response include a core of
carefully selected, first-call crisis response officers who are available in all
districts 24 hours a day, seven days a week [with] specialized dispatch because
a number of the issues that come up in terms of crisis response have to do with
the ability for a dispatcher to accurately assess and obtain and provide the
information needed for an effective response.
Interactions with mentally disordered persons are less likely to become combative
when a de-escalating communication approach is used instead of a command and
control approach. This type of crisis intervention team approach has already been
implemented in numerous cities, including Memphis, Portland, and Seattle.
Ms. Weaver told me that research data confirms the benefits of using crisis
intervention team models to reduce injury and death (to the mentally ill and to the
police) and to increase more appropriate outcomes to police interventions.
Ms. Weaver said that when the police first began using conducted energy weapons in
British Columbia in 1999, the BC Division of the association endorsed their use as a less
lethal alternative to deadly force. While the BC Division continues to endorse their
use as a preferred alternative to lethal force options, it is concerned about the
weapon’s placement as an intermediate weapon on the use-of-force continuum, which
means that it is authorized for use at the early stage of active resistance. The division
strongly recommends that conducted energy weapons be used only as an alternative to
deadly force when all other options are exhausted.
She added that “excited delirium” is not a recognized medical condition, but rather a
term used to describe a cluster of symptoms which have not been clearly attributed to
any specific cause. When this cluster of symptoms is present, there is an increased
potential for death. Consequently, policies surrounding conducted energy weapon use
should require that medical personnel be called on an emergency basis before or as
soon as possible after the weapon is used, when these symptoms are present. If it is a

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worst-case scenario where all other methods of crisis intervention have not deescalated the situation and a conducted energy weapon is used as a last resort, it is
essential that officers be ready to move in and restrain the subject after only one
weapon discharge, and that emergency medical personnel be standing by, ready to
move in without delay.

3. Conclusions
From this review, I have reached several conclusions.
First, police officers are called upon, with increasing regularity, to deal with
emotionally disturbed people who display extreme behaviours, including violence,
imperviousness to pain, superhuman strength and endurance, hyperthermia, sweating,
and perceptual disturbances.
Second, such emotionally disturbed people are often at an impaired level of
consciousness; may not know who they are or where they are; may be delusional,
anxious, or frightened; and may be unable to process or comply with an officer’s
commands.
Third, this cluster of behaviours is not a medical condition or a diagnosis. Rather, the
behaviours are more accurately understood as symptoms of a variety of underlying
medical conditions that, in extreme cases, may constitute a medical emergency. For
example, the subject’s extreme fatigue or exhaustion, or metabolic changes, may lead
to cardiac arrest. Similarly, cocaine intoxication may stimulate the heart, leading to
deadly arrhythmias.
Fourth, a police officer encountering an emotionally disturbed person is not trained to
make a medical diagnosis, and it is, in any event, not appropriate to do so. The
officer’s challenge is how to deal with the observable behaviours, whatever the
underlying cause. It is, in my view, not helpful to characterize people displaying these
behaviours as suffering from “excited delirium.”220 Doing so implies that “excited

220 As of February 2009 the RCMP’s Operational Manual no longer uses the term “excited delirium.”

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delirium” is a medical condition or diagnosis, when mental health professionals
uniformly reject that suggestion. To the contrary, I am satisfied from the oral
presentations of several psychiatrists, that the behaviours observed by police officers
are entirely consistent with an extreme form of delirium, which is a recognized
cognitive and brain dysfunction, a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Fifth, it is equally troubling to hear, after a death proximate to conducted energy
weapon use, that it was not the weapon that caused the death, but “excited
delirium.” The danger with that line of reasoning is that the clusters of extreme
behaviours observed by the police did not cause the death any more than extreme
pain causes the death of a burn victim. Assigning responsibility to such symptoms (in
the guise of a diagnosis) conveniently avoids having to examine the underlying medical
condition or conditions that actually caused death, let alone examining whether use of
the conducted energy weapon and/or subsequent measures to physically restrain the
subject contributed to those causes of death.
Sixth, the real challenge facing the policing community, and our policy-makers, is
determining how police officers should respond to such emotionally disturbed people.
The unanimous view of mental health presenters was that the best practice is to deescalate the agitation, which can best be achieved through the application of
recognized crisis intervention techniques. Conversely, the worst possible response is
to aggravate or escalate the crisis, such as by deploying a conducted energy weapon
and/or using force to physically restrain the subject. I was impressed with how
effective these crisis intervention techniques are, and how routinely mental health
professionals use them. It seems clear that the “command and control” philosophy
underlying police recruit training, however appropriate generally, is both
inappropriate and counterproductive when dealing with emotionally disturbed people.
Seventh, even mental health professionals acknowledge that there may be some
extreme circumstances, however rare, when crisis intervention techniques will not be
effective in de-escalating the crisis. In such cases, the ultimate goal must be to get
initial medical treatment (e.g., sedation) to the agitated subject. For that to happen,

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it may be necessary to physically restrain the subject and, for that to happen, it may
be necessary (depending on the factual circumstances) to deploy a conducted energy
weapon. When that happens, best practices indicate that the weapon should be
deployed for the shortest time possible, officers should immediately move in to
restrain the subject, and medical first responders should initiate treatment
immediately following restraint.

F. SUBJECTS WITH OTHER VULNERABILITIES
1. Young and/or physically small subjects
Although there is an understandable aversion to using a conducted energy weapon
against a young person, I am not aware of any evidence indicating that young age by
itself poses a higher medical risk.
Having said that, some of the animal studies discussed earlier show a correlation
between skin-to-heart distance and risk of ventricular fibrillation—as the distance
between the skin and heart decreases, the risk of ventricular fibrillation increases. It
would not be unreasonable to infer from such data that when a conducted energy
weapon is deployed across the chest of an unusually thin subject, there is an increased
risk that the weapon’s electrical current may cause a heart arrhythmia, which could
lead to ventricular tachycardia and/or ventricular fibrillation.
It is not unusual for some teens to be thinner than adults while their bodies are
experiencing rapid growth. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that they may be
more vulnerable to these medical consequences, if subjected to conducted energy
weapon deployment across their chest. However, based on the information before
me, it is their thinness, not their youth, that makes them more vulnerable. Indeed,
the “thinness” concern would logically apply regardless of age. It is my understanding
that commodio cortis is exclusively seen in adolescent children (predominantly boys)
who play baseball or hockey. It has been postulated that the thin chest wall and small

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skin-to-heart distance typical of such children places them at particular risk for
mechanical trauma on the T-wave, causing ventricular fibrillation.

2. Elderly subjects
The evidence indicates that elderly subjects are at greater risk if a conducted energy
weapon is used against them. This increased risk arises from greater likelihood that
elderly people will have underlying medical conditions, which make them more
vulnerable. For example:
• Dr. Lu told me that elderly people have an increased susceptibility to
delirium.
• Mr. Reilly told me that elderly people have a greater incidence of orthopedic
(bone) frailties. Strong muscle contractions triggered by conducted energy
weapon deployment could cause compression fractures, or falling due to
muscle incapacitation could cause limb or hip fractures.
• Several cardiologists told me that people with cardiovascular disease are at a
significantly higher risk of ventricular fibrillation.

3. Pregnant women
Several concerns have been expressed about deploying a conducted energy weapon
against a pregnant woman. For example, deploying the weapon in probe mode across
the woman’s abdomen might trigger muscular spasms that could induce labour, or the
electrical current from the barbs might reach the fetus and trigger an arrhythmia.
While both scenarios appear plausible and several anecdotal accounts suggest a
relationship,221 I am not aware of any research substantiating those concerns.
A related concern arises from the fact that deployment of a conducted energy weapon
in probe mode causes incapacitation and falling to the ground without the subject
having the ability to break the fall. This could pose a particular risk for pregnant
women.

221 See Amnesty International, ‘Less than lethal?’ The Use of Stun Weapons in US Law Enforcement,
(2008), p. 91, available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ AMR51/010/2008/en/65fd4233cb63-11dd-9ec2-e57da9519f8c/amr510102008en.pdf.

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G. RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HOW THE WEAPON IS USED
1. External circumstances
It is not in dispute that deployment of a conducted energy weapon in several
particular external circumstances will increase the risk of injury to the subject or to
others nearby. Deployment in probe mode incapacitates the subject, so the following
high-risk situations have been identified:
• Heights—when the subject is more than a few feet above the ground (e.g.,
on a ladder or roof) and will, if incapacitated, fall to the ground.
• Water—when the subject is in a body of water that is deep enough so that, if
the subject falls into it while incapacitated, the subject may drown.
• Driving or operating machinery—a subject driving a vehicle or operating
machinery will lose control when incapacitated, which could cause injury to
the subject or other people in the vicinity.
There is also a risk that the sparking of a conducted energy weapon could ignite
flammable liquids or gases, such as gasoline, natural gas, or gases found in sewer lines
or methamphetamine labs, or in self-defence sprays that use flammable carriers such
as alcohol. Even some formulations of oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray used by
police officers are flammable.

2. Mode of deployment
a. Push-stun mode
When a conducted energy weapon is used in push-stun mode, the muzzle of the
weapon is pressed against the subject’s skin. When the trigger is pulled, an electrical
current jumps between the two electrodes mounted on opposite sides of the muzzle,
sending the current into the subject’s skin. Because the electrodes are less than five
centimetres apart, the current does not penetrate deeply enough into the subject’s
body to cause neuromuscular incapacitation.

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Everyone agrees that the current is very painful, and often has the desired effect of
persuading the subject to let go of a railing or otherwise achieving compliance through
intense pain.
Because the weapon does not cause incapacitation when used in push-stun mode,
there is little risk of fall-related injuries. However, the manufacturer trains to use
caution when applying the weapon to the neck or groin area, because these areas are
sensitive to mechanical injury, such as crushing the trachea or testicles if the weapon
is applied forcefully.

b. Probe mode
As discussed earlier in this part, there are significantly greater medical risks when a
conducted energy weapon is used in probe mode, including:
• ventricular tachycardia and/or ventricular fibrillation;
• myocardial infarction;
• rupture of a pre-existing aneurysm or heart wall;
• acute stroke;
• impairment of respiration, which could lead to acidosis; and
• rhabdomyolysis (muscle damage) that could lead to cardiac arrest or acute
renal (kidney) failure.
In addition, several presenters cited examples of compressive fractures caused by
severe muscle contractions, limb and hip fractures caused by falling, and injuries to
internal organs (e.g., lung and brain) or to eyes and genitals from probe penetration.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently reported a case222 of a healthy
police officer being accidentally hit by a conducted energy weapon deployed in probe
mode—one barb in his upper back and the other in the occiput (back part of head).
His colleague found him unresponsive and foaming at the mouth. His eyes were rolled
upward and he had generalized tonic-clonic movement (i.e., a generalized seizure
affecting the entire brain) with apnea lasting for about one minute. He was confused
222 Bui, E.T., Sourkes M, and Wennberg, R., “Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure after a Taser Shot to the
Head,” CMAJ March 17, 2008; 180(6).

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and combative in the postictal period. On the Glasgow Coma Scale (three being the
worst and 15 the best), he scored nine within five minutes, increasing to 13 five
minutes later. He returned to work five days later, but experienced persistent
headaches, dizziness, back pain, and chest tightness. He was diagnosed with mild
traumatic brain injury (concussion), in addition to provoked seizure. A psychiatric
consultation seven months after the injury suggested an Axis I diagnosis of adjustment
disorder with depressed and anxious mood. The authors stated, “The taser current
that passed to his brain from the dart in the occiput probably provoked the seizure
directly, with a mechanism akin to that of seizures induced by electroconvulsive
therapy…. It is plausible that a copper dart penetrating the scalp and discharging 95
pulses of 100 micro-coulombs each could trigger a generalized convulsion.”

3. Repetitive deployment
There are several ways in which a conducted energy weapon can be deployed
repetitively:
• When used in push-stun mode, the weapon will discharge an electrical
current for five seconds, and that cycle can be repeated with each
subsequent pull of the trigger.
• When used in probe mode, the weapon will initially discharge an electrical
current for five seconds, and that cycle can be repeated with each
subsequent pull of the trigger.
• After a weapon has been deployed in probe mode, the cartridge can be
removed, and the weapon can be used in push-stun mode.
• Two or more weapons can be deployed against the same subject
simultaneously, in either push-stun or probe mode.
The Commission’s empirical study of conducted energy weapon use in British Columbia
revealed that when used in push-stun mode, the subject was exposed to only one
push-stun deployment in 55 percent of cases, and two such deployments in 26 percent
of cases. The most push-stun deployments experienced by a subject was 14.

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When used in probe mode, the weapon was deployed for one cycle in 64 percent of
cases, and for two cycles in 22 percent of cases. The most probe mode cycles
deployed against one subject was 10.
In approximately 7 percent of cases, a conducted energy weapon was deployed in both
push-stun and probe mode, and the frequency of such dual deployments has more than
doubled since 2000.
Logic would suggest that if a single discharge of a conducted energy weapon,
especially in probe mode, creates a medical risk, then repetitive deployments against
one subject would increase that risk. Dr. John Webster, a biomedical engineer, told
me that animal studies have shown that repetitive deployments increase the risk of
ventricular fibrillation, and these results satisfy him that “there’s no doubt that
multiple tasering is more dangerous than single taserings.”223
With respect to respiration, it has been suggested that involuntary contraction of
respiratory muscles, such as the diaphragm and intercostal muscles surrounding the rib
cage, may impair respiration. In 2005, the BC Police Complaint Commissioner stated
in his TASER Technology Review—Final Report:224
The effect that TASER application has on respiration remains an area of
concern. Muscular tetany that impairs respiration may be an operative factor
that has been previously unrecognized. This concern also relates to the issue
of multiple usages.
There is also a concern that the combination of impaired respiration and muscular
contraction can, in multiple deployments of the weapon, increase the risk of acidosis.
The authors of the Canadian Police Research Centre’s 2005 Review of Conducted
Energy Devices examined the evidence of respiratory impairment and pH changes
resulting from multiple applications of conducted energy weapons, and concluded
that:

223 Transcript, May 5, 2008, p. 78.
224 OPCC File No. 2474, June 14, 2005, p. 12.

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Training protocols, however, should reflect that multiple applications,
particularly continuous cycling of the TASER for periods exceeding 15-20
seconds, may increase the risk to the subject and should be avoided where
practical.225
Until April 2008, the manufacturer acknowledged in its training materials an increased
risk of impaired respiration from multiple deployments. For example, Version 12
(November 2004) and Version 13 (May 2006) of its training materials stated:
TASER applications directly across the chest may cause sufficient muscle
contractions to impair normal breathing patterns. While this is not a
significant concern for short (5 sec) exposure, it may be a more relevant
concern for extended duration applications.
Also, in a June 2005 Training Bulletin, the manufacturer cautioned:226
Repeated, prolonged, and/or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER electrical
discharge may cause strong muscle contractions that may impair breathing and
respiration, particularly when the probes are placed across the chest or
diaphragm. Users should avoid prolonged, extended, uninterrupted discharges
or extensive multiple discharges whenever practicable in order to minimize the
potential for over-exertion of the subject or potential impairment of full ability
to breathe over a protracted time period.
However, the manufacturer’s more recent publications reflect a significant change in
position:
• Version 14 of its training materials state, “Tests show that there are no
adverse effects on heart function or respiration deriving from multiple or
prolonged deployments.”
• An April 2008 Training Bulletin states:227

225 Technical Report TR-01-2006, p. 15.
226 TASER International, Inc., Training Bulletin 12.0-04, TASER Law Enforcement Warnings, Release date
June 28, 2005.
227 TASER International, Inc., Training Bulletin 14.0-03, TASER Law Enforcement Warnings, Release date
April 28, 2008. See http://www.taser.com/training/Documents/Training%20Bulletin%2014-03.pdf.

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The available human data directly contradicts prior animal studies and
does not reveal any evidence of breathing impairment or respiratory
acidosis….
While prolonged muscle activity does produce lactic acid, human studies
of ECD exposures up to 15 seconds (or 3 cycles) have shown that there is
no evidence of metabolic acidosis.
In related reference sheets,228 the manufacturer cites recent studies, including several
by Dr. Ho, in support of its new position. While it may be true that these studies on
human volunteers have not produced evidence of impaired breathing or acidosis, they
fall far short of satisfying me that multiple deployments of a conducted energy
weapon do not have the capacity to increase these medical risks. Being satisfied that
there are medical risks associated with the normal deployment of these weapons (as
discussed earlier in this part), it would be imprudent of me to conclude, based on the
human studies conducted to date, that those risks for some unexplained reason
evaporate in the case of multiple deployments. To the contrary, prudence dictates
that I should proceed on the assumption that multiple deployments increase at least
some of the medical risks identified earlier in this part.
In a recent interview, Dr. Pierre Savard, one of the presenters at our policy hearings,
described the results of his recent statistical analysis of 300 conducted energy
weapon-related deaths reported by Amnesty International and 3,200 RCMP weapon
deployments as compiled by CBC/Radio-Canada and Canadian Press. He stated: “What
is really new here is the high level of relationship between the duration and the risk of
death. It’s a linear relationship. The more you are exposed, if you double the
exposure, you double the risk of death.”229

228 See http://www.taser.com/training/Pages/TrainingResources.aspx.
229 "Hit him again: Are two blasts from a Taser more dangerous than one? What about five?” CBC News
(March 25, 2009). See http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/special_feature/a_deadly_landing/
the_taser_test_1.html.

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H. THE IMPACT OF WEAPON USE ON INJURIES AND FATALITIES
1. Introduction
While much of the discussion in this part has focused on identifying the medical risks
associated with use of conducted energy weapons, it is important to balance that
discussion with an acknowledgment of the benefits accruing from their use.
Thomas Smith, the chairman of TASER International, Inc., told me that 350,000
officers in 12,750 agencies in more than 40 countries use their weapon, with nearly
550,000 actual field uses. In the vast majority of cases, the officer achieves
compliance (through pain or incapacitation) with only minor injury or no injury at all
to the subject.
The manufacturer goes further. Mr. Smith told me that use of conducted energy
weapons reduces officer injuries, reduces subject injuries, reduces the incidence of
resorting to lethal force, and reduces professional standards complaints alleging
excessive force. For example, according to the manufacturer’s data, officer injuries
have dropped between 23 and 83 percent in eight American cities, while suspect
injuries have dropped between 24 and 80 percent.230

2. The experience in British Columbia
There is no data readily available in British Columbia applicable specifically to
conducted energy weapons, and I am reluctant to extrapolate the American
experience, as reported by the manufacturer, to the Canadian context.

230 The data provided by the manufacturer gives no indication of who conducted the studies that
produced these results, or what methodology was followed. In addition, the data gives no indication of
the experience in all other cities—have they experienced similar, better, or worse outcomes? Researchers
at the University of Central Florida criticized these studies as deriving from “weak research designs that
reduce confidence in the validity of the results.” See Adams, Kenneth and Victoria Jennison, “What We
Do Not Know About Police Use of Tasers,” (2007) 30:3 Policing: An International Journal of Police
Strategies & Management, 447 at 461.

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Consequently, the Commission obtained data from the Vancouver Police Department
and WorkSafe BC (formerly Workers Compensation Board) regarding work-related
injury claims made by police officers, sheriffs and bailiffs, and correctional workers.
Commission researchers were able to extract arrest-related injuries from data
supplied by the Vancouver Police Department, and then matched them to workers’
compensation claims made by department employees. The analysis shows no
significant difference in arrest-related injuries in the six years immediately preceding
introduction of the weapon (in 2000) and in the eight years that the weapon has been
used (see Graph 3).

Graph 3: Arrest-related officer injuries in Vancouver Police Department
Arrest-related Officer Injuries within the VPD by Year

Number of Officer Injuries (extrapoloated to 12 months for years
missing data)

180

160

140

120

100

80

60

40

20

0
1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Year

The results did not change when increases in the authorized strength of the
department during this period were taken into account (see Graph 4).

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Graph 4: Ratio of number of VPD officer injuries to authorized strength
Ratio of Number of VPD Officer Injuries to Authorized Strength of the VPD per Year
0.16

Ratio (number of injuries per authorized strength)

0.14

0.12

0.1

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0
1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Year

Commission researchers also examined WorkSafe BC tables listing the number of
occupational injuries, sorted by occupation and by type of injury, for the years 1997 to
2006, which includes provincially regulated law enforcement agencies. They tallied
this data, isolating those types of injuries that most likely captured confrontational
situations with civilian suspects (e.g., biting, kicking, stabbing).
In the case of police officers (Graph 5) and correctional service officers (Graph 6),
there is no obvious consistent decline in arrest-related injuries since conducted energy
weapons were introduced between 1998 and 2003. In the case of sheriffs and bailiffs
(Graph 7) there has been a dramatic reduction in injuries beginning in 2003, two years
after conducted energy weapons were introduced. However, I approach that data
with caution, given the small number of claims.

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Graph 5: WorkSafe BC injury claims by police officers

Wol1<S.f. BC InjuryCllIims by PO~Q' Offill....

-

..

-

•

Graph 6: WorkSafe BC injury claims by correctional service officers

-----

..
•

---

F==
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,_

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Graph 7: WorkSafe BC injury claims by sheriffs and bailiffs

WorkSaf. Be Injury Claim. by Sh.rilfI; & BlIl1itf"

.. 1-----1

3. Canadian studies
The Canadian Police Research Centre is currently sponsoring a study comparing injury
rates resulting from conducted energy weapon use with injury rates resulting from the
application of other use-of-force techniques, such as batons and pepper spray. The
study is scheduled for release in 2009, after peer review.

4. International studies
A British study found that officer and subject injury rates associated with deployment
of the X26 conducted energy weapon were lower than injury rates for pepper spray
and baton use (and, in the case of subject injuries, use of police dogs).231 The authors
acknowledged weaknesses in the data provided by the manufacturer. It was collected
from law enforcement agencies on a voluntary basis using an incentive scheme, there
231 Jenkinson, E., et al., “The Relative Risk of Police Use-of-Force Options: Evaluating the Potential for
Deployment of Electronic Weaponry,” (2006) 13 Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine 229.

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was no control mechanism ensuring that agencies provided complete records, and
some police agencies prohibit the release of such data altogether.
Criminologists at the University of South Carolina examined data on 1,645 use-of-force
incidents from the Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida and the Richland County
Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina, between 2002 and 2006. The results were
mixed.232 In the case of one agency, the use of conducted energy weapons was
associated with reduced odds of officer and suspect injury, and reduced severity of
suspect injury. In the other agency, conducted energy weapon use was unrelated to
the odds of injury, although the use of pepper spray was associated with reduced odds
of suspect injury. The researchers also found that in both agencies the use of handson tactics by police was associated with increased odds of officer and suspect injury,
and the use of canines was associated with increased odds of suspect injury. They
suggested that a variety of factors affect the number of injuries associated with
conducted energy weapon use, including agency type, agency size, amount of training,
placement of these weapons on the use-of-force continuum, and use-of-force policy
language.
A study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Justice, completed in 2008, examined
the incidence and severity of injuries associated with conducted energy weapon use.233
Described as the first prospective large-scale multicentre observational trial,
researchers collected data on 1,201 conducted energy weapon incidents from six law
enforcement agencies across the U.S.A. They categorized subject injuries as none,
mild, moderate, and severe. The results are set out in Table 13.

232 Smith, M.R., et al., “The Impact of Conducted Energy Devices and Other Types of Force and
Resistance on Officer and Suspect Injuries,” (2007) 30 Policing: An International Journal of Police
Strategies & Management 423. See http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;
jsessionid=AC1A5B39140D3CE95B105B699B9A294D?contentType=Article&contentId=1622104.
233 Bozeman, William P., et al., “Safety and Injury Profile of Conducted Electrical Weapons Used by Law
Enforcement Officers Against Criminal Suspects,” to be published in Annals of Emergency Medicine; see
http://www.acep.org/pressroom.aspx?id=43742.

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Table 13: Severity of injuries associated with conducted energy weapon
use
Severity of injury
No injury
Mild injury*
Moderate injury
Severe injury

Number
938
260
2
1

Percentage
78.1
21.6
0.2
0.1

*“Mild” injury was defined broadly to include puncture wounds, contusions, lacerations, other
soft tissue injuries, fractures, a broken tooth, and an epistaxis (nosebleed).

Two of the three subjects who experienced moderate or severe injuries suffered head
injuries sustained from falls, and the third involved a case of rhabdomyolysis. In
addition, two subjects died within minutes of a second weapon discharge. They both
had struggled violently with the police before and after conducted energy weapon use,
and physical force was used to take them into custody. According to medical
examiners, weapon use was not determined to be causal or contributory to either
death. The researchers concluded, in part:
Although this study of 1,201 consecutive conducted electrical weapon uses with
subsequent medical screening does not document any cases with an immediate
fatal collapse suggesting conducted electrical weapon-induced dysrhythmia,
the possibility is not excluded.
With respect to the two subjects who collapsed and died soon after a second weapon
discharge (five and 20 minutes respectively), both were agitated, one had a history of
mental illness with a high level of an antipsychotic drug in his blood while the other
had cocaine in his blood, both struggled extensively with officers, and one was
restrained in the prone position. They are both instances of “death proximate to
conducted energy weapon use.” Regardless of whether the weapon’s electrical
current can be shown to have caused or contributed to the deaths, they reflect a
commonly recurring pattern of subject behaviour and officer response leading to
unexpected death.
This study did not purport to address the issue of whether the use of conducted energy
weapons reduces injuries to officers and subjects. Another study funded by the
National Institute of Justice, and currently underway, goes this next step, by

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investigating the relationship between various police use-of-force techniques and their
outcomes.234 It includes an analysis of injuries, before and after adoption of
conducted energy weapons, from police departments in Orlando, Florida, and Austin,
Texas. Although the full study has not yet been published, a summary presented to
the National Institute of Justice in July 2008 included the statement that “the use of
TASERS significantly reduced injuries to officers and citizens.”235

5. Deaths
Advocates of conducted energy weapons contend that in some circumstances the
weapon can be used as an alternative to a firearm, thereby saving lives. During the
public forums I heard many anecdotal accounts of real-life situations in which a
conducted energy weapon was successfully deployed against a subject armed with a
weapon. In many of these accounts, the implication was that if a conducted energy
weapon had not been used, a firearm would have been, with deadly consequences. I
approach this line of reasoning cautiously, because it is speculative—we do not know
whether other use-of-force techniques would have been effective, or whether the
factual circumstances may have suddenly changed.
If the advent of conducted energy weapons has resulted in fewer subjects being shot
by police officers, one would expect that change to be reflected in police-shooting
data. Commission researchers examined statistics compiled by the BC Coroners
Service showing the number of police-shooting deaths in BC between 1992 and 2007
(see Graph 8). This data shows a modest increase, not a decline, since the
introduction of conducted energy weapons, and the results do not change when
population increases are taken into account (see Graph 9). Given the small numbers
involved, it would be unwise to generalize from this limited data.

234 Smith, M.R., et al., “A Multi-Method Evaluation of Police Use of Force Outcomes,” July 2008 [not yet
published].
235 Ibid., slide 13.

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Graph 8: Number of police-shooting deaths in British Columbia

~mber

of c..ttl, Rellted to

.]-----------.....
Police Shooting, per Ve., In Be (1992_2007)

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2002 2OCO 2000l

20Jli

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2007

Graph 9: Number of police-shooting deaths in British Columbia, per capita

~mber of De.ttl, Related to
Police Shootings pet capitllin Be (1992_2007)

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It is noteworthy that a recent analysis of RCMP data led the Commission for Public
Complaints Against the RCMP to conclude: “The nature of the circumstances that gave
rise to CEW usage reports generally does not support the members’ claims that CEW
use assisted in avoiding lethal force in more than half of all CEW incidents in 2008.”236
A recent American study237 collected data by survey from police and sheriff’s
departments about unexpected in-custody deaths during non-lethal force situations in
50 moderate-sized California cities. It tabulated the number of deaths per 100,000
arrests during the five years preceding deployment of conducted energy weapons,
during the year of deployment, and during the five years after deployment. The
analysis took into account fluctuations in the number of arrests from year to year.
A similar analysis was done of lethal force (officer firearm-related) deaths. The
results are summarized in Table 14.

Table 14: In-custody deaths per 100,000 arrests, before and after
deployment of conducted energy weapons
Deployment years of conducted
energy weapons
1-5 years before deployment
Year of deployment
First full year after deployment
2-5 years after deployment

In-custody deaths per
100,000 arrests
0.93
0.61
5.96
1.44

Lethal force deaths
per 100,000 arrests
6.6
14.1
15.1
9.1

The analysis showed a statistically significant increase in deaths in the first full year
after deployment (and in the year of deployment, in lethal force deaths). Death rates
then decreased to pre-deployment levels after the first full year of deployment, which
the researchers explained as follows:
We speculate that early liberal use of Tasers may have contributed to these
findings, possibly escalating some confrontations to the point that firearms
were necessary. The later decrease in sudden deaths and [lethal force deaths]
236 RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): January 1, 2008, Special Report dated March 31,
2009, p. 31, available at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/prr/rep/sir/cew-ai-09-eng.aspx#sum.
237 Lee, Byron K., et al., “Relation of Taser (Electrical Stun Gun) Deployment to Increase in In-Custody
Sudden Deaths,” (2009) 103:6 Am. J. Cardio. 877.

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may reflect recognition of the adverse consequences of Taser application by
law enforcement agencies, leading to an adjustment of usage and/or
techniques to result in the observed decrease in the 2 events to predeployment levels.
I find this study valuable for several reasons. First, it is the kind of large-scale analysis
that is needed if we are to make progress in quantifying the risks associated with the
use of conducted energy weapons. Second, it reveals that the incidence of in-custody
deaths did not drop following introduction of conducted energy weapons in these 50
communities. Third, the incidence of in-custody deaths is approximately one in
100,000 arrests, a ratio that must be borne in mind when balancing the benefits and
risks in deploying these weapons.
The U.S. National Institute of Justice is currently conducting a study to address
whether conducted energy weapons can contribute to or cause mortality and, if so, in
what ways. A medical panel is conducting an undisclosed number of mortality reviews
of conducted energy weapon-related deaths, and is reviewing the current state of
medical research relative to the effects of such weapons. In its June 2008 Interim
Report,238 the medical panel’s consensus view included the following findings:
• Although the exposure to conducted energy weapons is not risk free, there is
no conclusive medical evidence within the state of current research that
indicates a high risk of serious injury or death from the direct effects of
weapon exposure.
• There is no medical evidence that weapons pose a significant risk for induced
cardiac dysrhythmia when deployed reasonably, or that exposure produces
sufficient metabolic or physiological effects to produce abnormal cardiac
rhythms in normal, healthy adults. However, thin stature and dart
placement in the chest may lower the safety margin for cardiac dysrhythmia.
• All aspects of an altercation constitute stress that may represent a
heightened risk in individuals who have pre-existing cardiac or other
significant disease.
• “Excited delirium” that requires restraint carries with it a high risk of death,
regardless of the method of restraint. Current human research suggests that
the use of a conducted energy weapon is not a life-threatening stressor in
238 National Institute of Justice Special Report, Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption:
Interim Report, available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/222981.pdf.

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cases of “excited delirium” beyond the generalized stress of the underlying
condition or appropriate mode of restraint.
• The purported safety margins of weapon deployment on normal, healthy
adults may not be applicable in small children, those with diseased hearts,
elderly people, those who are pregnant, and other at-risk individuals. The
effects of weapon exposure in these populations are not clearly understood,
and deployment against these populations should be avoided but may be
necessary if the situation excludes other reasonable options.
• The medical risks of repeated or continuous weapon exposure are unknown
and the role of such weapons in causing death is unclear in such cases.
Caution is urged in using multiple activations of the weapon as a means of
subduing a subject.
• Exposure is safe in the vast majority of cases, so law enforcement need not
refrain from deploying weapons, provided they are used in accordance with
accepted national standards. The decision whether or not to deploy a
conducted energy weapon is best left to the tactical judgment of trained law
enforcement at the scene.

6. Observations
I am reluctant to draw firm conclusions from the data and studies cited above. It is
notoriously difficult to isolate a particular weapon’s impact on injuries and deaths,
when so many variables are at play. Further, no one knows how a police intervention
would have turned out, had a conducted energy weapon not been available.239 As
Vancouver Police Department Deputy Chief Constable Bob Rich so aptly put it, the
police don’t have a “fixed control environment.”240
Having said that, it would not be surprising if injuries to police officers are reduced
when a conducted energy weapon is used in place of another use-of-force weapon or
technique. Experience suggests that, by deploying conducted energy weapons,
officers can frequently avoid (or at least minimize) physical altercations with subjects.
What is not so clear is whether injuries to subjects are reduced and, if so, to what
extent. In many cases, a conducted energy weapon causes less injury than would a
baton or a police dog, but that benefit must be balanced against the risk (however
239 Transcript, May 14, 2008, p. 45.
240 Transcript, May 14, 2008, p. 46.

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small) of death or serious injury from everything from a fall to ventricular fibrillation.
This calls for a risk-benefit analysis, which I will discuss in the next part.

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Recommendations

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A.

INTRODUCTION .................................................................. 289

B.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES............................................................ 289
1.
2.
3.
4.

The police are subject to civilian authority .........................................289
The police must be given appropriate tools to do their job ......................290
The police should use the least force necessary, to manage the risk...........290
The use of force must be proportionate to the seriousness of the situation ..291

C.

DO WE HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT CONDUCTED ENERGY
WEAPONS?........................................................................ 291

D.

SHOULD BC ALLOW USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS? ............ 293

E.

THRESHOLDS FOR USE.......................................................... 294
1.
2.

Seriousness of the matter ..............................................................294
The subject’s behaviour ................................................................297
a.
General rule ....................................................................297
b.
Subject self-harm..............................................................311

F.

MULTIPLE DEPLOYMENTS ...................................................... 311

G.

OTHER PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES .......................................... 314
1.
2.
3.
4.

Requesting paramedic assistance .....................................................314
Automated external defibrillators ....................................................315
Distinguishing between push-stun and probe mode deployments ...............316
Which officers should be assigned conducted energy weapons? .................316

H.

PROVINCIAL REGULATION...................................................... 318

I.

TRAINING AND RE-TRAINING................................................... 319

J.

CERTIFICATION AND TESTING OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS ...... 321
1.
2.
3.

Certification ..............................................................................321
Periodic testing ..........................................................................323
Testing after a serious injury or death...............................................324

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K.

REPORTING ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE ....................... 325

L.

THE NEED FOR FURTHER RESEARCH.......................................... 329

M.

FUTURE REVIEW ................................................................. 332

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A. INTRODUCTION
The Terms of Reference established by the provincial government to guide this
Commission’s work (set out in Appendix A) direct me to make recommendations
respecting the appropriate use of conducted energy weapons by police officers,
sheriffs, and correctional officers, and respecting appropriate training and re-training
of such persons. I will address these issues in this part.

B. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
In the preceding parts I have summarized the voluminous materials that the
Commission has accumulated relating to use of conducted energy weapons, including
oral presentations by experts in a wide range of fields; the legal, regulatory, and
policy framework within which these weapons are used; recruit and officer training;
British Columbia’s experience with use of these weapons; and the complex medical
issues surrounding their use.
Before formulating my recommendations, I will set out several guiding principles that
informed my analysis. I do so because I believe it is important that I, and those who
act on my Report, bring a principled approach to these important issues. It is not an
overstatement to say that people’s lives depend on when and how conducted energy
weapons are deployed. The public deserves to know not only what the rules are, but
on what basis they were arrived at.

1. The police are subject to civilian authority
In Part 4, I quoted an excerpt from then-Justice Wally Oppal’s 1994 Policing in British
Columbia report, which bears repeating:
Thus in a system of responsible government, the police are ultimately
accountable to civilian authority. This fundamental tenet of a liberal
democracy distinguishes Canada from totalitarian or dictatorial states in which

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the police are either accountable only to the executive branch or, in extreme
cases, to no other authority at all.
While police officers have a legal duty to carry out their tasks in accordance with
standards set by the legislative and executive branches of government, there is an
equally onerous duty on civilian authority to set such standards in the first instance.
Ignoring this responsibility, or delegating it to the police, would be an abdication of a
fundamental element of our liberal democratic system.

2. The police must be given appropriate tools to do their job
In my 50-year career as a lawyer and judge, I have seen a profound change in our
society. With the proliferation of guns, drugs, and organized crime, a police officer’s
job has become far more demanding and much more dangerous. Those who answered
the call to fight crime now find themselves spending more and more of their time
mediating domestic disputes and dealing with people overwrought from serious
addictions and mental illness.
We expect a lot of our police officers, and it is only reasonable that we should give
them the best tools available to do their job. These “tools” include, but are certainly
not limited to, weapons. Officers need the best training available, which these days
must include learning how to respond appropriately to people who are emotionally
disturbed or intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, or both.

3. The police should use the least force necessary, to manage the risk
The corollary is, of course, equally true. Because we give police officers extraordinary
powers of search, arrest, and use of lethal force, we are entitled to expect that they
will use these powers prudently and with restraint. The Criminal Code sets a timehonoured (albeit general) standard that allows an officer to use reasonable force, but
punishes excessive force.

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4. The use of force must be proportionate to the seriousness of the
situation
Our society has, over the centuries, developed sophisticated systems of
proportionality. For example, in sentencing offenders we say, “Let the punishment fit
the crime.” The same notion of proportionality should hold true for a police officer’s
use of force—it should be proportionate to the seriousness of the situation. Deciding
what is proportionate has a subjective component, grounded in our society’s values,
including fairness, personal safety, and respect for the individual.

C. DO WE HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT CONDUCTED
ENERGY WEAPONS?
Notwithstanding the voluminous materials that this Commission has reviewed,
including a constant stream of new medical studies, several presenters told me that in
their view I should proceed cautiously. For example, the executive director of the BC
Civil Liberties Association said, “Given the scientific uncertainty that exists today, and
consistent with a cautionary approach, we actually have urged a moratorium on the
use of these weapons.”241
To the same effect, Hilary Homes of Amnesty International said:
Amnesty’s main recommendation continues to be to suspend all transfers and
use of TASERS and other similar electroshock weapons pending a rigorous,
independent and impartial study into the use and effects….
Why this continues to be our position after all these years comes back to the
ongoing lack of knowledge around the use and effects of conducted energy
devices such as TASERS on vulnerable groups. Central to human rights
protection is looking out for the vulnerable in society without discrimination,
whether we like them or not and even if they themselves are breaking the
rules. When the available information is not definitive either way, we say it’s

241 Transcript, May 23, 2008, p. 34.

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better to pull the device from use. Study, re-evaluate, adapt, and then
redeploy.242
Dr. Chambers, a Vancouver physician and epidemiologist who reviewed the medical
literature at my request, stated during his presentation:243
But at the end of the day we have animal studies and volunteer studies that
don’t represent the real world and don’t measure the magnitude of the harms
or benefits.
We’ve talked about the relatively small sample sizes relative to the low event
rates; the fact that there’s no meta-analysis, no systematic abuse, no
controlled trials on a population for which TASER use has been designed. There
are anecdotal reports and police data have pointed to benefits. However,
there’s no standardized database or validated and published studies that
accurately measure benefits that I could identify based on the current use….
So where are we right now? In my mind we have no idea of the relative risk of
death in a large population due to TASER use. A significant risk could be being
missed due to a lack of study in the real world. We really have no handle on
what other injuries associated with TASER use might also be important—
standing fractures, falling fractures, spinal cord injury, brain injury—as these
are not being routinely followed in a systematic way.
When this Commission began, I had reservations about our current state of knowledge.
However, I have learned a great deal from experts who made presentations during our
public forums, and from our Commission’s survey of the medical and scientific
literature. At the same time, I agree with Dr. Chambers’ assessment of the
inadequacy of medical studies to date and, later in this part, I will discuss in more
detail the need for further research. Notwithstanding the shortcomings identified by
Dr. Chambers and others, I am satisfied that our understanding of conducted energy
weapons, about some subjects’ medical vulnerabilities, and about police best
practices when dealing with emotionally disturbed people is growing year by year.
Do we as a society now know enough about these matters to make important decisions
relating to the use of conducted energy weapons? In my judgement we do, although I

242 Transcript, May 15, 2008, pp. 27-28.
243 Transcript, May 23, 2008, p. 22.

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would qualify that statement by saying that we should proceed with caution, as
critical research is still missing.
There is, of course, much more to learn. That will take time, but I do not think that it
would serve the public interest to postpone making fundamental decisions about the
use of conducted energy weapons until we know more. We now know enough in order
to proceed.

D. SHOULD BC ALLOW USE OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS?
The threshold question which I must address is whether British Columbia should allow
police officers and other law enforcement agencies to use conducted energy weapons?
Those opposed cite the more than 300 deaths in the United States, and at least 25 in
Canada, that were “proximate to TASER use,” and argue that the weapon must be
implicated to some degree in those deaths. Those in favour point to the weapon’s
effectiveness in incapacitating violent subjects, and the hundreds of thousands of
deployments which did not result in death or lasting injury.
Answering the posed question calls for an exercise in judgement, after reviewing the
evidence that exists and weighing the risks and benefits. As I stated in Part 9, I am
satisfied that conducted energy weapons do have the capacity (even in healthy adult
subjects) to cause heart arrhythmia, which can lead to ventricular tachycardia and/or
fibrillation which, if not treated immediately, can cause death, and that risk increases
in certain circumstances, such as when the subject has certain pre-existing medical
conditions or is in a fragile emotional state. However, it is equally clear that there
are ways to ameliorate those risks, which I will discuss in more detail later in this part.
At the same time, there can be no doubt that in the great majority of deployments,
the conducted energy weapon is effective. In many cases, merely displaying the
weapon achieves compliance. At the other end of the spectrum, use of this weapon in
lethal force situations may well have saved lives, although I recognize the difficulty in
quantifying that benefit.

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Conducted energy weapons have been a part of the police arsenal in British Columbia
for almost a decade. While there may be much to argue about when it comes to how
the weapon has been deployed in some factual circumstances, I am satisfied that, on
balance, our society is better off with these weapons in use, than without them.
However, my support for their use is conditional. As I will discuss in more detail later
in this part, the medical risks associated with the use of conducted energy weapons
necessitate significant changes in when, and the way in which, they are deployed. If
my recommendations on these matters are implemented, then I am confident that the
public will be well served by including conducted energy weapons in the arsenal of our
law enforcement agencies. If they are not, then I cannot support their use.

E. THRESHOLDS FOR USE
1. Seriousness of the matter
Are there some circumstances in which use of a conducted energy weapon should
never be allowed? During our public forums, several presenters cited examples in
support of this proposition:
• Deputy Chief Allen of the Transit Authority Police told me that its policy
would not justify use of a conducted energy weapon against a fare evader;
and
• Interim Chief Naughton of the Victoria Police Department said that he would
be horrified if an officer used a conducted energy weapon on a jaywalker
who was walking away from an officer.
To the contrary, the conducted energy weapon coordinator for the Vancouver Police
Department told me that it does not matter whether an officer is arresting a subject
for a Liquor Act violation, for shoplifting, for bank robbery, or for murder—“Our
purpose for using it would be based on the behaviour of our subject, for whatever
reason we are apprehending them or arresting them,” regardless of the underlying
offence.244
244 Transcript, May 8, 2008, p. 51.

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These statements suggest that even within the policing community there are widely
divergent views on whether there are some circumstances in which use of a conducted
energy weapon should never be allowed. I suspect that these varying views find their
way into recruit training and into how the weapon is actually deployed on our streets,
leading to inconsistent application among municipal police forces and other law
enforcement agencies.
Resolving this issue requires a consideration of proportionality. One the one hand, we
expect police officers to enforce the law, which includes everything from municipal
bylaws to indictable offences under the Criminal Code. What is an officer to do, if a
person found committing even a minor offence refuses to identify himself or herself?
In such circumstances, the officer may be justified in detaining or arresting the person
in order to confirm their identity. If the person tries to run away, is the officer
justified in deploying a conducted energy weapon, given that running away falls within
the definition of active resistance?
On the other hand, I am satisfied from the evidence before me that conducted energy
weapons cause intense pain, incapacitate the subject, and have the capacity to cause
the subject’s death. Surely there must be some “subject matter” threshold, below
which use of a conducted energy weapon cannot be justified. In terms of a subject’s
behaviours, both the National Use of Force Framework and the RCMP’s Incident
Management/Intervention Model set that threshold at “active resistance.” However,
both are silent on other important parameters, such as the seriousness of the matter.
In my view, this is an important gap that must be filled.
In the same way that “the punishment must fit the crime,” a police officer’s use of
force must be commensurate with the seriousness of the matter at issue. When a
police chief is horrified at the thought of a jaywalker having a conducted energy
weapon deployed against them, or the public is outraged at the allegation of similar
treatment to transit fare evaders, these are valuable barometers of our society’s
commitment to proportionality.

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In my view, proportionality requires that a “subject matter” threshold be established,
before use of a conducted energy weapon is justified. This is uncharted territory—as
far as I know, no Canadian jurisdiction has addressed this issue.
In British Columbia, three levels of government enact laws that impose obligations on
citizens. Municipalities pass bylaws, the provincial legislature enacts provincial
statutes that are principally regulatory in nature, and the federal parliament enacts
federal legislation that is either regulatory or creates crimes, which may be less
serious (summary conviction) or more serious (indictable).
Given that the intended purpose of a conducted energy weapon is to inflict intense
pain and cause incapacitation, and given its capacity to cause injury or death, I am
satisfied that proportionality requires that a fairly high “subject matter” threshold be
set. I would preclude deployment of a conducted energy weapon during enforcement
of municipal bylaws, provincial laws, and federal regulatory laws, and restrict its use
to truly criminal offences.
This will not unduly hamper the ability of police officers to do their job:
• Even if an officer is investigating a matter that falls below my proposed
threshold, the subject’s response to the officer (e.g., resisting the officer’s
attempts to arrest the subject in order to establish the subject’s identity)
may itself constitute a criminal offence (e.g., assault, assault of a peace
officer, or resisting or willfully obstructing a peace officer in the execution
of his or her duty) that places the situation above my proposed threshold.
• An officer will still have recourse to all investigative measures and force
options that were available before the advent of conducted energy weapons.
I am also satisfied that a similar “criminal offence” threshold should apply to sheriffs
and correctional officers. The Commission’s empirical analysis of these agencies’ use
of conducted energy weapons reveals that deployment occurs most frequently during a
prisoner’s extraction from or placement into a cell, during a cell or prisoner search, or
during a prisoner transfer. Applying the proportionality principle to these situations, I
do not think that use of this weapon is justified if the subject’s only action is yelling or
verbally abusive language. In my view, the same “criminal offence” threshold should
apply to these officers as well.

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Recommendation 1
I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies be authorized to deploy a conducted energy weapon only in
relation to enforcement of a federal criminal law.
2. The subject’s behaviour
a. General rule
What threshold of subject behaviour should be required before an officer is justified in
deploying a conducted energy weapon? At present, this weapon is classified in British
Columbia as an intermediate weapon, and consequently the National Use of Force
Framework permits use in the face of “active resistance.” Most provincially regulated
law enforcement agencies adopt this subject behaviour threshold.
With respect to the RCMP, its policy includes the conducted energy weapon as an
intermediate weapon which, according to the Incident Management/Intervention
Model, authorizes use in the face of “active resistance.” However, its February 2009
policy amendment adds a further requirement that the subject’s behaviour also poses
“a threat to officer or public safety.”
Although the term “active resistance” implies some form of active engagement with or
against the officer, the definitions capture a broader range of conduct that belies any
form of “resistance,” let alone “active” resistance. They state:
The National Use of Force Framework
Active Resistance—the subject uses non-assaultive physical action to resist, or
while resisting an officer’s lawful direction. Examples would include pulling
away to prevent or escape control, or overt movements such as walking
toward, or away from an officer. Running away is another example of active
resistance.245
RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model
Active Resistance—the person demonstrates resistance to control by the police
officer through behaviours such as pulling away, pushing away or running away.
This can include a situation where a police officer activates a police vehicle’s
245 Ibid., see footnote 58, p. 7.

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emergency equipment and the suspect fails to stop and attempts to evade
apprehension by driving evasively.246
Under both these formulations, the focus is on the officer attempting to exercise
control or direction over the subject, and on the subject walking toward the officer or
pulling away, pushing away, or running away from the officer.
Police officers who made presentations during our public forums uniformly spoke in
favour of retaining this subject behaviour threshold. However, in 2008 several public
agencies published reports recommending that the threshold be raised from “active
resistance” to “assaultive.” They include:
• Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP;
• House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National
Security;
• Nova Scotia Advisory Panel to the Minister of Justice;
• Compliance Strategy Group (Kiedrowski Report) to the RCMP; and
• Saskatchewan Ombudsman.247
Both use-of-force frameworks include this “assaultive” level of subject behaviours,
which is higher than “active resistance,” but lower than “grievous bodily harm or
death” (which justifies the use of lethal force). They state:
National Use of Force Framework
Assaultive—the subject attempts to apply, or applies force to any person;
attempts or threatens by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if
he/she has, or causes that other person to believe upon reasonable grounds
that he/she has, present ability to effect his/her purpose. Examples include
kicking and punching, but may also include aggressive body language that
signals an intent to assault.248
RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model
Assaultive—the person attempts or threatens to apply force to anyone, e.g.,
punching, kicking, clenching fists with intent to hurt or resists, threats of an

246 Ibid., see footnote 63.
247 See Part 8 for summaries of these and several other reports.
248 Ibid., see footnote 58, pp. 7-8.

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assault. In the case of a person operating a vehicle, they attempt to collide
with the police vehicle, another vehicle or a pedestrian.249
In my view, several matters must be considered before deciding what threshold of
subject behaviour to recommend—the medical risks as we currently understand them,
and proportionality, which necessitates a discussion of Canadian values.
i.

Medical risks

I reviewed the medical evidence in Part 9. It may be useful to summarize here the
main conclusions that I drew from that review:
• An external electrical current can overtake the human body’s internal
electrical system, resulting in ventricular capture, which may lead to
ventricular tachycardia and, in some cases, ventricular fibrillation.
• There is evidence that the electrical current from a conducted energy
weapon is capable of triggering ventricular capture.
• Although the results from animal studies should be approached with caution,
it is safe to draw several conclusions from these studies that can be
extrapolated to humans:
o The greatest risk of ventricular fibrillation arises when the weapon’s
probes are vectored across the heart; and
o The risk of ventricular fibrillation increases as the tips of the probes
get closer to the wall of the heart.
• There is a short “window” during the heart’s normal beat cycle (the T-wave)
when the heart is most vulnerable to an external electrical shock. During
this period, current pulses 25 or more times lower than at other times in the
heart cycle may induce fibrillation.
• There are some circumstances in which the risk of ventricular fibrillation may
increase, including:
o Heart disease—people with cardiovascular disease are at a
significantly higher risk of ventricular fibrillation, for several
reasons—diseased hearts are much more vulnerable to arrhythmias,
scar tissue interrupts the normal flow of electrical currents around
the heart, and the shock and intense pain that a subject experiences
may cause the heart to beat faster and more forcefully, placing
greater strain on the heart wall, which is dangerous for people with

249 Ibid., see footnote 63.

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chronic high blood pressure or for people suffering from congestive
heart failure.
o Thin subjects—people with an unusually thin chest skin-to-heart
distance are at greater risk for ventricular fibrillation.
o Subject’s response—even in healthy subjects, the pain, anxiety, and
stress associated with conducted energy weapon use will stimulate
the heart through an outpouring of the sympathetic nervous system
and an outpouring of adrenaline. The heart beats faster, blood
pressure increases, and the electrical properties of heart muscle
cells are altered, making the heart more prone to developing
dangerous arrhythmias.
• The intense muscle contractions resulting from the weapon’s electrical
current can lead to ventricular fibrillation due to two mechanisms:
o The contractions may result in the buildup of lactic acid and carbon
dioxide in the blood. This lowers the blood pH, thereby increasing
acidity, which may lead to acidosis. This affects the electrolyte
balance, especially potassium, and the electrical triggering of the
heart, making the heart more susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.
o The contractions can cause muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis),
contributing to an increase in potassium levels that may electrically
imbalance the heart.
Although ventricular fibrillation is the greatest concern, there are other medical risks
associated with use of a conducted energy weapon, including:
• Ventricular tachycardia—electrical current can overtake the human body’s
internal electrical system, resulting in ventricular capture which may lead to
ventricular tachycardia and which may also lead to ventricular fibrillation.
This can happen at almost any part of the heartbeat cycle and, in the case of
prolonged weapon discharge, can capture the heart for the duration of the
discharge.
• Myocardial infarction (heart attack)—there is evidence that electrical
current can cause coronary artery spasm, leading to myocardial infarction.
Alternatively, stress and anxiety resulting from the weapon’s discharge will
inevitably increase the heart rate and result in a greater oxygen demand.
Subjects with pre-existing coronary artery disease have a significantly
reduced capacity to supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood, which
may lead to ischemia or, in severe cases, myocardial infarction.
• Implanted pacemakers and defibrillators—these devices deliver their
electrical currents directly into the heart by way of metal leads running from

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the devices into the heart muscles. Researchers have raised several
concerns:
o The wires may conduct the current from the conducted energy
weapon directly into the heart, in which case much less current
would be required to trigger an arrhythmia.
o The weapon’s current might override the device’s current.
o The device might interpret the weapon’s current as ventricular
fibrillation, causing the defibrillator to emit an electrical current
inappropriately.
o The weapon’s current might damage the implanted device.
• Blood pressure—an increase in a subject’s heart rate, leading to increased
blood pressure, could cause an acute stroke, rupture a pre-existing aneurysm
(an abnormal ballooning of the wall of an artery), or rupture the heart wall
where coronary heart disease has created scar tissue.
• Respiratory risks—discharge of the weapon’s probes into the upper torso
(especially multiple deployments) could impair the subject’s ability to
breathe, due to the electrical current’s induction of spasm into the
intercostal muscles around the rib cage and the thoracic diaphragm. This
could lead to acidosis, or to acute respiratory failure, which is immediately
life-threatening.
• Metabolic risks—rhabdomyolysis (muscle damage that can be brought on by
direct electrical damage to muscles) can lead to the release of muscle
breakdown products into the bloodstream. If released at levels higher than
the kidneys can clear, they can cause acute renal (kidney) failure.
When we examine the risk of ventricular fibrillation, the risks associated with
implanted pacemakers or defibrillators, and the risk of respiratory failure, it appears
to me that the single most important factor in creating the medical risk, or in
exacerbating it, is deployment of the conducted energy weapon in probe mode, with
the probes across the chest vectoring the heart. It is the combination of deployment
in probe mode (where there is deeper penetration of the device’s electrical current
into the subject’s body because of the greater spread between the probes and the
imbedding of the probes up to 9 mm into the chest wall) and positioning of the probes
(near the heart wall, intercostal muscles, or diaphragm) that are largely responsible
for creating the risks of interference with the heart’s normal rhythms or of
interference with breathing.

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If it were practical to do so, I would recommend severe restrictions on the probe mode
deployment of a conducted energy weapon in a subject’s chest area because of the
medical risks that have been identified, many of which would not be apparent to the
officer on the scene. However, I have concluded that such a restriction would not be
workable, for the following reason. Officers are already taught (properly, in my view)
not to aim a conducted energy weapon at a subject’s head, throat, or genital area
(because of the associated medical risks), and to avoid the arms and legs (because of
the risk that one or both of the probes will miss the subject, rendering the deployment
ineffective). If the chest area were added to that list of prohibited target areas, the
only remaining frontal target area would be the lower abdomen, but this is an
unrealistically small target area, given the intensity and rapidly changing nature of
many police-subject encounters. It would likely mean that officers would have to
restrict their use to push-stun mode, or to probe mode on the subject’s back.
Having said that, I remain concerned about the medical risks I have discussed. At the
very least, recruit training should emphasize the medical risks that have been
identified to date, and recruits should be counselled to deploy in probe mode in the
chest area only as a last resort.
There are also several “indirect” medical risks associated with the use of conducted
energy weapons. Most of these risks flow from:
• the intense pain, stress, and anxiety experienced by the subject—this can
lead to ventricular fibrillation in healthy subjects or those with pre-existing
heart conditions, to myocardial infarction, or to internal hemorrhaging due
to rupture of an artery or the heart wall; or
• the intense muscle contractions caused by the weapon’s electrical current—
this can lead to ventricular fibrillation due to acidosis or rhabdomyolysis, or
to renal failure due to rhabdomyolysis.
As I see it, these medical risks are only indirectly associated with the weapon’s
deployment. By that, I mean that deployment of the weapon may trigger a
physiological response by the subject, which can then lead to a medical complication;
or the weapon’s electrical current may cause muscle contractions that then lead to
other medical consequences. I am satisfied that these risks can be managed through

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appropriate rules respecting multiple deployments of weapons, and through different
approaches to de-escalating crisis situations involving emotionally disturbed subjects.
ii.

Proportionality—An application of Canadian values

Quite apart from the medical risks that I have discussed, it seems to me that deciding
what level of subject behaviour justifies deployment of a conducted energy weapon
requires a consideration of proportionality. In other words, the use of force should be
commensurate to the level of the subject’s resistance. In deciding this issue, which is
an essentially subjective exercise, I give much weight to what I call Canadian values,
which in this context includes matters such as respect for the individual, the public’s
right to personal safety, and fairness. Until now, it has been left to law enforcement
agencies to make their own determination of proportionality and they have, almost
without exception, adopted a subject behaviour threshold of “active resistance.”
If the definitions of “active resistance” quoted earlier had focused primarily on a
subject’s active confrontation with an officer, and had then added as a subordinate
example running away from an officer, I might have concluded that “active
resistance” is a reasonable threshold. However, the definitions do just the opposite—
the principal focus of both formulations is pulling away from the officer.
In my view, that type of behaviour is not egregious enough to warrant deployment of a
weapon that is designed to inflict intense pain and to totally incapacitate the subject.
There are other devices, weapons, and force options available to police officers to
adequately deal with these types of behaviours. It would embarrass me as a Canadian
to watch a police officer deploy a conducted energy weapon against a subject, even
one under investigation for a criminal offence, for merely walking or running away
from the officer.
If “active resistance” is too low a threshold, then what level of subject behaviour
would be more appropriate, with regard to the medical risks I have discussed and my
sense of proportionality as viewed through a “Canadian values” lens? Should I
recommend the RCMP’s new “active resistance plus a threat to officer or public
safety” level, the “assaultive” level found in the two use-of-force models, or perhaps

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even the higher “grievous bodily harm or death” level as suggested by several
presenters? Or should I propose a different threshold falling somewhere within this
range?
In considering this issue, I am mindful of the two competing values discussed earlier—
the need to give the police appropriate tools to do their difficult job and the duty on
officers to use the least force necessary in order to manage the risk. When thenAttorney General Ujjal Dosanjh approved use of conducted energy weapons in 1999,
he did so on the understanding that they would be deployed sparingly: only in
situations where the subject was assaultive or combative; or a threat to themselves,
the police, or some third person. Since then, the threshold for use has dropped
significantly, from assaultive behaviour to a very loosely drawn definition of active
resistance.
In my view, it would be unrealistically restrictive to limit use of conducted energy
weapons to “grievous bodily harm or death” situations. As I discussed earlier, officers
are justified in using lethal force in such situations so, by definition, they would also
be permitted to resort to any other force option as well, including conducted energy
weapons.
That brings me to the RCMP’s new “active resistance plus threat” level, and to
“assaultive” behaviour, which I will discuss in turn. As I discussed in Part 5, my
interpretation of the RCMP’s February 2009 policy amendment is that deployment of a
conducted energy weapon is now permitted against a subject who is exhibiting active
resistance, but only if the subject’s behaviour poses a threat to officer or public
safety. The RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model states that a subject is
actively resistant if “the person demonstrates resistance to control by the police
officer through behaviours such as pulling away, pushing away or running away.” It is
difficult to see how any of these behaviours can pose a threat to officer or public
safety, so the new policy must contemplate some more dangerous level of subject
behaviour. In the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model, the next higher
level is “assaultive” which, as I will discuss below, applies when “the person attempts

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or threatens to apply force to anyone.” However, the new policy is so generally
worded that it would appear to catch behaviours that fall below the “assaultive”
threshold. For example, it uses the term “threat” without adding any qualifier, such
as the Incident Management/Intervention Model’s threat “to apply force.” Similarly,
“public safety” is ambiguous. Assuming that it means a threat to the safety of a
member of the public, the policy provides no guidance as to what type of threat must
be present before deployment is justified. Further, the new policy does not state how
serious or imminent the threat must be, and appears to authorize deployment based
solely on the officer’s subjective opinion, without also requiring that there are
reasonable grounds for doing so. In my view, the threshold for deployment contained
in the RCMP’s new policy is too imprecise and, based on my interpretation of it, too
low to justify deployment of a conducted energy weapon.
Turning now to a consideration of the “assaultive” level of subject behaviour,
“assaultive” is the general range of subject behaviour that I believe constitutes an
appropriate threshold. However, I have misgivings about the actual descriptions as
found in the two use-of-force models. They state as follows:
National Use of Force Framework250
Assaultive—the subject attempts to apply, or applies force to any person;
attempts or threatens by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if
he/she has, or causes that other person to believe upon reasonable grounds
that he/she has, present ability to effect his/her purpose. Examples include
kicking and punching, but may also include aggressive body language that
signals an intent to assault.
RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model251
Assaultive—the person attempts or threatens to apply force to anyone, e.g.,
punching, kicking, clenching fists with intent to hurt or resists, threats of an
assault. In the case of a person operating a vehicle, they attempt to collide
with the police vehicle, another vehicle or a pedestrian.
If we “unbundle” the National Use of Force Framework definition, we find that
“assaultive” includes four different types of behaviours:
250 Ibid., see footnote 58, pp. 7-8.
251 Ibid., see footnote 63.

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• Applying force to another person—this approximates the criminal offence
of assault under s. 265(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, which states, “A person
commits an assault when without the consent of another person, he applies
force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly.”
• Attempting to apply force to any person—this approximates the separate
criminal offence of attempted assault, under the combined effect of
s. 265(1)(a) and s. 24 of the Criminal Code.
• Attempting or threatening by an act or gesture, to apply force to
another person, if he/she has, or causes that other person to believe
upon reasonable grounds that he/she has, present ability to effect
his/her purpose—this constitutes the criminal offence of assault under
s. 265(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.
• Aggressive body language that signals an intent to assault—this falls short
of the criminal offence of assault, and may also fall short of an attempted
assault because s. 24 of the Criminal Code distinguishes between attempts
and mere preparation, the latter of which is too remote to constitute an
attempt.
A similar unbundling of the RCMP’s Incident Management/Intervention Model reveals
that its definition of “assaultive” includes the following behaviours:
• Attempting to apply force to anyone—this approximates the criminal
offence of attempted assault, as discussed above.
• Threatening to apply force to anyone—this falls short of the criminal
offence of assault under s. 265(1)(b), because it makes no reference to the
subject having a present ability to effect his or her purpose.
• In the operation of a vehicle, attempting to collide with the police
vehicle, another vehicle or a pedestrian—this approximates the criminal
offence of assault, by applying force indirectly.
• Clenching fists with intent to hurt, or threats of an assault—these likely
fall short of the criminal offence of assault or attempted assault.
It will be seen that those who drafted both frameworks were using the Criminal Code
definition of common assault as the benchmark for “assaultive” behaviour. Common
assault is defined as the intentional application of any force without consent. It
would, for example, include laying a hand on an officer’s arm or patting the officer on
the shoulder. However, both frameworks go further. They also justify use of a
conducted energy weapon even when there has only been an attempted common
assault, which does not require any touching of the officer and, more significantly,

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they justify use of a conducted energy weapon when no criminal offence has been
committed, such as by using “aggressive body language that signals an intent (but not
an attempt) to assault,” or by “threatening to apply force” or by “clenching fists with
intent to hurt.” To the same effect, the RCMP’s February 2009 policy amendment
(“threat to officer or public safety”) justifies use of a conducted energy weapon in
threatening situations, when the subject’s behaviour falls short of even attempted
assault.
In my view, importing the Criminal Code standard of common assault sets too low a
threshold—it authorizes the officer to use far more force than the force that is being
used by the subject. Justifying deployment of a conducted energy weapon in the case
of an attempted assault, or even behaviour that falls below any criminal conduct, is
even less defensible.
I support in principle the approach of couching the subject behaviour threshold in
Criminal Code terminology, because police officers are familiar with those
categorizations, and judicial interpretation over the years gives such terms some
certainty of meaning.
Having regard to the medical risks discussed above, and to my sense of
proportionality, I believe that a threshold approximating the Criminal Code definition
of assault causing bodily harm found in s. 267(b) would be appropriate. It requires
demonstrably more dangerous behaviour than “assaultive” as defined by both use-offorce models, but adopting a “bodily harm” threshold is not so high as to be
unreasonably onerous. “Bodily harm” is defined in s. 2 of the Criminal Code as “any
hurt or injury to a person that interferes with the health or comfort of the person and
that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.”
In my view, the subject behaviour threshold should be met when the subject is causing
bodily harm or the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s
behaviour will imminently cause bodily harm. There are several aspects of this
proposed new threshold that warrant comment:

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• “is causing”—it is not enough that the officer is aware that the subject “has
caused” bodily harm, even moments ago. There must be a continuing risk.
• “is satisfied on reasonable grounds”—it is not enough to leave it up to
each officer to decide, on a purely subjective basis, whether he or she will
deploy the conducted energy weapon. In my view, that decision should also
include an objective component. By that I mean that the officer must
personally believe that deployment is necessary (the subjective element),
but a disinterested third person who is aware of all the circumstances and is
acting reasonably would also reach the same conclusion (the objective
element). For the officer’s actions to be justified, both elements must be
established.
• “imminently”—there must some immediacy to the threat, and a present
ability to cause bodily harm.

Recommendation 2
I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy weapon
unless the subject’s behaviour meets one of the following thresholds:
• the subject is causing bodily harm; or
• the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s
behaviour will imminently cause bodily harm.
However, I would not want officers to conclude that, whenever this “causing bodily
harm” threshold is met, they are automatically justified in deploying a conducted
energy weapon. Both use-of-force models emphasize the need for officers to
constantly reassess the situation and to use the least amount of intervention needed
to manage the risk.

Recommendation 3
I recommend that, even if the threshold set out in Recommendation 2
is met, an officer be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy
weapon unless the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that:
• no lesser force option has been, or will be, effective in
eliminating the risk of bodily harm; and

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• de-escalation and/or crisis intervention techniques have not
been or will not be effective in eliminating the risk of bodily
harm.
There is currently no outright prohibition on deployment of a conducted energy
weapon against a subject who is handcuffed or restrained. The policies of most
agencies are silent on this issue, while the policies of two other agencies specifically
prohibit such use, “unless behaviour cannot be controlled otherwise.” This exception
effectively authorizes such deployments, if the officer subjectively considers it
necessary. I do not think it would be appropriate to recommend a policy banning
deployment in such circumstances, because one can imagine scenarios in which a
handcuffed or restrained subject could cause bodily harm, or be imminently capable
of doing so. However, I would think that it would be a rare event that an officer
would be justified, under my proposed subject behaviour threshold, to deploy a
conducted energy weapon against a subject who is handcuffed or otherwise
restrained.
iii. Emotionally disturbed people
In Part 9 I discussed at length the challenges that police officers face when confronted
with emotionally disturbed people who display extreme behaviours, including
violence, imperviousness to pain, superhuman strength and endurance, hyperthermia,
sweating, and perceptual disturbances.
The unanimous view of mental health presenters was that the best practice is to deescalate the agitation, which can best be achieved through the application of
recognized crisis intervention techniques. Conversely, the worst possible response is
to aggravate or escalate the crisis, such as by deploying a conducted energy weapon
and/or using force to physically restrain the subject.252 It is accepted that there may

252 Until recently, RCMP policy stated: “Individuals experiencing excited delirium require medical
treatment which first requires that they be restrained. In considering intervention options for excited
delirium cases, the use of the [conducted energy weapon] in a probe-mode deployment may be the most
effective response to establish control.” However, the February 2009 policy amendments make no
reference to “excited delirium.” Rather, “Acutely agitated or delirious persons may be at a high risk of
death. If an individual is in an acutely agitated or delirious state, and whenever possible when responding

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be some extreme circumstances, however rare, when crisis intervention techniques
will not be effective in de-escalating the crisis. But even then, there are steps that
officers can take to mitigate the risk.
Training in crisis intervention is relevant beyond the issue of conducted energy weapon
use. Officers are, with increasing regularity, called upon to deal with emotionally
disturbed people. The psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who made
presentations during our public forums have persuaded me that the week-long crisis
intervention training that they talked about should not be tied just to use of
conducted energy weapons, but should be an essential part of recruit or in-service
training.

Recommendation 4
I recommend that the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
approve a curriculum for crisis intervention training comparable to
that recommended by presenters at our public forums, and require:
• that it be incorporated without delay in recruit training for
officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies; and
• that all currently serving officers of provincially regulated law
enforcement agencies satisfactorily complete the training within
a time frame established by the ministry.

Recommendation 5
I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies, when dealing with emotionally disturbed people, be
required to use de-escalation and/or crisis intervention techniques
before deploying a conducted energy weapon, unless they are
satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that such techniques will not be
effective in eliminating the risk of bodily harm.

to reports of violent individuals, request the assistance of emergency medical services. If possible bring
medical assistance to the scene” (Chapter 17.1, para. 3.1.4.).

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b. Subject self-harm
In the preceding discussion, the focus has been on a subject’s behaviour as directed at
an officer or a member of the public. However, consideration must also be given to
instances of subject self-harm. According to the Commission’s empirical analysis of
conducted energy weapon usage by municipal police departments, almost 20 percent
of weapon deployments involved subjects who were threatening or attempting suicide
or were otherwise engaged in self-injurious behaviour.
In my view there is a persuasive public policy justification for deploying a conducted
energy weapon in some of these circumstances. Again, we need to articulate a
threshold that takes into account the medical risks and a sense of proportionality. On
balance, I believe that the same “causing bodily harm” threshold set out in
Recommendation 2 is appropriate in cases of subject self-harm.

Recommendation 6
I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies be prohibited from deploying a conducted energy weapon in
the case of subject self-harm unless:
• the subject is causing bodily harm to himself or herself; or
• the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the subject’s
behaviour will imminently cause bodily harm to himself or
herself.

F. MULTIPLE DEPLOYMENTS
The Commission’s empirical analysis of conducted energy weapon usage in British
Columbia revealed that when the weapon was used in push-stun mode, it was
discharged against a subject for more than one cycle in 45 percent of deployments,
with the highest number of cycles against one subject being 14. When deployed in
probe mode, the weapon was discharged against a subject for more than one cycle in
36 percent of cases, with the highest number of cycles against one subject being 10.

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The Commission’s review of law enforcement agency policies showed that, when used
in push-stun mode:
• Four agencies state that continuous applications for periods exceeding 15 to
20 seconds may pose an increased risk to the subject;
• Three agencies state that a second discharge should last only five seconds;
and
• One agency acknowledges that continuous discharge may be hazardous to the
subject, and cautions that unless situational factors require it, continuous
discharge should not be applied.
When used in probe mode, there was a similar variation in policy direction:
• Five agencies require a situational reassessment after the initial failure of a
first (or second) discharge;
• Seven agencies state that a second discharge may be appropriate if the first
discharge does not control the subject;
• One agency states that if the subject has not been controlled after two
discharges, the officer should consider that the weapon is ineffective and
consider another appropriate force option to gain control; and
• No agencies specify a maximum number of discharges.
Training materials give each officer considerable discretion respecting multiple
deployments. No agencies impose an absolute cap on the number of cycles permitted,
although 10 agencies train that an officer should apply only the number of cycles
reasonably necessary to allow them to safely approach and restrain the subject.
Several agencies train that if a third cycle is required, officers should consider another
force option.
The manufacturer’s training materials acknowledge that the application of a
conducted energy weapon is a physically stressful event, and officers should avoid
extended or repeated applications where practicable. If circumstances require
extended duration or repeated discharges, the operator should take care to observe
the subject and provide breaks in the weapon stimulation when practicable. Officers
should apply only the number of cycles reasonably necessary to allow them to safely
restrain the subject. The manufacturer concedes in a product warning document that

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the stress and exertion of extensively repeated, prolonged, or continuous applications
may contribute to exhaustion, stress, and associated medical risks.
Animal studies have shown that repetitive deployment increases the risk of ventricular
fibrillation, and Dr. John Webster told me that he was satisfied that multiple
deployments against humans are more dangerous than a single deployment. Other
presenters echoed this concern. As I discussed in Part 9, several public agencies have
expressed concern that multiple deployments may impair respiration and may increase
the risk of acidosis.
Having concluded that there are medical risks associated with a single deployment of a
conducted energy weapon, I am similarly persuaded that multiple deployments
increase at least some of these medical risks. While one cannot yet quantify this
increased risk, I am satisfied that the risk increases as the number of deployments
increases.
The challenge comes in deciding how to translate this concern into operational policy.
I do not think it would be responsible to impose a “one discharge” rule, because there
is clear evidence that in some circumstances a single five-second discharge does not
incapacitate the subject. Similarly, I do not think it would be appropriate to impose
some arbitrary maximum number of discharges.
At the same time, I do not think it is enough to leave it up to each officer to decide,
on a purely subjective basis, whether he or she will deploy the weapon multiple times.
In my view, that decision should also include an objective component. By that I mean
that the officer must personally believe that a second or subsequent deployment is
necessary (the subjective element), but a disinterested third person who is aware of
all the circumstances and is acting reasonably would also reach the same conclusion
(the objective element). For the officer’s actions to be justified, both elements must
be established.

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Beyond that, the issue of multiple deployments must be left to training, which should
include a frank description of the medical risks associated with conducted energy
weapon use, and how multiple deployments increase those risks.

Recommendation 7
I recommend that officers of provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies be prohibited from discharging an electrical current from a
conducted energy weapon on a subject for longer than five seconds,
unless the officer is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that:
• the five-second discharge was not effective in eliminating the
risk of bodily harm; and
• a further discharge will be effective in eliminating the risk of
bodily harm.
What this recommendation seeks to achieve is to force the officer to reassess the
situation at the completion of a five-second discharge, before the officer discharges
the weapon again. To put it another way, an officer is justified in discharging the
weapon if the requirements set out in Recommendations 2 and 3 are met, but that
justifies only a discharge of up to five seconds. No further discharge of the weapon is
justified, unless the officer meets the requirement set out in Recommendation 7.
Further, any subsequent discharge requires a new reassessment under
Recommendation 7.
This recommendation is also intended to eliminate the practice of an officer holding
the trigger down continuously, as the electrical current continues as long as the
trigger remains depressed. The situation must be reassessed after every five-second
discharge.

G. OTHER PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
1. Requesting paramedic assistance
The Commission’s empirical analysis showed that provincial ambulance attendants
examined the subject at the scene in 33 percent of cases, although this percentage

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varied widely (zero to 71 percent) among police departments. In 24 percent of cases,
the subject suffered a weapon-related injury, although only 2 percent were more
serious than welts from push-stun mode deployment, penetration of probe darts, cuts,
or falls following incapacitation.
In some cases, it will be self-evident to the officer whether or not paramedic
assistance should be requested. What is less clear are the other instances when a
medical emergency has not yet occurred, but medical risks are present. In such cases,
prudence dictates a request for paramedic assistance either before deployment of the
conducted energy weapon, or as soon as practicable after deployment.

Recommendation 8
I recommend that paramedic assistance be requested in every
medically high-risk situation, preferably before deployment of a
conducted energy weapon or, if that is not feasible, then as soon as
practicable thereafter. Medically high-risk situations include, but are
not limited to:
• deployment in probe mode across the subject’s chest;
• deployment in probe mode for longer than five seconds;
• deployment in any mode against:
o an emotionally disturbed person;
o an elderly person;
o a person who the officer has reason to believe is
pregnant; or
o a person who the officer has reason to believe has a
medical condition that may be worsened because of the
deployment (e.g., heart disease, implanted pacemaker or
defibrillator, etc.).
2. Automated external defibrillators
Several presenters, including Drs. Tseng and Kerr, urged me to recommend that every
police officer who carries a conducted energy weapon should also have, in the police
cruiser, an automated external defibrillator so that if the subject goes into cardiac

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arrest, the officer can defibrillate the subject before paramedic assistance arrives. I
think that is sound advice.
I understand that these devices are now widely used in shopping malls, sporting
events, and private homes. They require very little instruction, and cost about the
same as or a little more than a conducted energy weapon.

Recommendation 9
I recommend that whenever a conducted energy weapon is assigned
to an officer of a provincially regulated law enforcement agency, that
the officer also have an automated external defibrillator readily
available for use.
3. Distinguishing between push-stun and probe mode deployments
I have given consideration to whether the rules should be less onerous when a
conducted energy weapon is used in push-stun mode as opposed to probe mode.
I recognize that in push-stun mode the weapon causes intense pain but does not
incapacitate the subject, and that many of the medical risks discussed in Part 9 result
from use in probe mode.
Currently, the policies of almost all law enforcement agencies in British Columbia do
not distinguish on this basis. In my view, that is an appropriate approach. I am
satisfied that my proposed “bodily harm” subject behaviour threshold is proper, even
if the weapon is deployed only in push-stun mode. Also, it is important to keep the
deployment rules as simple as possible, to assist officers who must make split-second
decisions in sometimes intense and rapidly changing circumstances.

4. Which officers should be assigned conducted energy weapons?
The practice varies within British Columbia and across Canada respecting which
officers are assigned conducted energy weapons. As I noted in Part 8, several recent
reports have made contradictory recommendations on this issue:

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• In its June 2008 Final Report,253 the Commission for Public Complaints
Against the RCMP supported the use of conducted energy weapons by
specialized response teams without restriction, but otherwise the use of such
weapons should be restricted as follows:
o In urban settings, conducted energy weapons should be used only by
officers with the rank of corporal or above; and
o In rural settings, such weapons should be used by constables only if
they have at least five years of operational experience.
• In February 2009, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the
Canadian Police Association published a joint position document254 on
conducted energy weapons, in which they expressed the view that all police
officers should be authorized to carry a conducted energy weapon.
It is not clear, from the RCMP Commission’s report or from the joint position
document, what empirical evidence led those bodies to make the recommendations
they did. Based on my Commission’s research, and on presentations made during our
public forums, I am not aware of any compelling need to impose restrictions on which
officers should be permitted to carry a conducted energy weapon. Assuming that an
officer is properly trained and certified before a weapon is assigned to the officer, and
assuming that the officer deploys the weapon in accordance with the
recommendations contained in this Report, the evidence before me does not justify
limiting its assignment to certain categories of officers. While I do not want to
understate the risks associated with use of a conducted energy weapon, those risks are
significantly less than the risks associated with a service pistol. I would find it hard to
justify recommending a restriction on the assignment of conducted energy weapons if
no such restriction applies to the assignment of a service pistol.
At the same time, it would be equally inappropriate for me to recommend that all
officers in a law enforcement agency be authorized to carry a conducted energy
weapon. In my view, that is an operational decision properly left to each agency.

253
RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW)—Final Report, dated June 12, 2008; see
http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/prr/inv/cew-ai/cew_fin_rp-eng.aspx.
254
Ibid., footnote 150.

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H. PROVINCIAL REGULATION
Mr. Dosanjh, Q.C., told me that when he, as Attorney General, authorized British
Columbia’s municipal police departments in 1999 to use conducted energy weapons, it
was on the understanding that the weapons would be used sparingly—only in situations
where the subject was assaultive or combative, or a threat to themselves, the police,
or some third person.
Notwithstanding that admirable intention, something has gone seriously wrong. No
provincial legislation or regulation has specifically approved conducted energy
weapons for use, approved specific models, set province-wide standards for when such
weapons can (or cannot) be used, specified what training is required of operators or
instructors, or required mandatory reporting of weapon usage. Individual police
departments have been left to their own devices in developing policy around use of
these weapons and, since 2006, developing training materials and programs for their
recruits and officers.
This alarming abdication of leadership at the provincial level has led to the policing
community, rather than the executive branch, establishing policy. This has resulted in
a blurring of policy and training, inconsistencies in both policy and training among
municipal police departments, an unhealthy dependence on the manufacturer
respecting contentious policy issues, and a quite extraordinary “usage creep.”
The province has unquestioned legislative authority under s. 74 of the Police Act to
provide leadership in this area (respecting both use-of-force and officer training) and,
under s. 40, the Director of Police Services is authorized to make recommendations to
the minister. The executive branch should, without further delay, exercise this broad
authority.
I repeat what I have said several times in this Report: it is the responsibility of the
executive and legislative branches to set policy respecting the approval and use of
conducted energy weapons, and for law enforcement agencies to train, and for
officers to deploy those weapons, in accordance with that policy.

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Recommendation 10
I recommend that the provincial government set province-wide
standards relating to conducted energy weapons, including, but not
necessarily limited to:
• which conducted energy weapon models are approved for use;
• the circumstances in which a conducted energy weapon may, or
must not, be used;
• qualifications to begin training as an operator, instructor, or
master trainer;
• the curriculum for operator, instructor, and master instructor
training programs, including content, duration, pass/fail level,
remedial training, and re-certification;
• mandatory reporting of each conducted energy weapon use,
including what information must be reported and in what form;
and
• periodic province-wide analysis of usage reports, with
mechanisms to ensure that the results of such analysis inform
policy development and training.

I.

TRAINING AND RE-TRAINING
In Part 6, I identified the numerous deficiencies in training, many of which flow from
the 2006 decision by the Justice Institute-Police Academy to withdraw from almost all
aspects of conducted energy weapon training for recruits.
In my view there should be one entity that is responsible for training municipal police
officers, Sheriff Services Division officers, and Corrections Branch officers in the use of
conducted energy weapons, as an integral component of use-of-force training
generally. The Justice Institute (Police Academy) is without question the appropriate
body to perform this function.
I am not suggesting that all law enforcement agencies be required by law to assign
conducted energy weapons to all its officers. That is an operational decision for each
agency. If an individual agency chooses not to assign these weapons to all its officers,
then the question arises whether that agency may insist that its recruits not receive

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conducted energy weapon training at the Police Academy. I cannot answer that
question in a vacuum. It will depend on the extent to which this aspect of use-offorce training is integrated into use-of-force training generally. That is a matter best
left to the Police Academy.
If my recommendation respecting the role of the provincial government is accepted,
with the result that provincial policies focus on when conducted energy weapons are
used and training focuses on how they are used, then trainers’ reliance on the
manufacturer’s training materials may cease to be a problem. Those materials should
logically be a primary training resource, given that the manufacturer has designed and
built the weapon, knows how it works, and how it should be cared for.
While I do not propose to make detailed recommendations respecting the content of
training and re-training programs, I do want to emphasize the importance of providing
clear instruction respecting the medical risks associated with conducted energy
weapon use, especially as they relate to deployments across the chest, multiple
deployments, and dealing with emotionally disturbed subjects. More generally, I am
concerned about the mentality or attitude that officers have about these weapons. If
they are trained that conducted energy weapons are just another non-lethal weapon,
they will fail to appreciate the serious medical risks inherent in their use. However, if
officers are trained that these weapons are capable of causing death or other
specified medical conditions, then they will be more likely to treat any negative postdischarge outcome as a medical emergency and take appropriate resuscitative
measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automatic external defibrillator, or
call for paramedic assistance.

Recommendation 11
I recommend that the Police Academy be responsible for training
officers of provincially regulated law enforcement agencies in the use
of conducted energy weapons, as an integral component of use-offorce training generally, and that training be conducted in
accordance with the policies established by the provincial

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government, taking into consideration the medical risks discussed in
this Report.
I will comment on one aspect of training that troubles me—voluntary exposure to the
electrical current of a conducted energy weapon during training and re-training. As I
noted in Part 6, the manufacturer strongly recommends (but does not require)
voluntary exposure during its training programs. In British Columbia, no law
enforcement agency requires that trainees be exposed. Seven agencies permit
exposure if the trainee volunteers, while seven others prohibit exposure during
training, even with trainee consent.
The only rationale I can see for voluntary exposure during training is so that recruits
will have a sense of how painful the weapon’s electrical current is, thereby
encouraging prudence in its use. That unconvincing rationale must be weighed against
several risks. First, there are medical risks associated with use of the weapon, as I
discussed in Part 9, and those risks do not go away when the manufacturer’s suggested
protocol for voluntary exposure is followed. Second, the term “voluntary” exposure is
a misnomer, as peer pressure will inevitably cause some recruits to give their consent
even though they would prefer not to receive an exposure. In my view, the risks far
outweigh the benefits, and I do not support voluntary exposure during training or retraining.

Recommendation 12
I recommend that the province’s standards relating to the curriculum
for operator, instructor, and master instructor training and retraining prohibit a trainer’s or trainee’s exposure to the electrical
current of a conducted energy weapon.

J. CERTIFICATION AND TESTING OF CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPONS
1. Certification
Conducted energy weapons are unique within the panoply of intermediate weapons,
given that they transmit an electrical current and are designed to achieve control over

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a subject either through pain compliance or neuromuscular incapacitation. As I
discussed in Part 9, I am satisfied that these weapons have the capacity to cause death
to a human subject, through a variety of mechanisms. While these medical risks may
be mitigated, some risks remain.
Although Canadian law enforcement agencies currently use only two models of
conducted energy weapons, both produced by the same manufacturer, that
manufacturer produces or is developing other models which may have significantly
different characteristics, and thus risks. For example, its proposed self-contained
XREP will fire a wireless projectile from a 12-gauge shotgun, delivering the same
neuromuscular incapacitation as the handheld X26, but for 20 seconds instead of five
seconds. Being wireless, it would appear that the operator would have no way of
terminating the electrical current during the 20-second discharge.
Other manufacturers offer a variety of conducted energy weapons, including
electrified batons, electrified riot shields, and electrified waist or leg cuffs for
prisoner transport.
As I reported in Part 4, presenters observed that there are international standards for
products such as electrical fences that must be complied with before they can be sold
in Canada, yet no such standards exist for conducted energy weapons. In 2006, the
Canadian Police Research Centre expressed concern that “there are no known,
scientifically tested, independently verified, and globally accepted [conducted energy
weapon] safety parameters,” which means that law enforcement agencies are
completely reliant on manufacturer claims regarding the safety of their products.
It would appear that the definition of “restricted products” under the federal
Hazardous Products Act is broad enough to include conducted energy weapons, which
means that the federal Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing the
circumstances and conditions under which they may be imported into, and sold in,
Canada. By adding conducted energy weapons to the list of restricted products, the
federal government could require that they undergo safety testing or product
standards certification before being imported or sold.

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Recommendation 13
I recommend that the Attorney General ask the federal minister
responsible for administration of the Hazardous Products Act:
• to add conducted energy weapons to the schedule of restricted
products under that Act; and
• to make regulations prescribing the circumstances and conditions
under which such weapons may be imported into, and sold in,
Canada.
2. Periodic testing
The recent testing of 44 conducted energy weapons, in a study commissioned by the
CBC, points to a risk that such weapons are capable of transmitting an electrical
current greater than that specified by the manufacturer, which will increase the pain
the subject experiences and may increase medical risks.
The resulting decision by numerous law enforcement agencies across the country to
remove some of their weapons from service for testing was, in my view, prudent. As I
noted earlier in this Report, we all should be concerned about anything that erodes
public confidence in our law enforcement agencies.
The Commission discovered that no BC law enforcement agency has policies respecting
routine weapon calibration or testing of output.
From the material I have reviewed, I am satisfied that the area of greatest concern
relates to the amount of current discharged by a weapon. Given that the X26 model
emits 19 pulses each second, and that each pulse is supposed to last for only 100
microseconds (100 millionths of a second), there are at least three manufacturer’s
specifications that should be periodically tested:
• the number of pulses per second;
• the duration of each pulse; and
• the maximum current during each pulse.
On this issue, Mr. Reilly told me that the manufacturer’s specifications state that the
X26’s current is “2.1 milliamps average” (i.e., 2.1 thousandths of an ampere).

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Mr. Reilly, on the other hand, stated that the X26 has a peak output current of 3
amperes. He explained the difference—his number measures the actual amperage
during one of these very short pulses that lasts only 100 millionths of a second,
whereas the manufacturer’s number is an average over the total time period, during
and between pulses. I agree with his assessment that the actual amperage during one
of these very short pulses is the key electrical current that must be measured.
It is equally important, for public confidence, that the periodic testing of conducted
energy weapons be conducted according to a testing protocol approved by an
independent body. If the federal government approves specific models for use in
Canada, then periodic testing could be conducted against the manufacturer’s
specifications. In the absence of federal endorsement, then the independent body
approving the testing protocol would have to articulate the specifications that the
weapon must meet.

Recommendation 14
I recommend that every conducted energy weapon used by officers of
provincially regulated law enforcement agencies be periodically
tested for electrical output, according to a testing protocol approved
by an independent body and according to a schedule established by
the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and that the test
include, but not necessarily be limited to:
• the number of pulses per second;
• the duration of each pulse; and
• the maximum current during each pulse.
3. Testing after a serious injury or death
No provincially regulated law enforcement agency in British Columbia has policies
respecting weapon calibration or testing of output following a serious injury or death
proximate to weapon use.
The RCMP’s February 2009 policy amendment now requires independent testing of a
weapon at a designated testing facility in three circumstances:

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• following an incident involving injury requiring medical treatment or death
proximal to use of the weapon;
• when a weapon was ineffective or malfunctioned; and
• when a specified senior officer is of the opinion that testing is warranted in
the circumstances, including a desire to address any concerns about the
performance of a weapon or the circumstances or impacts of its use.
Given the medical risks associated with a conducted energy weapon’s electrical
current, and given the apparent capacity of a weapon to discharge a current greater
than that specified by the manufacturer, I am satisfied that whenever there is a
serious injury or death proximate to weapon use, the weapon should be withdrawn
from service and its electrical output should be tested.

Recommendation 15
I recommend that whenever there is a serious injury or death
proximate to use of a conducted energy weapon by an officer of a
provincially regulated law enforcement agency, the weapon be
withdrawn from service and its electrical output be tested in
accordance with, and for the matters referred to in,
Recommendation 14.

K. REPORTING ON CONDUCTED ENERGY WEAPON USE
During his presentation at our public forums, the provincial Director of Police Services
told me255 that the ministry currently collects, annually, high-level data from
municipal police departments on use-of-force tools. However, there is currently no
mechanism in place to collect use-of-force data specific to conducted energy weapons
that can be used to effect good policy development and training standards. The
ministry is currently working on improving use-of-force aggregate data-collection
methods for the province, through the development of an electronic template for
incident-based use-of-force data in the PRIME (Police Records Information
Management Environment) system. He did not indicate when these improved data
collection initiatives would be operational.
255 Transcript, May 7, 2008, pp. 59-61.

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In the meantime, each municipal police department sets its own policy on what
information is recorded respecting use of conducted energy weapons, and what use is
made of this information. As I discussed in Part 5 of this Report, all agencies require
that a use-of-force or analogous written report be completed after a conducted energy
weapon has been deployed but, beyond that, policies vary:
• Only six agencies specify that a use-of-force report must be completed even
if the weapon is used in display mode only;
• Three agencies specify the narrative content of use-of-force reports;
• Six agencies require that the data be downloaded from the weapon and be
attached to the use-of-force report;
• Almost all agencies require that a completed use-of-force report be
submitted to a supervisor, but there is no consistency in what the supervisor
does with the reports;
• Five agencies require that the “Subject Behaviour–Officer Response”
template report in PRIME be completed;
• Only one agency requires that the firearms officer maintain a software
program detailing all operational deployments; and
• Six agencies specify the circumstances warranting a review of general use-offorce reports.
As I discussed in Part 7, Commission researchers sent requests to all provincially
regulated law enforcement agencies for copies of all conducted energy weapon
incident reports. For some agencies, these requests posed a significant challenge in
identifying and retrieving incident reports. When reports were retrieved, it was
equally troubling that attempts to match incident reports to civilian complaints
indicated that there has been significant under-reporting of conducted energy weapon
use, perhaps by as much as 50 percent.
In my view, procedures must be implemented (and enforced), to eliminate concerns
about under-reporting. For example, whenever a conducted energy weapon and/or a
probe cartridge is issued to an officer, the officer should be required to sign for it. In
addition, there should be regular data downloads of every conducted energy weapon,
with a matching of the data relating to each deployment and the related use-of-force
incident report. However, I do not think that simply enacting policies on these

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matters is sufficient. Almost all agencies already require that a completed use-offorce report be submitted to a supervisor, and six agencies already require that the
data be downloaded from the weapon and be attached to the use-of-force report, yet
the Commission found evidence of significant under-reporting. That problem can only
be remedied by requiring each provincially regulated law enforcement agency to
assign responsibility for these tasks to one or more specified employees.
The bottom line is that we have a very incomplete picture of how often and in what
circumstances these weapons are being used, with little evidence that incident usage
data is being used to improve policy, determine compliance with policy, or enhance
training.
Based on the information before me, I conclude that there has been an absence of
provincial leadership in:
• establishing province-wide standards for reporting on conducted energy
weapon usage;
• developing a province-wide reporting system; and
• using the data from such reports to inform provincial policy respecting
weapon use and to inform training.
Conducted energy weapons are, and will continue to be, a controversial use-of-force
option because of their capacity to cause intense pain and incapacitation, and because
of the medical risks associated with their use. Thus, it is imperative that important
information about each incident be reported and recorded, and that this information
be used to drive improvements to policy and training. Given the significant public
interest in these weapons, it is equally important that detailed information about
conducted energy weapon usage be published regularly.256

256 During our public forums, Staff Superintendent Michael Federico of the Toronto Police Service told
me that the police service must report annually, in writing, to the Toronto Police Services Board
respecting conducted energy weapon usage. The report includes the number and circumstances of
weapon use, injuries and deaths, public complaints, civil law suits, investigations, officer training,
deployment, and effectiveness. Board members ask questions and members of the public are invited to
comment. See Transcript, May 14, 2008, pp. 61-93.

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I recognize that developing a comprehensive reporting system will be complex and will
take time. It may require a separate reporting protocol, or it may be possible to
incorporate conducted energy weapon reporting into general use-of-force reports.
Care will be required to capture all the information needed to properly inform policy
development and training, without making it unreasonably onerous on officers. It is
hoped that consistency can be achieved with the RCMP (in its capacity as British
Columbia’s provincial police force) in what incident data is recorded, so that
meaningful comparative analyses can be made. For all these reasons, it would be
inappropriate for me to attempt to make detailed recommendations about the new
reporting system. I will restrict my recommendations to the general goals, about
which I sense widespread consensus.

Recommendation 16
I recommend that the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor
General, without delay:
• develop a province-wide conducted energy weapon incident
report form that will capture enough information to permit the
type of analysis undertaken by this Commission, as reported in
Part 7 of this Report;
• require that the report form be completed whenever an officer
of a provincially regulated law enforcement agency deploys a
conducted energy weapon, even if deployment is limited to
display mode only;
• develop a province-wide electronic system for the reporting and
analysis of conducted energy weapon incidents;
• require that every completed report form be forwarded without
delay to the ministry, and that the data on the report form be
entered into the province-wide electronic system;
• review reported incidents, at least quarterly, for the purposes of
informing the development of policy and training;
• publish, at least annually, a detailed report on conducted energy
weapon usage by provincially regulated law enforcement
agencies; and
• require each provincially regulated law enforcement agency:

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o to implement a “sign out” policy whenever a conducted
energy weapon and/or a probe cartridge is issued to an
officer;
o to designate a specific employee to download the data
from every conducted energy weapon at least once every
month (matching the data relating to each deployment
against the related incident report), and to report any
discrepancies to that employee’s supervisor;
o to review the use of conducted energy weapons by its
own officers at least quarterly, to determine compliance
with policy; and
o to report at least annually, to the responsible provincial
minister, and in the case of a municipal police
department to the police board, on the agency’s use of
its conducted energy weapons.
I recognize that no one likes to fill out reports, and I commend officers who would
rather be on the beat than completing forms. However, officers already must
complete use-of-force incident reports. The purpose of this recommendation is not to
make officers’ lives more difficult, but to standardize reporting and to provide law
enforcement agencies and policy-makers with more complete and accurate
information.

L. THE NEED FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Many have proposed additional research into conducted energy weapons. Specific
suggestions can be found in many of the reports I summarized in Part 8, in the
presentations made during our public forums and in research papers prepared by
Commission staff. Implicit in many of these proposals is a frustration that there has
been, to date, an inordinate dependence on anecdotal and vendor-supported research
and studies. I share those concerns.
Conducted energy weapons were introduced into use in British Columbia based on
modest field testing (nine discharges by one police department over six months),

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reliance upon equally modest medical research and no federal safety approval. This
process is contrasted with the rigorous testing required of medical devices and
prescription drugs before they are approved for sale in Canada. In the medical field,
the presumption is that a new device or drug is not approved until the manufacturer
satisfies federal regulatory authorities that it is safe. With conducted energy
weapons, just the opposite occurred. They were approved for use based on a
presumption that they were safe, and will continue to be used until they are shown to
be unsafe.
After a decade of widespread use by law enforcement agencies across the country,
there is little value in closing the barn door—the horse is long gone. But there are
things that can be done to remedy this topsy-turvy history. We can, albeit late in the
day, identify the risks associated with use of these weapons and press ahead with
credible research.
Based on the Commission’s review of the medical research that I summarized in
Part 9, and my review of Dr. Chambers’ advice and of proposals made by other
presenters and in many reports, I suggest that the types of future research that will be
most valuable will be:
• Independent—there is a natural tendency to discount studies that are
conducted or funded by parties that are perceived to have an interest in the
outcome. While the law-enforcement community and vendors are entitled to
pursue whatever research activities they desire, policy-makers will
legitimately place more confidence in research that is independent of any
such interests.
• Science-based—it is essential that research is based on data, not anecdote,
and that sound methodological standards are followed.
• Large—given that much of the research needs to focus on the capacity of a
conducted energy weapon to cause harm and on attempting to quantify that
risk, it is essential that large study samples be used. As I noted in Part 9,
there is limited value to research that finds that a particular medical
reaction did not occur in a case study involving several dozen subjects, when
the risk of such a reaction occurring is in the range of 1:1,000.
Implementation of a province-wide conducted energy weapon-incident
database, as I proposed in the preceding section, is a prerequisite to these
types of studies.

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• Real-life studies—while I understand the reasons behind using animals for
some studies, there is an understandable reluctance to extrapolate results
from such studies to humans—researchers themselves acknowledge this
limitation. Empirical studies using human subjects are preferred but even
then, it is important to use subjects who share characteristics with those
who are likely to be the subjects of conducted energy weapon discharges in
real life.
• National scope—while several reports have called for a specific agency or
province to undertake further research, it would be preferable to take on
this work nationally, so that it is done once, comprehensively and
economically.
As I noted earlier, I am satisfied from the Commission’s review of the North American
and international medical research undertaken to date that conducted energy
weapons have the capacity to cause serious injury and death. That being so, it seems
to me that the most fruitful focus of future research would be to attempt to:
• quantify that risk;
• identify the highest-risk subjects; and
• identify the highest-risk external circumstances.
The results of research into those issues should feed into “best practices”—in other
words, using research results to inform policy and training. Several examples come to
mind:
• The medical evidence reviewed in Part 9 suggests that the most serious
medical risks arise when a conducted energy weapon is deployed in probe
mode across the subject’s chest, vectoring the heart. If so, how should that
finding influence the development of policy and recruit training?
• The controversy around “excited delirium” distracts us from the real-life
challenge of advising officers how to respond to emotionally disturbed
people. Once we have a clear understanding of the underlying medical
condition and the associated medical risks, we will be in a much better
position to develop effective responses that bring the situation under control
but do not, in the process, aggravate the medical risks.
• As we understand more about what physiological changes occur in a subject’s
body as a result of a weapon’s electrical discharge (especially in the case of
multiple deployments), we may be able to give officers more guidance
respecting how, and how not, to restrain the subject.

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Recommendation 17
I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
encourage the minister’s federal, provincial, and territorial
counterparts to develop and fund a national research program for
conducted energy weapons that will promote independent, sciencebased, and peer-reviewed research that attaches priority to:
• quantifying the medical risks associated with conducted energy
weapon use;
• identifying the highest-risk subjects;
• identifying the highest-risk external circumstances; and
• developing recommendations for best practices, including but
not limited to:
o deployments in probe mode across the subject’s chest;
o multiple deployments; and
o emotionally disturbed people.

M. FUTURE REVIEW
My review of conducted energy weapons shows that while we know a great deal about
these weapons and their impact on the human body, there is much that we do not
know. Medical research is ongoing, and a few years from now we hope to know much
more than we do today. My present concerns about medical risks may be put to rest,
or they may be heightened.
Similarly, new conducted energy weapons are already entering the market, with
different characteristics that may increase or decrease concerns about medical risks,
and that may necessitate a reconsideration of proportionality.
Finally, the public needs assurance that their concern about conducted energy weapon
usage that precipitated this Commission of Inquiry has resulted in concrete changes to
policy and training, and to weapon usage on our streets.
For these reasons, I see this Report as a starting point, not the final chapter on
conducted energy weapons. Consequently, I think it is essential that there be an

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ongoing assessment of these weapons and their place in our society. I am not content
to close with a hopeful suggestion that government undertake further work on these
issues; a more definitive commitment is needed.
More than a decade ago, when the Legislative Assembly established a new office of a
police complaint commissioner, it entrenched in legislation a requirement for a
subsequent review of that office’s work. Section 51.2 of the Police Act, R.S.B.C.
1996, c. 367 states:
(1)
A special committee of the Legislative Assembly must begin a
comprehensive review of this Part and the work of the police complaint
commissioner within 3 years after this Part comes into force and must submit
to the Legislative Assembly, within one year after beginning the review, a
report that includes any amendments to this Part that the committee
recommends.
(2)
As part of the review process contemplated by subsection (1), the
committee must solicit and consider written and oral input from any interested
person or organization.
I think this is a salutary approach, although in this case I would leave it up to the
Legislative Assembly to decide whether a special committee of the Legislative
Assembly or a respected, knowledgeable, and impartial individual conduct the review.

Recommendation 18
I recommend that the Police Act be amended to require that a special
committee of the Legislative Assembly, or an individual appointed by
the Legislative Assembly, begin a comprehensive review of conducted
energy weapons within three years after this Report is made public
and submit to the Legislative Assembly, within one year after
beginning the review, a report that includes, but is not necessarily
limited to:
• the extent to which the recommendations contained in this
Report have been implemented;
• new information about the medical risks associated with the use
of conducted energy weapons, including new models of weapons
that have become available since this Report was written; and

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• recommendations relating to the circumstances in which it is
appropriate to use conducted energy weapons, and to training of
officers in the use of such weapons.

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Part 11
Postscript:
RCMP Compliance with Provincial
Regulation

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RCMP COMPLIANCE WITH PROVINCIAL REGULATION
It is ironic that although it was the use of a conducted energy weapon by RCMP
officers against Mr. Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport in October 2007
that precipitated this study commission, the order appointing me to inquire into the
use of conducted energy weapons specifically excludes the RCMP from my study.
There is a sound reason of constitutional law for this exclusion. The RCMP is regulated
federally, and several rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada have established that
a provincially appointed commission of inquiry has only limited authority to inquire
into the internal management and administration of the RCMP.257 For this reason, my
recommendations are limited to provincially regulated law enforcement agencies. The
RCMP is not obligated to implement any of my recommendations, and the province has
no legal authority to compel it to do so.
The same “split” happens with police complaints. If a member of the public has a
complaint against a municipal police officer, the provincially appointed Police
Complaint Commissioner, who acts as an independent watchdog over municipal police
departments, oversees the investigation and adjudication of that complaint.
However, if the same member of the public has a complaint against an RCMP officer,
the provincial Police Complaint Commissioner has no jurisdiction. The investigation
and adjudication of that complaint is overseen in Ottawa, by the federally established
Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which has completely separate
rules and procedures.
As I noted earlier in this Report, approximately 70 percent of British Columbians live in
communities that are policed by members of the RCMP. Some may find it troubling
that, if the province accepts and implements the recommendations contained in this
Report, these reforms will not automatically apply to most areas of the province.
Indeed, they will apply only to the 12 municipalities policed by our 11 municipal police
257 See Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1979] 1 S.C.R. 218, and Alberta
(Attorney General) v. Putnam, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 267.

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departments, unless the RCMP voluntarily agrees to be bound. That scenario troubles
me as well—surely it is in the public interest that the same rules apply throughout the
entire province.
Since the early 1950s, British Columbia has contracted with the RCMP to act as our
provincial police force in rural areas, and in municipalities that choose not to establish
municipal police departments. The three current policing agreements, which took
effect in 1992, expire on March 31, 2012. It is my understanding that the province is
currently in preliminary discussions with the federal government about renewing these
agreements.
It is beyond my mandate to comment on whether the province should renew its
policing agreements with the RCMP. What I will say, however, is that it would be
regrettable if the province entered into new agreements in 2012 with the RCMP,
without the RCMP committing itself contractually to adopt and implement whatever
rules, policies, and procedures respecting conducted energy weapons are applicable to
provincially regulated law enforcement agencies.

Recommendation 19
I recommend that, as a precondition to the Province of British
Columbia entering into new policing agreements with the RCMP in
2012, the provincial Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
require that the RCMP (in its capacity as the provincial police force)
contractually agree to comply with the rules, policies, and
procedures respecting conducted energy weapons that are applicable
to provincially regulated law enforcement agencies.

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APPENDICES
A.

Terms of Reference ............................................................ 343

B.

List of Submitters ............................................................... 345

C.

Bibliography for Part 9: Medical Risks ....................................... 349

D.

Provincial Standards for Municipal Police Departments in British
Columbia ......................................................................... 359

E.

British Columbia Law Enforcement Agencies:
Comparisons of Use-of-Force and CEW Policies............................ 363

F.

British Columbia Law Enforcement Agencies:
Comparisons of CEW Training Policies and Practices ..................... 397

G.

Use of CEW by Municipal Police Agencies in British Columbia........... 457

H.

Use of CEW by the Sheriff Services in British Columbia .................. 505

I.

Use of CEW by Provincial Corrections in British Columbia ............... 523

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APPENDICES

342

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APPENDIX A
THOMAS R. BRAIDWOOD, Q.C., COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY
PURPOSE AND TERMS OF REFERENCE
Definitions
1

In this Order:
“Conducted energy weapon” means a weapon or device commonly referred to
as a Taser®;
“Mr. Dziekanski” means Mr. Robert Dziekanski, who died at the Vancouver
International Airport on October 14, 2007;
“RCMP” means the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force continued under the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (Canada).

Establishment of two commissions
2

(1)

A study commission, called the Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., Study Commission, is
established under section 2 of the Public Inquiry Act to inquire into and report on
the use of conducted energy weapons by the following in the performance of
their duties and the exercise of their powers:
(a)

constables of police forces of British Columbia, other than the RCMP;

(b)

sheriffs under the Sheriff Act;

(c)

authorized persons under the Correction Act.

(2)

A hearing and study commission, called the Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., Hearing
and Study Commission, is established under section 2 of the Public Inquiry Act to
inquire into and report on the death of Mr. Dziekanski.

(3)

Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., is the sole commissioner of each of the commissions
established under this section.

Purposes of the commissions
3

(1)

The purpose of the study commission established under section 2 (1) is to make
recommendations respecting the appropriate use of conducted energy weapons
by constables, sheriffs and authorized persons referred to in section 2 (1), in the
performance of their duties and the exercise of their powers.

(2)

The purposes of the hearing and study commission established under section 2 (2)
are as follows:

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APPENDIX A

(a)

to provide Mr. Dziekanski’s family and the public with a complete record of
the circumstances of and relating to Mr. Dziekanski’s death;

(b)

to make recommendations referred to in section 4 (2) (c).

Terms of reference
4

(1)

The terms of reference of the inquiries to be conducted by the study commission
established under section 2 (1) are as follows:
(a)

to review current rules, policies and procedures applicable to constables,
sheriffs and authorized persons referred to in section 2 (1) in respect of
their use of conducted energy weapons and their training and re-training in
that use;

(b)

to review research, studies, reports and evaluations respecting the safety
and effectiveness of conducted energy weapons when used in policing and
law enforcement in British Columbia and in other jurisdictions;

(c)

to make recommendations respecting
(i)
(ii)

(d)
(2)

the appropriate use of conducted energy weapons by constables,
sheriffs and authorized persons referred to in section 2 (1) in the
performance of their duties and the exercise of their powers, and
the appropriate training or re-training of those constables,
sheriffs and authorized persons in that use of conducted energy
weapons;

to submit a report to the Attorney General on or before June 30, 2008*.

The terms of reference of the inquiries to be conducted by the hearing and study
commission under section 2 (2) are as follows:
(a)

to conduct hearings, in or near the City of Vancouver, into the
circumstances of and relating to Mr. Dziekanski’s death;

(b)

to make a complete report of the events and circumstances of and relating
to Mr. Dziekanski’s death, not limited to the actual cause of death;

(c)

to make recommendations the commissioner considers necessary and
appropriate;

(d)

to submit a report to the Attorney General on or before a date to be
determined by the Attorney General in consultation with the
Commissioner.

* Amended by OIC 882/2008 to June 30, 2009

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APPENDIX B
LIST OF SUBMITTERS
•

These people made a presentation during the public forums.

Submitters
Abley, Sandy
•

Amnesty International Canada

•

BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police

•

BC Civil Liberties Association
BC Medical Association

•

BC Ministry of Attorney General, Court Services Branch, Sheriff Services

•

BC Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, BC Corrections Branch, BC Adult
Custody Division

•

BC Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, Police Services Division

•

BC Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, Police Services Division, Policing and
Community Safety Branch

•

BC Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
BC Schizophrenia Society
Beattie, Liane
Beil, Alison

•

Bozeman, Dr. William P.

•

Butt, Dr. John

•

Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

•

Chambers, Dr. Keith
Chen, Jinan

•

Cisowski, Zofia

•

Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
Cook County Trauma Unit
Creba, Doug
Crossley, Maynard
Curry, Ken
Davies, John
Dawson, Robin H.

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APPENDIX B

Submitters, cont’d
Dean, Vernan
•

Dosanjh, Hon. Ujjal
Excited-Delirium.com (blog owner)

•

Gallagher, Cathy & Joseph
Gillman, Patti

•

Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service

•

Hall, Dr. Christine A.
Hantiuk, Margaret

•

Ho, Dr. Jeff
Huntley, David

•

Janusz, Dr. Michael T.

•

Kerr, Dr. Charles R.
Kohne, Horst

•

Kosteckyj, Walter
Krzywiecki, Christopher
Langevin, Trevor
Lee, Buddy

•

Lu, Dr. Shao-Hua
McDiarmid, Garnet L.
McDonald, Hunter
McLeod, Lorraine
Moulds, Joy E.
Moyle, Barbarra

•

New Westminster Police Department

•

Noone, Dr. Joe
Oshanek, Lawrence A.

•

Page, Jay

•

Panescu, Dr. Dorin

Palys, Ted
Peet, Fred
•

Povah, Errol

•

Puder, Randy

•

Reilly, J. Patrick

•

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Rysstad, Maggie

346

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APPENDIX B

Submitters, cont’d
•

Savard, Dr. Pierre
Slater, Kate
Slewidge, Ken

•

Sloane, Dr. Christian
Spicer, Phil

•

Stethem, Kenneth J.
Street Kid’s Project

•

Swanson, Jude

•

Swerdlow, Dr. Charles

•

TASER International, Inc.

•

Toronto Police Service

•

Tseng, Dr. Zian H.
Ussner, Maryanna

•

Vallance, Dr. Maelor

•

Vancouver Police Department

•

Victoria Police Department

•

Ward, Cameron
Watamaniuk, Mark

•

Webster, Dr. John G.

•

Webster, Dr. Michael
Weitz, Don
White, Natalie

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347

APPENDIX B

348

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APPENDIX C
BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR PART 9: MEDICAL RISKS
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APPENDIX C

Bozeman, William P. “Taser Medical Safety: The State of the Science.” Presentation at the
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350

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APPENDIX C

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APPENDIX C

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352

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Damage to Conducting Tissue: A Hypothesis and Review of the Literature.” (1996) 53 Intl. J.
Cardiol. 273.
Ruggieri, James Angelo. “Forensic Engineering Analysis of Electro-Shock Weapon Safety.”
(2005) 22:2 J. National Academy of Forensic Engineers 19.
Ruggieri, James Angelo. “Lethality of Taser Weapons.” (2005) Am. Acad. of Forensic Engineers
(AAFS) abstract proceedings, Feb. 25, 2005, online: A Collection of Articles Related to TASERS
and Other “Stun” Devices. http://www.charlydmiller.com/LIB07/2006TaserCollection.html
#2006Pigs.
Sadhu, Srikanth, Sergio Leal, & Caesar Herrera, et al. “Ventricular Fibrillation and Death after
Taser Injury.” [Abstract] (2006) 3:5 Heart Rhythm Suppl. 1: S72.
Sanford, Janyce M., et al. “Two Patients Subdued with a taser® Device: Cases and Review of
Complications.” (2008) J. Emerg. Med. 1, online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
18439781?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_
DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum.
Schmiederer, Bert, et al. “Specific Traces in Stun Gun Deployment.” (2005) 119 Int. J. Legal
Med. 207.
Seth, Rajeev K., et al. “Cataract Injury Secondary to Electrical Shock from a Taser Gun.”
[Abstract] (2007) 33:9 J. Cataract Refract. Surg. 1664.
Sloane, Christian, Theodore C. Chan & Gary M. Vilke. “Thoracic Spine Compression Fracture
After Taser Activation.” (2008) 34:3 J. Emerg. Med. 283.
Spencer, B.L. “Psychological Disorders Resulting from Electrical Shock.” [Abstract] (1944) 6
Psychol. Bull. 377.
Stanbrook, Matthew B. “Tasers in Medicine: An Irreverent Call for Proposals.” (2008) 178(11)
CMAJ 1401.
Strote, Jared & H. Range Hutson. “Taser Use in Restraint-Related Deaths.” (2006) 10:4
Prehosp. Emerg. Care 447.
Sullivan, Laura. “Death by Excited Delirium; diagnosis or cover-up?” NPR (April 24, 2008),
online: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7608386.

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Sun, Hongyu & John G. Webster. “Estimating Neuromuscular Stimulation within the Human
Torso with Taser Stimulus.” (2007) 52 Phys. Med. Biol. 6401.
Sungur, Murat & Muhammed Guven. [Letter to the Editor] “Rhabdomyolysis Caused by Electric
Injury.” (2001) 20:2 J. Emerg. Med. 1995.
Swerdlow, Charles, et al. “Presenting Rhythm in Sudden Custodial Deaths After Use of TASER
Electronic Control Device.” [Abstract AB22-1] presented at the Heart Rhythm Society 29th
Annual Meeting, May 2008 [unpublished].
Tchou, Patrick J. “Finding the Edge of Heart Safety.” (2007) IEEE Spectrum, online: ieee
spectrum online. http://spectrum.ieee.org/dec07/5731/3.
Tchou, Patrick J. [Letter to the Editor] “Reply” (2007) 49:6 JACC 733.
Theodore, Terri. “Inquiry becomes lightning rod for complaints of taser abuse.” The Canadian
Press (June 4, 2008).
Truscott, Amanda. “A Knee in the Neck of Excited Delirium.” (2008) CMAJ 178(6): 669.
Turner, Matthew S. & Mary I. Jumbelic. “Stun Gun Injuries in the Abuse and Death of a SevenMonth-Old Infant.” [Abstract] (2003) 48:1 J. Forensic Sci. 180.
U.K. Police Scientific Development Branch of the Home Office. “Appendix D— ‘Medical
Implications of the Use of the M26 Taser—The Effects of Drugs of Abuse on the Cardiac Action
Potential in Sheep Isolated Purkinje Fibres’ [Supplement to HOSDB Evaluations of Taser
Devices].” London, U.K.: HOSDB (2004).
Valentino, Daniel J., et al. “Neuromuscular Effects of Stun Gun Devices.” (2007) J. Surg.
Research 143: 78.
Vilke, Gary M., et al. “Physiological Effects of a Conducted Energy Weapon on Human
Subjects.” (2007) 50:5 Ann. Emerg Med. 569.
Vilke, Gary M., et al. “Twelve-Lead Electrocardiogram Monitoring of Subjects Before and After
Voluntary Exposure to the Taser X26.” (2008) 26 Am. J. Emerg. Med. 1.
Walters, Tom. “Taser International Suffers Rare Court Loss.” CTV News (June 6, 2008) online:
CTV News http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20080610/taser_lawsuit_
080610?hub=WinnipegHome.
Wang, Richard Y. “pH-Dependent Cocaine-Induced Cardiotoxicity.” (1998) 17:4 Am. J. Emerg.
Med. 364.
Welsh, James. “Electroshock Torture and the Spread of Stun Technology.” (1997) Lancet 349:
1.

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APPENDIX C

Winslow, James E., et al. “Thoracic Compression Fractures as a Result of Shock from a
Conducted Energy Weapon: A Case Report.” (2007) 50:5 Ann. Emerg. Med. 584.
Wu, Jiun-Yan, et al. “Taser Dart-to-Heart Distance That Causes Ventricular Fibrillation in Pigs.”
(2007) 54:3 IEEE Transactions on Biomed. Engineering 503.
Zylich, Neil P. “Taser Evaluation and Analysis.” [Unpublished. Report made to the US Consumer
Product Safety Commission, during period when TASERS were under CPSC jurisdiction, Feb.
1976.]

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APPENDIX D
PROVINCIAL STANDARDS FOR MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
This matrix indicates whether or not the policies written by various law enforcement agencies fulfill the requirements
established by the Provincial Standards for Municipal Police Departments in British Columbia (the “Standards”).
When interpreting this matrix, there are a number of important cautions that must be kept in mind.
1. Some agencies have adopted a verbatim wording of the Standards in their policies, while others have not. Thus, in some
agencies it is indisputable that a particular standard has been incorporated into policy given the common language in
both the policy and the Standards. However, when an agency has not adopted the same language as contained within
the Standards, achievement of that standard is subject to interpretation, and it may be open to debate whether or not a
particular standard has been satisfied in policy. If the matrix indicates that a particular standard has been achieved by
an agency, the agency either contains the Standard verbatim, or contains provisions that articulate (substantially, if not
precisely) the requirements contained within the Standard.
2. A number of the Standards are very generally worded. (For instance, “Written policy governs the use and control of
weapons and ammunition issued by the department.”) Thus, policies have satisfied this Standard in a number of very
different ways which vary significantly in detail. Simply satisfying a Standard does not necessarily indicate how
comprehensively that Standard has been satisfied.

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3. The Braidwood Commission has been provided with general use-of-force policies and, in some instances, specific
conducted energy weapons policies. However, policy provisions specifically related to other types of force (such as
vascular neck restraint) have not been submitted to the Commission; thus, in some instances it is unclear if an agency
satisfies the Standards that relate to these force options.

Information displayed in this matrix is based on information
received by the Braidwood Commissions of Inquiry as of July 31, 2008.

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APPENDIX D

PROVINCIAL STANDARDS FOR MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver

Victoria

West Vancouver

Corrections

RCMP

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Sheriffs

Saanich

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Kitasoo

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police

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Other Agencies

Port Moody

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Oak Bay

GVTA

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New West

Delta

√

Nelson

Central Saanich

Part

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Standard

Written policy recognizes that the authority for the use of force is found in
A1.2.1
the Criminal Code .
A1.2.2 Written policy governs discharge of warning shots.1
Written policy governs the carrying of firearms, ammunition, and other
A1.2.3
weapons while off duty.
Written policy governs the use and control of weapons and ammunition issued
A1.2.4
by the department (note: includes weapons other than firearms).2
Written policy establishes procedures for firearms and weapons inspections,
A1.2.5
and replacement of ammunition.
Written policy requires that only officer trained and demonstrating
proficiency in the use of department authorized firearms or weapons be
A1.2.6
carry and use such firearms or weapons (note: intended to cover use of any
weapon).
Written policy requires each officer to qualify at least annually with any
A1.2.7 firearm or other weapon that the officer is authorized to use (note: policy

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3

should also describe the qualifications required).
Written policy requires that only firearms, ammunition, and other weapons
authorized by the Chief Constable be used in the performance of duty.
Written policy requires that a written report be submitted whenever an
A1.2.9
officer, or other employee:
● Takes action that results in injury or death of another person, including the
officer or any other officer.
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level restraint and compliance.4
Written policy establishes criteria concerning the assignment of an officer
whose use of force results in a death or grievous bodily harm.5

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● Applies force by any means, other than routine handcuffing or low levels of
restraint.
Written policy includes procedures for reviewing incidents in which an officer
applies force by means of a weapon or firearm, lateral neck restraint, or the
A1.2.10
application of force, by any means, other than routine handcuffing or lowA1.2.11

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361

APPENDIX D

PROVINCIAL STANDARDS FOR MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

New West

Oak Bay

Port Moody

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police

Vancouver

Victoria

West Vancouver

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Sheriffs

Nelson

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RCMP

Kitasoo

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Corrections

Delta

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GVTA

Central Saanich

Part

Other Agencies

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

?6

?6

?6

?6

Standard

Written policy requires that only officers trained and demonstrating
A1.2.12 proficiency in applying the lateral neck restraint are authorized to apply this
technique.
Written policy requires each officer authorized to apply the lateral neck
A1.2.13
restraint, to qualify at least annually in applying this technique.

Source: Police Services Division, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Victoria, BC.
1 In the context of CEWs, warning shots may consist of CEW "sparking." However, the legislative requirement may not have intended that this provision apply to CEWs.
Thus, most policies may contain provisions related to warning shots from firearms, but none contain provisions related to “warning shots” from CEWs.
2 This is a very general provision that is easily satisfied in policy by widely divergent provisions.
3 Some jurisdictions specify re-certification periods longer than one year. No agencies list qualification standards in policy, though Nelson policy refers to (but does
not list) the standards established by the Provincial Use of Force Coordinator.
4 The checkmarked agencies require review in these circumstances, but policy is not always explicit as to the procedures to be followed during a review, and
provisions related to review vary between agencies .
5 Policies do not establish this criteria, but simply note that reassignment will be based on “established criteria.”
6 Provision may be contained in another departmental policy that the Braidwood Commission has not received (the Commission was only provided with conducted
energy weapons policies).

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APPENDIX E
BRITISH COLUMBIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
1. POLICIES FOR CEW USE..................................................................................................................365
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED....................................................................369
3. STEPS PRIOR TO CEW DEPLOYMENT ...................................................................................................370
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT .....................................................................................................372
5. PROTOCOL FOR MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENT .........................................................................373
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL ................................................................................... 375
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL..............................................................................378
8. VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION ......................................................................................381
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW ................................................................................................382
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM .......................................................................................................................387
11. CEW DEFINITIONS ........................................................................................................................389
12. LEGAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR CEW USE (INCLUDING TRAINING) .............................................390
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE........................................................................................392
14. CEW HANDLING ...........................................................................................................................394
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE..................................................................................................................395
16. DATA DOWNLOADING ....................................................................................................................396

Information displayed in these matrices is based on information
received by the Braidwood Commissions of Inquiry as of February 3, 2009.

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APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
1. POLICIES FOR CEW USE

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Determining the appropriate use-of-force measure to apply
Verbal communication without the use of force is to be the preferred method of
interaction.
Members are authorized to use approved non-deadly-force techniques and issued
equipment for resolution of incidents to bring an unlawful situation safely and
effectively under control.
The CEW is an option to be used in conjunction with a firearm and as an
alternative to deadly force, where reasonable and appropriate to do so.
CEWs are not an alternative to lethal force, but rather can be used in conjunction
with lethal force where reasonable and appropriate to do so.
Police officers will use only that force which is reasonably necessary to effectively
and safely bring an incident under control while protecting the life of the officer or
another.
Any force used by an officer to control another person must be reasonable and
justifiable.
Police response is governed by the National Use-of-Force Model.
A person’s actions will govern the appropriate response by officers in accordance
with the Department’s Use-of-Force Framework Model.
A member need not be physically attacked before taking pre-emptive physical
measures. Pre-assault cues such as aggressive body language, facial expression,
posture, proximity, stance, muscle tension, verbal threats, and non-compliance
with commands are all factors which may justify officer use of force.
Members are authorized to use approved non-deadly-force techniques and issued
equipment for resolution of incidents to protect themselves or others from
physical harm.
Any force used by an officer should be determined by the actions or lack of
compliance by the subject.
In making an arrest, an officer will use only such force as is reasonably necessary
to secure and detain the offender.
An officer should select the appropriate force option that is judged to be the least
violent to safely gain control over the subject.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
1. POLICIES FOR CEW USE

In Canada, the courts have allowed police officers to use a higher level of force
than that which they face, commonly known as the “One Plus Theory”. As such,
a member is justified in escalating to a level of force considered to be one higher
than that of an offender he or she is attempting to control. This is
acknowledgement that public safety and the safety of the officer must be
considered ahead of that of the offender. Situational dynamics are such that no
attempt each and every “level” of force before proceeding to the next level. Lower
levels must be deemed ineffective or inappropriate by members, thus
justifying escalation. CEWs have been approved for use to assist in prisoner
management, primarily in cells and prisoner transport.
The following considerations may be a factor in the choice of force options:
● time and distance
● multiple subjects
● abilities comparison
● demonstrated threat
● special knowledge
● situational environment
Corrections officers may use a reasonable degree of force to prevent injury or
death, prevent property damage, prevent an inmate from escaping, or to maintain
custody and control of an inmate.
Force used by officers to carry out a lawful duty is proportional to the risk
presented.
Factors to consider when determining reasonableness of use of force, including
whether the officer was acting in good faith, will include:
● subject factors: age, size, gender, skills or perceived skills, multiple subjects,
weapons, pre-assaultive signs, mentality;
● officer factors: size, age, gender, skill level/physical abilities, exhaustion, injury,
ground fighting, perception of threat, imminent danger of death or serious
bodily injury, position, time, distance, proximity to weapon, tactical withdrawal
possibility/disengagement;
● environmental factors: friendly/hostile territory, availability of cover, proximity
of back-up, terrain (footing), weather (effectiveness of a force option), lighting
(ability to see).

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

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Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
1. POLICIES FOR CEW USE

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Behavioural grounds warranting CEW use
Combative or non-compliant individual poses a risk of bodily harm to the public
or the police.
Individual displays active resistance or beyond and the member assesses a threat
to officer or public safety on the totality of the circumstances encountered.
Individual displays active resistance or beyond.
Subject to situational factors, where persons are displaying active resistance (i.e. ,
resisting an officer’s lawful efforts to take them into custody, without attacking
the officer), and an officer reasonably believes the use of a CEW is appropriate and
reasonable, an officer may use the push-stun mode, thereby obtaining compliance
from the person.
Where an officer is confronted, or reasonably believes that they will be confronted,
by a person who is offering assaultive resistance, or who poses a threat of serious
bodily harm or death to themselves, the police, or to others, an officer may use the
CEW in either the push-stun mode or probe mode.
A CEW shall only be used on subjects who need to be immediately controlled and
the member reasonably believes will be actively aggressive/assaultive toward
police or others.
A CEW may only be used where the officer perceives that an inmate has intent and
means to cause immediate and serious harm to the officer or others; or where an
inmate is attempting to escape.
A CEW may be deployed by a qualified member to gain physical control of a
suicidal subject.
A CEW may be deployed by a qualified member to gain physical control of a violent
subject.
A CEW may be deployed by a qualified member to gain physical control of a
potentially violent subject.
The CEW shall only be deployed on subjects whom a member has reasonable and
probable grounds to believe are a danger to themselves or others.
CEW technology is an effective option for incapacitating individuals injurious to
themselves.
CEW technology is an effective option for incapacitating individuals under the
influence of drugs or alcohol.
CEW technology is an effective option for incapacitating individuals being
destructive.

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367

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
1. POLICIES FOR CEW USE

A CEW device is deployed:
● in tactical operations;
● in a cell entry and extraction;
● in response to an escape or escape attempt;
● for external prowl, when inmates are in a secure outside yard; and
● as approved by the warden or designate when intervention is required to:
• prevent self-harm;
• compel compliance;
• terminate violent and destructive behaviour;
• protect safety of staff and inmates; and
• when less use of force is inappropriate or unreasonable.

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

√

Other contextual circumstances to consider in determining if CEW use is appropriate
The reasonableness of any CEW use will always be determined by the situational
factors and use-of-force protocol.
CEW use allowed only when lower force options were ineffective or
√
inappropriate.
Where the use of approved CEWs is judged by an officer to be an appropriate
method of control, it may be deployed, having first given consideration to the
● the requisite time and distance are present;
● the subject is reasonably contained and officer/public safety is not compromised;
● the officer and/or the subject are not located in flammable or combustible
environments.
Use of CEWs to immobilize a physically aggressive or non-compliant inmate is
reserved for situations in which the officer perceives that the inmate has the intent
cause immediate and serious harm to the officer or others or when an inmate is
attempting to escape.

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APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General prohibitions
Controlled stun shall not be used for pain compliance purposes only.

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As a replacement for a firearm in a deadly force encounter.

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Against those demonstrating passive resistance.

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In a punitive manner.

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In a criminal manner.
In a coercive manner.

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Specific prohibitions
Not to be used when flammable liquids are present.

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Not to be used on children.

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Not to be used on the elderly.

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Not to be used on pregnant women.

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Not to be used on the physically disabled.
Not to be used on a handcuffed or restrained prisoner (unless behaviour cannot be
controlled otherwise).
Not to be used if subject’s fall could result in death or grievous bodily harm.

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Not to target neck, head, or genitalia.

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Not to target head or face.

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Not to be used directly against skin without a deployed cartridge attached.

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Not to be used to obtain fingerprints.
Avoid use at very low temperatures (below -20 or -30oC).
Passive resistant behaviour is the lowest level of resistance. The person resists
control through passive physical actions or verbal refusal in response to lawful
commands. This level of resistance can be in the form of dead-weight posture
intended to make the officer lift, pull, drag, or push the person to maintain
control, e.g. , the person is sitting handcuffed and refusing to get up or get into the
back of a police vehicle without the person struggling defensively. It is not
appropriate to use the CEW in this type of situation.

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369

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
3. STEPS PRIOR TO CEW DEPLOYMENT

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Procedure before deployment
Where time and circumstances permit, a supervisor is to be advised prior to the
deployment of the CEW.

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Officer safety
Cover officer or supervisor should be present to assist.

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Members not equipped with CEWs shall, upon encountering a situation in which it
is determined that a CEW may be required, request that a member with a CEW
attend the scene.

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Use of CEW as “force presence” prior to discharge
CEW may be used as a force presence by presenting it and issuing a verbal
warning to obtain compliance.
If the presence of the CEW has failed, or was inappropriate or unreasonable, the
officer may choose to utilize:
The push-stun mode:
● to engage the subject in the stun capability without a loaded air cartridge; or
● to engage the subject in the stun capability with a spent (fired) air cartridge.
The probe mode:
● to discharge the CEW air cartridge at the subject which will connect to the
subject through probes and conduct wire.

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Stun or probe deployment?
Distance from subject must be considered when deciding between stun or probe
deployment.

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A CEW is used in the contact-stun mode when:
● probes fail to work;
● employing a second cartridge is not reasonably possible or appropriate; or
● proximity dictates and the inmate continues to resist.

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Use of a CEW in contact-stun mode is according to training procedures.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
3. STEPS PRIOR TO CEW DEPLOYMENT

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Sheriffs

Previous RCMP

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Current RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Warnings
Police will verbally warn the subject that the CEW will be used before it
is used.
Unless the circumstances make it impractical or unreasonable, the contact police
officer will notify other police officers at the scene, in person, that the CEW may
be used.
All secure locations where CEW units may be deployed, including escort vehicles,
must post the approved warning signs. Warning signs will not be posted in public
areas of the courthouse facility.

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Content of warning
Before using the CEW, when tactically feasible, give the CEW Challenge. “CEW
Challenge” means the declaration issued by a member before using the CEW:
“Police, stop or you will be hit with 50,000 volts of electricity!” The suggested
warning to be given to a subject prior to actively deploying the CEW is as follows:
“You have been instructed to __________, if you do not immediately comply with
those instructions you will be subjected to 50,000 volts of electricity.” While the
suggested warning does not need to be delivered “verbatim,” at minimum must
ensure that the subject knows:
● what they have been instructed to do;
● that they are expected to comply immediately; and
● that they will be subjected to 50,000 volts of electricity.

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Failure of force presence and warning
If the force presence of the CEW has failed (i.e. , presenting it and verbally warning
the subject that it will be used, thereby obtaining voluntary compliance from
the subject), or was inappropriate, the member would then discharge the CEW
darts at the subject needing to be controlled. (FORCE PRESENCE MUST BE
ATTEMPTED PRIOR TO DISCHARGE.)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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371

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

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Victoria

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Other Agencies
Vancouver

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Saanich

Port Moody

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Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Oak Bay

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New Westminster

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Steps to ensure officer safety
There should be at least one cover officer present to provide appropriate
alternative response options.

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Choice of stun or probe mode
Use of the CEW in the contact-stun mode shall only take place where the subject is
continuing to resist and:
● the probes have been discharged or have malfunctioned, and reloading is not
possible; or
● the physical situation restricts use of the probes.
The CEW is not to be used in the contact-stun mode when it is armed with a live
cartridge.
If a controlled stun is required due to a close-quarter encounter then a controlstun may be used with a deployed cartridge attached or not.

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CEW deployment protocol
When justified, an officer may discharge the probes at the subject (striking large
muscle groups, pelvic girdle, and nerve endings).
The laser sight on the CEW is not to be centred any higher than the subject's upper
chest. (Never in the eyes)
Members should approach and restrain the individual while the CEW is activated
but should avoid making contact between the two electrical probes.
Members should make every effort to take control of the subject as soon as
possible following deployment of a CEW, and if possible during the CEW
deployment.

372

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
5. PROTOCOL FOR MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENT

Current RCMP

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Sheriffs

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

√

Nelson

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General
If control of the subject has not been obtained within the five-second cycle of the
CEW the officer must consider that the first set of probes have missed or failed to
function.
Multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the CEW may be hazardous to a
subject.

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Protocol for multiple deployment
If the subject has not been controlled by the first application a second discharge
√
of probes may be necessary if appropriate.
In all cases, members must limit the delivery of additional electrical pulses to only
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those necessary to obtain control of the individual.
If the failure to control the subject is due to the weapon not affecting the subject,
the trigger may be depressed again for one more five-second cycle, or until the
subject has been controlled (whichever comes first).
The impulses are to be terminated as soon as the assaultive or resistant behaviour
has ceased and control established.
If the subject has failed to be controlled with the cartridge due to the fact that one
or more darts have missed or the CEW failed to operate properly, the contact
police officer may, if reasonable and appropriate to do so, provided that the
cartridge has been fired or removed, use the CEW in touch-stun mode by pressing
the front of the CEW firmly against the body of the subject (recommended touchstun locations: armpits, intercostals or pelvic triangle).
Do not cycle CEW more than 10 times consecutively.

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Situational reassessment
Conventional use-of-force theory dictates that officers abandon a particular tactic
if desired results are not achieved, and that the officer reassess and consider other
force options or disengage.
If control of the subject has not been obtained within five seconds after the
application of a cartridge or immediately upon the use of the CEW in touch-stun
mode, the police officer should reassess his or her options for controlling the
subject, and may consider further use of the CEW or other appropriate force
options.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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373

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
5. PROTOCOL FOR MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENT

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

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Previous RCMP

West Vancouver

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Corrections

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

Delta

Should the second discharge be ineffective the officer should consider the CEW to
be ineffective in controlling the subject and consider another appropriate force
option to gain control.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Length of CEW application
A member, when justified, will fire one set of darts at the subject and allow the
weapon to run through its five-second cycle, or until the subject has been
controlled (whichever comes first).
Multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the CEW may be hazardous to a
subject.
Members must be aware, as per training protocols, that multiple applications for
periods exceeding 15 to 20 seconds may increase risk to the subject.
A CEW shall not be used in a continuous cycle for a period exceeding fifteen (15) to
twenty (20) seconds in length.
If the failure to control the subject is due to the weapon not affecting the subject,
the trigger may be depressed again for one more five-second cycle, or until the
subject has been controlled (whichever comes first).

374

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL

Saanich

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Supervisor will ensure proper medical care is provided.

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Sheriffs

Port Moody

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Current RCMP

Oak Bay

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Previous RCMP

New Westminster

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Corrections

Nelson

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West Vancouver

Kitasoo

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Victoria

Delta

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Vancouver

Central Saanich

Subject is to be advised they have been “hit with a CEW” and the effects are
temporary.

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General protocol
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Emergency care and medical examination will be provided to the subject in
incidents where “Intermediate Weapons” are used.

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Medical treatment following CEW deployment
Circumstances warranting mandatory emergency assistance
If the probes are embedded into the skin, the member shall monitor the individual
and request the attendance of an ambulance or transport subject to hospital in
patrol vehicle if necessary (member not to remove the probes).
If probe penetrates the eye, genital, breast, or other sensitive area, member will
ensure medical treatment.
A member may not remove the probes if they are lodged in a sensitive part of the
body, such as the eye or groin, or if the individual's condition warrants medical
attention.
Officers will seek medical intervention when there is excessive bleeding from the
probe sites if the probes have fallen out or have been removed by the subject.
Medical intervention must be made when the subject displays an inappropriate or
unexpected response to the CEW:
● prolonged paralysis or stun response,
● loss of consciousness,
● seizure activity, or
● any other medical contra-indicator that causes concern.
Members must contact the Provincial Ambulance Service to attend location if CEW
deployed.
Medical intervention must be made when the subject incurs a possible injury from
a post-CEW fall:
● from greater than a standing height;
● onto a blunt or sharp object; or
● receives a blow to the head from the fall.
The physical signs, symptoms, and mental state shall be noted by the investigating
member and reviewed by EHS. Special care shall be taken with persons who are
intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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375

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL

Previous RCMP

Current RCMP

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Sheriffs

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Circumstances where medical assistance is not necessary
Probes penetrating the skin may be removed by officers trained in probe removal
or first aid.
Probes that have only penetrated the clothing may be removed by officers.
Probes should be removed in a manner that least interferes with subject’s privacy
and dignity.
Where the probes do not remain in the skin but caused a wound(s), first aid will be
provided.
It is not necessary to have a medically trained person examine the individual,
unless a probe is lodged in a sensitive part of the body, such as the eye or the
groin, or the individual's physical condition warrants medical attention.

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Medical assistance dependent on officer discretion
Transport to a medical facility is based on the discretion of Emergency Health
Services.
Ambulance to be contacted if member believes it is necessary.
Ambulance to be contacted if subject requests.
Ensure the individual receives medical attention if any unusual reactions occur or if
the member thinks that he or she is in distress.
Ensure the individual receives medical assistance if the individual has any apparent
injuries requiring medical treatment, the individual is in distress, or the individual
requests medical assistance.
Injured or sick persons have the right to refuse medical aid. The use of force to
provide medical aid shall only be used as a last resort, with extreme restraint and
only when either:
● the power of arrest exists (Criminal Code , Mental Health Act , Liquor Control
and Licensing Act, etc.), in which case members may transport to hospital via
ambulance for treatment; or
● the person appears to have life-threatening injuries and the refusal of treatment
appears irrational due to shock, drug or alcohol abuse, or other medical
condition (e.g. , epilepsy). If members reasonably believe the person is not capable
of consenting to treatment, the person may be forcibly taken via ambulance.
(FORCED MEDICAL TREATMENT)

376

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL

Current RCMP

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√

Sheriffs

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Protocol to follow if medical assistance is warranted
Paramedics are to be advised subject was “hit with a CEW” and request that an
emergency room physician attend to the subject.
Transport to medical facility will be in police transport, unless ambulance is more
appropriate.
If subject has potential to become aggressive in ambulance, officer will accompany
in ambulance.
Arresting member will provide physician name and time/date of release in report.
If the subject is released at the scene, names of the attending EHS personnel shall
be noted in the report.
In all instances, a member will attend to the hospital and maintain custody of the
subject until either released to hospital staff or transported to the police
department.
In all situations where a person has initially refused treatment or is under arrest, a
member shall accompany the patient in the ambulance to the hospital.
If medical or physical injury is claimed or observed, the member will make note of
that injury, photograph the injury, and where possible, request a statement
relative to any injury or affliction from the individual.

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Medical precautions
Subject is not to be left in prone position given the risk of positional
asphyxia.
Subject is to be placed in recovery position after “being hit with a CEW.”
Member is to continuously monitor the subject’s condition.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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377

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

Saanich

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Sheriffs

Port Moody

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Current RCMP

Oak Bay

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Previous RCMP

New Westminster

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Corrections

Nelson

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West Vancouver

Kitasoo

√

Victoria

Delta

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Vancouver

Central Saanich

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Controlling the subject
Subject is to be advised they have been “hit with a CEW” and the effects are
temporary.
Immediately handcuff the subject to the rear.

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Obtain statement from subject.

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Evidentiary protocol and notifications
When members discharge a CEW (contact-stun or probe discharge) at an incident
they shall consider whether it is appropriate for an assault, assault peace
officer, and/or obstruction charges against the non-compliant subject.
When members discharge a CEW (contact-stun or probe discharge) at an incident
they shall ensure that the Forensic Ident Squad attends the incident.
The officer(s) deploying the CEW will treat the probes as a biohazard and dispose
of them in a “sharps” container.
In any case where medical attention is required because of injury or loss of
consciousness by the individual who has had a CEW applied against them,
the probes should not be cut from the wire connecting them to the cartridge. Once
the probes have been removed from the individual by qualified medical staff, they
are to be placed, barb-first, in the cartridge. Gather up the wire, but do not wind
it around the cartridge and do not package it with any other cartridges or property.
Treat the discharged cartridge as an exhibit.
Any police officer who uses the CEW on a subject will immediately notify his or
her immediate supervisor, who will forthwith attend the scene.
As soon a practicable each time the CEW is used a member will notify his or her
supervisor.
The supervisor will confirm a CEW data download request is forwarded to the
training officer.
The supervisor will ensure witnesses are interviewed and written statements
obtained.
The supervisor will attend to the scene and complete the supervisor CEW report
and place the report in the investigative file for review.
Supervisor will take possession of the tagged CEW, expended cartridges, and
probes, if applicable, and place in a temporary exhibit locker (unless it can be
immediately be turned over to the Inspector Support Services).

378

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

Where a police officer discharges a CEW and if there is no injury, the police officer
will submit only the expended cartridges to the property room for safekeeping.

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Unintentional discharge
In the event the discharge of the weapon was unintentional and no injury has
occurred, members shall:
● notify their supervisor of the incident;
● verbally report the incident through their supervisor to the Duty Officer;
● submit a detailed written report through their supervisor to the Force Options
Training Unit Supervisor when the weapon involved is a CEW;
● submit a detailed written report through their supervisor to the Firearms Training
Supervisor when the weapon involved is not a CEW;
● unload the weapon;
● keep the ammunition from the weapon separate from other ammunition seized;
● contact the appropriate supervisor (Force Options Training Unit Supervisor or
Firearms Training Supervisor), who shall determine if the weapon will be seized.
In the event the appropriate supervisor cannot be contacted, notify the Duty
Officer, who shall make this determination. (Refer to Seizure of an Intermediate
Weapon.)

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Protocol when the subject is grievously injured or killed
Where a police officer discharges a CEW, if a person is injured or killed, the
police officer will surrender the CEW and all unexpected cartridges to his or her
supervisor and or an investigating field officer.
In every police incident that is either intentional or unintentional and results in
death or grievous bodily harm or serious injury, the following procedures will be
undertaken:
● The incident scene will be preserved and treated as a major crime scene;

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● The CEW, cartridge, probes/wires, and AFID tags will be seized by the supervisor
on the scene, or by the senior officer in attendance, and treated as an exhibit; and
● The seizing member shall not alter the CEW unless it is manifestly unsafe.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

379

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

A supervisor receiving notification that a person died or was grievously injured
following the application of an intermediate weapon shall:
● immediately report the incident to the Duty Officer;
● investigate the reason for the use of the weapon;
● seize the weapon;
● obtain detailed reports from all members involved in the incident;
● notify the Force Options Training Unit Supervisor during regular daytime hours
when the weapon involved is a CEW; and
● submit a full report including recommendations (if appropriate), to the Chief
Constable.
In every police incident that results in death or serious bodily injury, the
following procedures will be undertaken:
● The incident scene will be preserved and treated as a major crime scene;
● If death or injury resulted from a shooting, the officer’s firearm will be seized by
the supervisor on the scene, or by the senior officer in attendance, and treated as
an exhibit;
● The seizure of the officer's gun should be done in private, as discreetly as
possible, and the officer will be given a replacement weapon;
● The Chief Constable will be immediately notified of the incident and initiate an
investigation;
● The Staff Sergeant i/c Patrol will be called to the scene;
● Investigators will be called to the scene to conduct a comprehensive
investigation;
● The Forensic Identification Section will be called to the scene;
● The incident will be subject to a review; and
● Where a death or injury is apparently caused by the primary investigator, the
supervisor at the scene will assign another officer as the primary investigator of the
original incident.

380

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
8. VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

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Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New Westminster

Delta

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Photographs/video or other visual documentation of CEW injuries are required.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

During a tactical operation or a cell entry and extraction a video recording is
made of:
● inmate’s behaviour or circumstances preceding deployment of a CEW device;
● deployment of the device;
● application of restraints; and
● removal of probes.
The time and date function is activated on the video recorder.
When assigned for use on external prowl, in response to an escape, escape
attempt, or when it is not operationally practical, a video recording is not
required.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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381

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

Previous RCMP

Current RCMP

Sheriffs

Corrections

West Vancouver

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Victoria

Saanich

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Vancouver

Port Moody

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Oak Bay

New Westminster

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Nelson

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Reporting protocol—officer deploying CEW
General use-of-force reporting
A written report will be submitted whenever a police officer, or other employee:
● takes an action that results in, or alleged to have resulted in, injury or death of a
person;
● applies force through the use of a weapon;
● discharges a firearm, other than in training; or
● applies force by any means, other than routine handcuffing or low levels of
restraint and compliance.

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CEW use reporting
The Subject Behaviour—Officer Response report in PRIME will be completed as
soon as practical after the member controls a non-compliant individual by using
CEW (laser light only, drive-stun, and/or probes) against an individual. The member √
will submit the report, along with any additional relevant material to his or her
immediate supervisor.
In the event the discharge of the weapon was unintentional and no injury
occurred, the member shall verbally report the incident through his or her
supervisor to the Duty Officer and submit a detailed written report through the
supervisor to the Force Options Training Unit Supervisor when the weapon involved
is a CEW.
A firearms officer shall maintain a software program detailing all operational
deployment of CEWs.
A use-of-force report shall be completed any time that a CEW is drawn and
presented to a person, whether or not it is actually discharged.
A use-of-force (or analogous) report shall be completed in detail and submitted
following deployment of the CEW.
The officer(s) deploying the CEW will make appropriate notations in the official
police notebook outlining use of the CEW.
The use-of-force report (or analogous report) must be forwarded to a designated
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supervisor or supervisory agency.

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Content of report
Downloaded data from discharged CEW is attached to use-of-force (or
analogous) report.

382

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

Arresting member will provide physician name and time/date of release in report.
If the subject is released at the scene, names of the attending EHS personnel shall
be noted in the report.
Copies of the reports are forwarded to the provincial director, Adult Custody
Division. Reports include:
● incident reports;
● inmate injury report;
● use-of-force report; and
● video recording (when available).

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Delta

Kitasoo

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Other Agencies
Previous RCMP

Use-of-force report shall include the download printout that captures when the
CEW was used in the push or probe mode.
Record on the investigative file any apparent or alleged affliction/injury caused
by the CEW.
Reports shall include the following information:
● a description of the incident which led up to the necessity of force being applied;
● type of force applied;
● type of injury, if any, received by the non-compliant subject or member; and
● whether medical attention was requested and the result of the medical attention
received.
The narrative portion of the use-of-force report must detail:
● reason for contact;
● location and environmental conditions;
● physical descriptors of suspect;
● suspect behaviour;
● assessment of threat;
● requirement for response;
● response options;
● action taken; and
● reassessment and follow-up.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Reporting protocol—supervisor
A supervisor receiving notification that a person died or was grievously injured
following the application of an intermediate weapon shall immediately report the
incident to the Duty Officer.

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383

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Other Agencies
Previous RCMP

A supervisor receiving notification that a person died or was grievously injured
following the application of an intermediate weapon shall obtain detailed reports
from all members involved in the incident.
A supervisor receiving notification that a person died or was grievously injured
following the application of an intermediate weapon shall submit a full report,
including recommendations (if appropriate), to the Chief Constable.
Once a subject has been affected and controlled with the CEW, the supervisor will
complete the supervisor CEW report and place the report in the investigative file
for review.
Supervisor will ensure that members submit a use-of-force form and review it for
quality assurance.
Supervisor will place a copy of the use-of-force report with the weapon.
On a quarterly basis the training officer will compile a summary Subject Behaviour
Response Report.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Reporting protocol—duty officer
A duty officer receiving a report that a person has died or was grievously injured
following the application of an intermediate weapon shall notify Major Crime
Section—Homicide, who will be responsible for the investigation.

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Review of CEW use
Circumstances warranting review
The supervisor will review the report to ensure the actions of member comply with
law and policy. If there is a concern over the appropriateness of the member’s
actions, supervisors may consult a subject matter expert.

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All incidents will be reviewed in which a police officer applies force:
● by means of a weapon, firearm, or lateral neck restraint and compliance, or
● by any means, other than routine handcuffing or low levels of restraint
The police department will review the assignment of a police officer, using
established criteria, where use of force results in death or grievous bodily harm.

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Purpose of review
All use-of-force reports will be reviewed by the National Criminal Operations
Branch as soon as practicable to ensure consistency with national directives and
policy.

384

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

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Victoria

Saanich

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Other Agencies
Vancouver

Port Moody

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Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Oak Bay

New Westminster

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

Delta

All reported use of force will be reviewed by the Chief Constable to determine
whether:
● policies were adhered to;

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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● policies covering the situation were clearly understandable and effective; and
● training and/or policies require revision.
All reported uses of force will be reviewed by the OIC of Staff Development to
determine whether:
● policies covering the situation were clearly understandable and effective; and

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● department training and/or policies/procedures require revision.

Review protocol
All findings to non-compliance, with respect to policies or training inadequacies,
will be reported to the Chief Constable.
If an issue is identified during the review process, the respective divisional Criminal
Operational Branch is to be notified.
Watch Commanders are responsible for ensuring that:

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● incidents involving ANY discharge of a CEW are reviewed and appropriately
documented and brought forward to the supervisor in charge of training;
● use of the CEW is limited to CEW trained officers;
● use of CEWs and related tactics is monitored;
● proper procedures are followed when signing out CEWs;
● when returned at end of watch, ALL CEWs and AIR CARTRIDGES are accounted
for;
● members who use the CEW complete a subject behaviour report PRIME template;
● a review is conducted into each incident in which a CEW is fired; and
● a report on any contentious deployments or actions is forwarded to the
departmental subject matter expert.
In review, consideration must be given to the safety of the public and other
officers when considering force options.
In review, the safety of officers is of paramount importance and the actions of all
officers and supervisors must be judged on this basis.
In review, actions taken by members must be consistent with officer safety and
the protection of the public.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

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Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

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Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Port Moody

Oak Bay

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

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New Westminster

An officer's “use-of-force report” will not be used or admitted into evidence under
the following circumstances:
● internal investigations or hearings;
● Police Act investigations or hearings; and
● Police Complaint Commissioner hearings.
A complete investigation into the use of deadly force will be conducted by the GIS
Supervisor, as directed by the Inspector i/c Operations, who will submit a detailed
report to the Chief Constable, including recommendations on reassignment, further
training, or disciplinary action, if warranted. The Chief Constable will submit
the report to the chairperson of the police board. The chairperson of the police
board will review the report and take the appropriate action.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Substantive content of review
A complete investigation into the use of deadly force will be conducted by the
OIC of Detectives, who will submit a detailed report to the Chief Constable
including recommendations on:
● commendation (for appropriate action);
● on reassignment;
● further training;
● disciplinary action, if warranted; or
● no action to be taken.
The OIC of Staff Development will:
● compile a report on any policy or training inadequacies;
● include recommendations to correct the inadequacies; and
● forward the report to the Chief Constable.

386

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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New Westminster

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Symptoms and identification of excited delirium
Individuals can experience medical emergencies brought on through mental,
medical, or substance abuse issues, such as excited delirium or psychosis. Policy
notes that members should be aware that excited delirium exists and may warrant
special care.
Excited delirium is defined as “a state of extreme mental and physiological
excitement, characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility,
exceptional strength and endurance without apparent fatigue” (Morrison and
Sadler, 2001).
Excited delirium may present as combative, incoherent, non-compliant, and
unresponsive behaviour.
Subjects may exhibit the following symptoms or behaviour: removal of clothing;
bizarre and violent behaviour; running in heavy street traffic; hyperactivity;
aggression; smashing objects, particularly windows and glass; non-responsive to
police presence or verbal extreme paranoia; incoherent shouting, unintelligible
speech, animal sounds; flight behaviour; lid lift (eyes opening so wide the whites of
the eyes are completely visible); unusual strength; intervention; imperviousness
to pain; ability to resist numerous police officers over an extended period of time;
overheating (hyperthermia); or profuse sweating or no sweating at all.
All members must familiarize themselves with the common signs of excited
delirium.

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Protocol in dealing with excited delirium
Ambulance should be called as soon as possible if excited delirium is noted.
(Emergency health services involvement is warranted as early as possible in the
restraint process.)
Intervention should be delayed until ambulance is present in cases of excited
delirium, though consideration must also be given to containing the subject.
Individuals experiencing excited delirium require medical treatment, which first
requires that they be restrained.
If possible, promptly go to the hospital to relay observations to health care
personnel to ensure information is properly relayed.
If there is evidence of substance abuse, seize as an exhibit.
In considering intervention options for excited delirium cases, the use of the CEW
in a probe-mode deployment may be the most effective response to establish
control.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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387

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

When a subject who has been “hit with a CEW” is detained in detention facility,
the guard or other members must be aware of that fact and closely monitor the
subject’s health and safety due to increased risk for excited delirium.

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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An optimal response strategy should include the following:
EMS to attend with members;
● ensure there are enough members on the scene for a quick and effective “hands
on” (control) in an effort to minimize the incidence of physical confrontation (note:
On its own, the CEW is not intended as a restraint device);
● one member on CEW;
● control of arms and legs during CEW deployment cycle;

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● apply approved restraints;
● when safe to do so, remove the subject from the prone position as soon as
possible after control is established;
● if no EMS is present at the scene and the subject suddenly becomes quiet and
stops resisting, EMS should be summoned and preparation be made for CPR; and
● as excited delirium is a medical emergency, all subjects should be transported
via EMS, where possible, and placed in health services care as soon as possible.

Member training regarding excited delirium
Member training includes education and awareness about excited delirium and
resuscitation of unresponsive subjects, in conjunction with CEW application.

388

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
11. CEW DEFINITIONS

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Policy identifies specific authorized CEW models.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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Sheriffs

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Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

New Westminster

Oak Bay

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CEWs are defined as prohibited weapons under s. 84(c) of the Criminal Code .
CEWs are “intermediate weapons” that provide officers with a range of force
options on the Use-of-Force Continuum between “hard physical control” and
“lethal force.”
CEWs are defined as “prohibited firearms.”

Nelson

Kitasoo

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Current RCMP

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Definition describes physiological effects of CEW exposure (stun function).

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Other Agencies
Previous RCMP

CEWs defined as “less than lethal” or “less lethal.”
Definition describes physiological effects of CEW exposure (does not differentiate
effects of probe and stun modes).
Definition describes physiological effects of CEW exposure (probe function).

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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389

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
12. LEGAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR CEW USE (INCLUDING TRAINING)

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Vancouver

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Kitasoo

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Abbotsford

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Sheriffs

Saanich

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Current RCMP

Port Moody

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Previous RCMP

Oak Bay

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Corrections

New Westminster

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West Vancouver

Nelson

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Victoria

Delta

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Central Saanich

Municipal Police Forces

Legislative authorization
The provisions of the Criminal Code , with respect to the use of force by police
officers, will prevail over any direction provided by the department.
Departmental direction or orders will not serve as justification or protection for a
police officer in cases where the use of force exceeds the provisions of the
Criminal Code of Canada.
S. 25 of the Criminal Code authorizes using as much force as is necessary if the
member acts on reasonable grounds and is justified in doing what they are required
or authorized to do, and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.
S. 26 of the Criminal Code holds each member criminally responsible for any
excessive use of force.
S. 27 of the Criminal Code governs the use of force.
S. 37 of the Criminal Code governs the use of force.

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Police Act Regulations on Use of Force govern police use of force.

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Correction Act.

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Organizational authorization and rules governing the use of force
General rules
The use and control of weapons will be governed by:
● the legal requirements covering these weapons;
● the provisions of the use of force;
● the policies and procedures of the department;
● the training and proficiency of the officer; and
● the need arising from carrying out the required duties.

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Specific rules
Members of the Police Service shall only carry the CEWs authorized for use by the
Service.
Unauthorized CEWs of any kind are prohibited from being carried or used by
members.
The CEW units are prohibited from being carried or used while off duty.

390

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
12. LEGAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR CEW USE (INCLUDING TRAINING)

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Sheriffs

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Current RCMP

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Previous RCMP

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Corrections

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West Vancouver

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Victoria

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Vancouver

Saanich

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New Westminster

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Specific rules—training provisions
Only police officers trained and demonstrating proficiency in the use of
authorized firearms or weapons will be allowed to carry and use issued firearms or
weapons.
Each police officer will be required to qualify, at least annually, with any firearm
or other weapon that the officer is authorized to use.
A member will be required to qualify in the use of the CEW at least every two
years.
Members certified to operate the CEW must re-qualify every three years.
Members certified to operate the CEW must re-qualify annually.
Training will include education and awareness with respect to excited delirium
and resuscitation of unresponsive subjects, in conjunction with CEW application.
Training will be based on standards developed through the Provincial Use-of-Force
Coordinator, the Operator Course Training Standard being developed in conjunction
with the Provincial Use-of-Force Working Group.
Department must maintain list of CEW trained staff and member re-certification.
All CEW training is to be conducted by an instructor certified on the specific device
used.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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391

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE

Sheriffs

Current RCMP

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General
Only properly functioning CEWs will be carried by officers.

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Issuing protocol and testing
System in place to maintain record of CEW assignment and to ensure all equipment
is accounted for.
Officers must sign out CEWs at start of shifts and sign back in afterward.
Police officers must record the serial number of the CEW prior to the start of each
shift.
Officers must ensure unit is functioning and battery is charged upon receipt (spark
test or otherwise).
Spark test is the only approved method to test battery.

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In a spark test, a loading bin for firearms must be used.

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CEW care
When CEW is continuously re-cycled, a cooling-off period of 10 minutes must be
allowed to prevent internal damage.

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Storage
CEW to be stored in accordance with the Public Agents Firearms Regulations .
CEW to be stored in secure room/equipment office.

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CEW to be stored in same facilities as handguns, with cartridge removed.

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Cartridges are to be stored in the cartridge holder provided on the holster.

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Inspection and maintenance
Timing
Defective CEWs must be brought to the attention of supervisors.
Maintenance to follow CEW operational manual.
Inspection of CEW done upon discharge.
Inspection and servicing done every four-day rotation by supervisor (four-day
inspection).
Designated member will inspect CEWs monthly (monthly inspection).
Annual inspection and maintenance done by Armourer (annual).

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE

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Sheriffs

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Current RCMP

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Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

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Other Agencies
Previous RCMP

Inspection done a minimum of every two years.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Party responsible for inspection
CEW Armourer or Firearms Training Officer or other designate is responsible for
CEW repair.

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Maintenance protocol
Detailed battery charging, maintenance, and replacement protocol in place.
Where rechargeable batteries are used, a second set of batteries must be on hand
for backup.
If the digital power meter (DPM) falls below 30%, Use-of-Force Coordinator is to be
contacted and a new DPM purchased.
DPM is to be replaced when below 20% life.

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DPM to be disposed of when below 1% life.

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DPM is only to be replaced by Use-of-Force Coordinator or designate.

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Member is not to remove or change batteries.
Only Duracell Ultra batteries (or other approved batteries) are to be installed in
CEWs.
Battery and DPM maintenance is to be done by one person to ensure CEWs are
always available and will provide consistent and reliable performance.
Detailed battery-charging protocol in place for new CEWs.

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If operational cartridge has not been deployed in five years, it must be replaced.

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Cartridges should not be stored long term, and should not be carried in the
extended DPM.
Malfunctioning or faulty CEWs must be marked to indicate that they are faulty and
to be removed from service, in compliance with the Canada Labour Code .
Expired cartridges may be used for training purposes, except for scenario-based
training.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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393

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
14. CEW HANDLING

394

Previous RCMP

Current RCMP

Sheriffs

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Other Agencies
Vancouver

Saanich

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Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New Westminster

Nelson

Delta

Kitasoo

CEW must be carried on duty belt or holster, opposite the sidearm, to insure proper
weapon is drawn.
When not in use, CEW must be carried in the locked trunk of the police car.
The fluorescent yellow stickers on the CEW are intended to differentiate it from
the pistol and must not be removed or altered under any circumstance.
During escort, the CEW will be either in the approved holster on the duty belt or in
the holster and secured in the vehicle gun locker.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Trainees are not subjected to the CEW under any circumstances.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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Sheriffs

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Delta

Kitasoo

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Current RCMP

The public is NOT permitted to participate in voluntary exposure exercise.
Candidates in the cadet training program are permitted to participate in the CEW
voluntary exposure exercise.

Other Agencies
Previous RCMP

ONLY candidates taking the CEW course or CEW instructor course may participate in
the CEW voluntary exposure exercise, to be conducted by a CEW instructor.

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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395

APPENDIX E

COMPARISONS OF USE-OF-FORCE AND CEW POLICIES
16. DATA DOWNLOADING

Current RCMP

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Sheriffs

Previous RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies
Transit Authority Poli

Saanich

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Download protocol requirement
Each division should develop a system for downloading and storing data
downloaded.

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When data download is to occur
Data is downloaded after a CEW is discharged and attached to use-of-force report
(or other analogous report) .
Data is downloaded for use in an investigation.

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Data is downloaded from malfunctioning or faulty CEWs.

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Data must be downloaded from CEWs a minimum once a year.

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Who performs download
CEW downloads done only by designated officers.

When CEW inspection is to occur
Independent test of CEW done when someone is seriously injured or dies when a
member resorts to lethal force because a CEW was ineffective or malfunctioned.
Independent test of CEW done when a member is seriously injured or dies when a
member resorts to lethal force because a CEW was ineffective or malfunctioned.
Independent test of CEW done after any incident that involves injury requiring
medical treatment or death proximal to the use of a CEW.
Independent test of CEW done after any incident in which it is in the public or the
member's interest to determine the working state of a CEW.
Independent test of CEW done when a supervisor, a Divisional Use-of-Force
Coordinator, a Criminal Operations Officer, the National Use-of-Force
Officer, or National Criminal Operations Branch is of the opinion that testing is
warranted in the circumstances.

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1 Not clear on RCMP website.
2 Not CEW specific.

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APPENDIX F
BRITISH COLUMBIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
1. PRINCIPLES FOR CEW USE...............................................................................................................399
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED....................................................................402
3. STEPS PRIOR TO CEW DEPLOYMENT ...................................................................................................407
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT .....................................................................................................408
5. MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENTS............................................................................................414
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL ...................................................................................416
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL..............................................................................418
8. VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION ......................................................................................421
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW ................................................................................................422
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM .......................................................................................................................424
11. CEW DEFINITIONS ........................................................................................................................431
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS ..........................................................................................433
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE........................................................................................443
14. CEW HANDLING (while on duty) .......................................................................................................446
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE..................................................................................................................447
16. DATA DOWNLOADING AND INDEPENDENT TESTING .................................................................................453

Information displayed in these matrices is based on information
received by the Braidwood Commissions of Inquiry as of July 31, 2008.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use
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APPENDIX F

Training Materials Used By Each Agency:

•
•
•
•
•
•

TASER International (TI) Version 11.0 (Jan. 2004) = Port Moody uses a small selection of the information from this
version
TI Version 12.0 (Nov. 2004) = Delta
TI Version 13.0 (May 2006) = Transit Authority Police (X26 User Course), West Vancouver, Sheriffs (through the
Justice Institute)
TI Version 14.0 (Oct. 2007) = Abbotsford, Central Saanich, Nelson, New Westminster, and Corrections
RCMP, (Kitasoo, Stl’Atl’Imx) = Essentially based on Version 13.0, but states it has separate training methods and
tactics.
The remaining agencies of Oak Bay, Vancouver, Victoria, and Saanich do not use specific versions of the TI
materials, but do include some of the images and slides from the TI training materials. These agencies appear to
have based their training on a Course Training Standard (CTS) developed by Cst. Mike Massine of the Victoria Police
Department.

The term “CEW” or “CEWs” will be the term used in this training matrix to describe
Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs)/Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs)/Electric Control Devices (ECDs).

398

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APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
1. PRINCIPLES FOR CEW USE

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Determining the appropriate use-of-force measure to apply: general use-of-force training
“Each agency is responsible for creating their own use-of-force policy and
determining how [CEW] devices fit into their use-of-force matrix based on legal
and community standards. Make sure your agency has a use-of-force policy that
addresses [CEW] device use and that this policy is clearly addressed during end-user

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training.” (TI v.13, v.14)1
Training materials include the National Use-of-Force Framework (NUFF) to guide
CEW use.
Training materials include the Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM) to
guide CEW use.
Principles of the IM/IM:
(1) The primary objective of any intervention is public safety.
(2) Police officer safety is essential to public safety.
(3) The intervention model must always be applied in the context of a careful
assessment of risk.
(4) Risk assessment must take into account the likelihood and extent of life loss,
injury, and damage.
(5) Risk assessment is a continuous process and risk management must evolve as
situations change.
(6) The best strategy is least intervention necessary to manage risk.
(7) The best intervention causes the least harm or damage.

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The IM/IM is not a model for justification but a risk assessment tool.

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The CEW is an alternative force options tool.

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The CEW is an intermediate weapon based on the NUFF.

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The CEW is an intermediate weapon based on the IM/IM.

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The CEW is a close-quarters- to medium-range intermediate weapon.

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The CEW is a medium-range intermediate weapon. (TI v.11)

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The CEW device is not a substitute for lethal force. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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CEWs can be used in conjunction with deadly force where appropriate and
reasonable to do so.

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2

Implied and actual uses of the CEW are allowed at active resistance on the NUFF.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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399

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
1. PRINCIPLES FOR CEW USE

TASER use is allowed at active resistance on the IM/IM.
Active resistance—a subject displaying actively resistant behaviour does not
physically assault the officer, but actively resists in such a manner that won’t allow
the officer to control. Often accompanything this type of resistance is “verbal noncompliance” (refusing a lawful order or direction). Examples of this resistance are
pushing or pulling away from the officer or attempting to flee.
Active resistance can include subjects who are non-compliant; pull away; twist and
turn; resist control; “turtle” on the ground; prevent arrest; or facilitate escape
without assault.
Active resistance includes holding one’s arms underneath oneself while on the
ground.
Subjects who actively resist will typically pull arms away from controlling officers,
run away, hold onto fixed objects, brace themselves in doorways, or “turtle” by

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New Westminster

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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pulling their arms into their chest area, resisting attempts to straighten the arms.
Active resistance includes resisting an officer’s lawful efforts to take them into
custody without attacking the officer.
Active resistance—a person who is physically resisting their attempt at control by
the person directing overt and defensive physical actions; the person may attempt
to push or pull away in a manner that does not allow the officer to establish control;
may include the person trying to run away, pulling hands away or actively
holding onto an object which defeats the officer’s attempts at physical control,
e.g. , a person pushing away or struggling defensively while a member attempts to
place him/her into the back of a police vehicle.
Passive resistance includes not complying with verbal commands.
The use of the CEW is supported when lower levels of force are ineffective and/or
inappropriate and where higher levels of force would be inappropriate or not
justified.
CEWs are to be used as a control weapon against an active resister or assailant
where other forms of control or weapons would be ineffective or inappropriate
under the circumstances.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
1. PRINCIPLES FOR CEW USE

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Sheriffs

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RCMP

Corrections

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West Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

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Port Moody

New Westminster

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

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Delta

Central Saanich

Included in the training materials is a chart relating to TASER® International, Inc.’s
“Use-of-Force Police Survey.” The survey shows that 87% of departments surveyed in
the U.S. most commonly use the CEW at or before pepper spray on the use-of-force
continuum. Nine percent use the CEW above pepper spray, and 3% use the CEW at
impact weapon on the use-of-force continuum. (TI v.13, v. 14)
Many situations beginning as standoffs have the potential to escalate to lethal force.
Early use of a CEW can prevent many of these situations from escalating to lethal
force levels. (TI v.12)
Officers may act to prevent an event; often need to go one level higher on the
IM/IM to establish control.

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Specific use-of-force training
Push-stun mode
To use a CEW in push-stun mode, a minimum of active resistance is required.

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Probe mode
To use a CEW in probe mode, requires a minimum of assaultive behaviour is
required.
Probe mode may be used on subjects displaying combative or assaultive behaviour
or higher.

Subject specific considerations
Although several subjects armed with firearms have been incapacitated by CEW
devices and safely apprehended, there have been cases where subjects have
been able to discharge a firearm after being struck with a CEW device. Always
ensure you have cover and other available force options when attempting to
incapacitate an armed subject with a CEW device. (TI v.14)
Active resistance includes holding one’s arms underneath oneself while on the
ground.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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401

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

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Sheriffs

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RCMP

Never place finger on trigger unless firing is imminent. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Corrections

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Victoria

New West

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Vancouver

Nelson

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Kitasoo

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Saanich

Delta

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Port Moody

Central Saanich

Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Oak Bay

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Blanket prohibitions
Never use a contact stun with the cartridge still in place.

Never place a hand in front of weapon, especially when changing the
cartridge. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Keep the weapon safety switch in the SAFE position until pointed in a safe direction
(toward the target). (TI v.12, v.13)
Never aim the laser in the eyes. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Laser light can cause eye damage if directed into eyes for prolonged periods of
time. (TI v.12)

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Probes shot in the eyes can cause serious damage. (TI v.12)

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Areas of the body to avoid unless the situation dictates a higher level of injury risk is justified
Probe mode
Eyes. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Head. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Face. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Throat. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Groin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Avoid head shots unless there is a risk of death or grievous bodily harm (DGBH).

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Drive-stun with cartridge
Groin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Head. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Avoid head shots unless there is a risk of DGBH.
Throat. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Drive-stun without cartridge
Head.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

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Avoid head shots unless there is a risk of DGBH.

Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

Groin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Oak Bay

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New West

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

Neck. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Trachea.

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Back of neck.

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Groups of people upon whom to avoid CEW application if possible
Pregnant women. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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A CEW may be used if the subject is pregnant and the only option is lethal force.
Frail or infirm. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Very young.
Officers must use caution when the subject is running, but are not prohibited from
deploying a CEW on a running or fleeing subject. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Environmental considerations
CEWs can ignite explosive materials, liquids, or vapours. These include gasoline,
other flammables, explosive materials, liquids, or vapours (e.g. , gases found in
sewer lines or methamphetamine labs). Some self-defense sprays use flammable
carriers such as alcohol and could be dangerous to use in immediate conjunction
with CEWs. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Fall injuries, particularly from elevated heights, can pose risk of significant injury
or death; can cause secondary injuries from person falling. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Elevated risk when subject is in water. (TI v.13, v.14)

Medical considerations
Published peer-reviewed research shows that there is no negative effect of the CEW
device when used on a subject with a pacemaker. (TI v.13, v.14)
Modern pacemakers and implanted cardiac defibrillators withstand external
electrical defibrillators at least 800 times stronger than the CEW conducted energy
pulses.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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403

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

Delta

Kitasoo

The CEW is safe and effective for suspects under the influence of drugs or
alcohol. (TI v.12)
Cocaine makes the heart less susceptible to electrically induced fibrillation. (TI v.13,

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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v.14)

Animal testing has shown insignificant effects on heart rhythms or blood pressure.
CEW devices have been successfully used to incapacitate subjects under a variety of
chemical and mental influences. The CEW device works on people under these
influences because it affects the sensory and motor functions of the nervous system
(incapacitation). (TI v.13, v.14)
There is a risk of surface burns, wounding, and scarring of the skin during all
modes of deployment. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Scarring may result from CEW application, depending on length of exposure and skin
type.
In a dynamic environment, drive-stun electrodes may slide on the skin of a thrashing
subject causing multiple marks, scratches, and scarring, as opposed to single
electrode marks if the drive-stun is applied directly without movement. The
severity and duration of these marks, scratches, and scars may vary. (TI v.12, v.13)
There are medical opinions that the output of the CEW exceeds the medical
threshold required to cause seizure.
Strong muscle contractions during neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI) may cause
muscle or tendon strain or tear, joint injuries, back injuries, stress fractures, or
other secondary injuries. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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NMI can cause pain and associated stress. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Subject may experience stress caused by pain, minor skin irritation or injury,
temporary blisters, redness, or minor bleeding if probes puncture skin.

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In certain instances, subjects may experience physical exertion type injuries.

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Other subject considerations
Training materials contain examples of types of subjects involved in effective CEW
incidents, without recommending use on these subjects. These types of
subjects include emotionally disturbed persons (EDPs), suicidal subjects, subjects
suffering from excited delirium, and subjects under chemical influence. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

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Corrections

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Vancouver

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Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Delta

CEW technology is becoming widely accepted as the premier tool for crisis
intervention teams based upon its non-injurious effect upon emotionally disturbed
subjects. (TI v.12)
There is an increased risk involved with deploying CEW upon someone operating a
vehicle or machinery (during all modes of deployment). (TI v.13, v.14)

Central Saanich

(TI v.12, v.14)

Abbotsford

The CEW device can be an effective way to deal with situations involving
suicidal subjects. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
When dealing with suicidal subjects, establish lethal cover as needed.

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

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Cartridges are deployed by electrical discharge. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Unexpected deployments can be caused by any static discharge. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Do not point cartridges at yourself or at anyone else. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Officer safety
Cartridge safety
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Never carry loose live cartridges in pockets as a buildup of static electricity could
discharge the probes.

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Weapon safety
The CEW looks like a firearm, so treat it like a firearm; observe standard
firearm/sidearm safety guidelines. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13)
Treat this as a loaded weapon. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Remove the cartridge; visually and physically inspect the weapon to ensure it is
safe; exercise muzzle control.

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Other considerations: CEW dependence
Avoid CEW over-dependence: some agencies have had so much success with CEW
devices that officers sometimes neglect proper procedures and other force options.
This is a training issue that must be addressed in all instructor and user courses. It
should also be emphasized in ongoing department training. (TI v.13, v.14)
It is recommended that officers responsible for reviewing CEW use reports be
cognizant of potential for over-dependence and address any concerns of CEW overdependence early. (TI v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
2. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH CEW DEPLOYMENT IS PROHIBITED

No force option is 100% effective.

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

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Kitasoo

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Nelson

Delta

Nothing is ever 100% effective so do not become CEW dependent. (TI v.12)

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
3. STEPS PRIOR TO CEW DEPLOYMENT

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Lethal or backup cover
Always take advantage of cover and distance.
Lethal cover or appropriate force oversight should be present, when possible. (TI v.12,

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v.13, v.14)

Whenever possible have at least one backup officer present to cuff suspect. (TI v.12,

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v.13, v.14)

Use cover and distance to ensure officer safety. (TI v.12, v. 13, v.14)

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Use of CEW as a “force presence” prior to discharge
Prior to discharge, an officer may use implied use-of-force tactics to try to gain
compliance, such as the spark test or spark demo (removing the cartridge and
arcing the weapon); and painting the target with the CEW laser. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Consider a spark demo if other CEW devices are present or the subject is contained.

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(TI v.13)

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Verbal commands
If practicable, officers must attempt to gain compliance using verbal commands. (TI

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v.12, v.13, v.14)

Verbal warnings are important to prevent sympathetic reflex firing response from
other officers. (v.12)

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Content of verbal warning
“TASER! TASER!” (TI v.12)

√

“TASER, TASER, TASER!”
Use a command other than “Shoot!” such as “Deploy!” (TI v.12)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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407

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

√

Sheriffs

Corrections

√

RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

√

Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General
Officers should provide verbal commands during and after the CEW application.

√

(TI v.12)

CEW deployment protocol: probe mode
Probe hits are more desirable than stun mode because probe hits are more
effective (neuromuscular incapactitation [NMI] vs. pain compliance), can be
applied from a safer distance, usually require fewer cycles, and fewer injuries
result. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Aiming and distance considerations
Training materials include general guidelines about probe distance and spread
considerations. (TI v. 11, v.12, v.13)
Aim CEW like a standard firearm at centre of mass. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13)
Aim CEW at target—centre of mass or legs. (TI v. 14)

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Use sights and/or laser. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13)

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A general spread consideration is 1 foot (0.3 m) of spread for every 7 feet (2.1 m)
of travel. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13)

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Greater probe spread increases effectiveness. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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If possible, aim for a minimum 4-inch spread.

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Hold the CEW vertically unless subject is laying down or at an angle. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Primary CEW targets include torso (centre of mass) back and shoulders, buttocks,
hips, legs.
The entire back is a good target for the CEW. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

√
√

The back is a good target because clothing fits tighter, there is a surprise factor, the
back contains stronger muscles to achieve greater NMI, and avoids sensitive target
√
areas such as eyes and groin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
For deployments from zero to 7 feet (0-2 metres), there is a high hit probability,
but limited probe spread and as a result there will be low amounts of muscle mass
affected. In addition, there is a short reactionary distance between subject and
√
deployer. Consider targeting area to put one probe above the waist and one
below the waist for enhanced effectiveness. (TI v.13, v.14)

408

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

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Sheriffs

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RCMP

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

Corrections

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West Van

New West

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Nelson

√

Kitasoo

√

Delta

Central Saanich

Deployments from 7 to 15 feet (2-4.5 metres) are considered “optimum range”
because there is a high hit probability, good probe spread, and therefore a good
amount of muscle mass affected. In addition, there will likely be plenty of slack in
wires (with 21-foot or 25-foot cartridges), and a good reactionary distance.

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

(TI v.13, v.14)

Deployments from 15 to 35 feet (4.5-10.67 metres) have a fair hit probability with
both probes, a large probe spread, and a large amount of muscle affected.
There is less slack in wires and a large reactionary distance. (TI v.13, v.14)

CEW deployment protocol: drive-stun mode
Drive-stun mode is a pain compliance tool, and this mode does not cause NMI. (TI v.12,

√

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v.13, v.14)

The drive-stun can be used when in close proximity to subject. The muzzle of the
CEW is pressed to the subject’s body.
Stun mode is deployed by pressing the CEW onto preferred push-stun locations using
the overhand grip technique.
Because of the potential for the stun to slide off of the subject, officers frequently
find themselves in prolonged struggles with violent suspects whom they end up
drive-stunning several times in several different locations. This often results in
multiple discharges and numerous signature marks and scratches on the suspect’s
body. It is in these types of scenarios that officers often face accusations of
excessive force. Although officers are usually justified in their use of force and
the CEW device in these cases, many of them could have avoided problems by using
probes to incapacitate the suspect and allow fellow officers to restrain him
without further struggles. Officers will not always have the option of using probes.
When this is the case, they should attempt to target the drive-stun to appropriate
pressure points in an attempt to get the suspect restrained as quickly as possible.

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Carotid area. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Brachial artery area. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Brachial plexus tie-in. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Radial. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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(TI v.13, v.14)

Effective drive-stun target areas

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

409

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

Corrections

Vancouver

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Upper mid calf. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Large muscle masses and nerve endings.
Below the cervical portion of the spine is the thoracic vertebrae which continues to
the lower lumbar. This area is protected by large muscles and provides a good area
for push-stuns.
Do not hold on to live cartridge while applying a drive-stun because if cartridge gets
within 2 inches of CEW or suspect it may deploy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
If the drive-stun is not effective at first instance, officers may consider an
additional cycle. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
If drive-stun is not effective, evaluate location, consider an additional cycle to a
different pressure point, or consider alternative force options. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Someone in a mental-health crisis state, under the influence of a mind-altering
substance, or extremely focused are prone to “mind-body disconnection.”
If only the push-stun mode is used, the CEW becomes a pain compliance technique
with limited threat reduction potential for subjects at the high end of the three
mind-body disconnect categories. Push the drive-stun aggressively into the subject
for best results.

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Sheriffs

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RCMP

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West Van

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Victoria

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Saanich

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Nelson

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Common peroneal. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Kitasoo

Pelvis. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Delta

Oak Bay

Port Moody

Other Agencies

New West

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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CEW deployment protocol: drive-stun with cartridge mode
Probe deployment with a drive-stun follow-up is suggested for probe hits that are
close together or for when only one probe makes contact with the subject. (TI v.13,

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v.14)

Probes released during a drive-stun with cartridge can help maintain contact with a
violent suspect. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Officer may subsequently apply a drive-stun away from probes to achieve NMI.
(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Length of cycle
Single trigger pull discharges current for 5-second cycle. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
A full 5-second cycle deployment should be applied without interruption (unless
circumstances dictate otherwise). (TI v.12)

410

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Victoria

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Vancouver

New West

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Nelson

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Saanich

Kitasoo

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Port Moody

Delta

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Oak Bay

Central Saanich

Move safety switch down (SAFE) to immediately stop a discharge (e.g. , if the CEW
is accidentally discharged). (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Although some officers shut off the unit before completion of the first 5-second
cycle, officers should let the CEW run the full cycle in order to reduce the
probability of a field failure. (TI v.12)
Trigger pulls during the 5-second cycle will not affect the cycle unless held
continuously. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Holding the trigger continuously beyond the 5-second cycle will continue the
electrical discharge until trigger is released. The discharge will cease immediately
once the trigger is released. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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CEW operator should be prepared to apply additional cycles if necessary. (TI v.12)

√

Do not hold the trigger continuously beyond the 5-second cycle.

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Controlling/cuffing under power
Each CEW cycle is a “window of opportunity” to attempt to establish control and
restraint while the subject is affected or incapacitated by the CEW cycle.

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Cuffing under power is important because there are those who may not comply
with verbal commands following CEW cycle (such as EDPs [emotionally disturbed
persons], focused or intoxicated persons, and individuals suffering from excited
delirium.) (TI v.13, v.14)
Cuffing under power is important because it may prevent the need for multiple CEW
cycles. (TI v.13, v.14)
Officers need to subdue and cuff without hesitation, and can touch and handcuff
the subject while the CEW is active. (TI v.12)
Officers should move in and control the subject while the CEW device is cycling and
the subject is incapacitated when it is reasonably safe to do so. (TI v.13, v.14)

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A second officer gains control and handcuffs during the CEW cycle.
Always handcuffed to rear.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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411

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Other considerations and tactics
Wires can break easily if stepped on or pulled; inadvertent contact with wires or
the probe during discharge can result in electrical shock; CEW operators should

√

advise officers to avoid wires during restraint for wire integrity. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Avoid crossing wires when multiple CEW devices are deployed. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Note that the effect of contact with a wire or probe while taking a suspect into
custody is relatively minor and will not cause NMI to the officer. Usually,
officers will instinctively pull their hand away. It is recommended that officers grab
the suspect in a different area, away from the probes and the wires;
operators should lift the wires off the ground and may have to walk forward if the
subject falls or is running. This may prevent the wires from breaking.
The CEW operator must keep sufficient slack in wires and move with the subject if
they start to roll. (TI v.13, v.14)
Officers must run with the subject if they are to utilize the CEW against a running
target.
If there is only one probe hit or low spread after CEW deployment, consider a
drive-stun follow-up. (TI v.13, v.14)
Deploy the CEW with a second air cartridge available or have a second CEW nearby.
If first shot fails or misses, obtain cover to reload or resort to another
tactic; if suspect charges, “C” step and aggressively use the drive-stun mode.

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

If air cartridge is a “dud,” (does not deploy) keep weapon aimed upon target while
placing the CEW on SAFE. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
If air cartridge is a “dud,” discard immediately, reload with new cartridge, and reengage target; do not attempt to reuse a dud. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
When evaluating the effectiveness of a CEW deployment, look for the subject’s
reaction including change in behaviour, falling to the ground, and going rigid;
and listen to the sound of the CEW device because no sound may indicate a good
connection, loud arcing at the weapon may indicate no connection, and
intermittent arcing at the weapon may indicate a poor connection (due to, for
example, clothing disconnect). (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

412

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
4. STEPS DURING CEW DEPLOYMENT

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√

Sheriffs

Corrections

√

RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

√

√
√

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

√

Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

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Delta

Central Saanich

If there is no reaction or change in subject behaviour, this could indicate poor or no
connection, low probe spread, or low muscle mass contact. Suggested tactical
considerations to deal with such a situation include reloading and targeting a
different area, deploying a drive-stun with a cartridge in place and consider other
force options. (TI v.13, v.14)
The CEW electrical current is relatively quiet in actual human use. Practice targets
are loud since the energy is arcing in the air.
In dealing with suicidal subjects, follow department basic officer safety
rules/training and establish lethal cover as needed. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Common effects of NMI that results from CEW probe deployment upon a subject
Subject can fall immediately to the ground. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Yelling or screaming. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Involuntary muscle contractions. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
Subject may freeze in place with legs locked. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
Most subjects will not fall down. The majority freeze in place, and shake.
Subject may feel dazed for several seconds/minutes. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
Potential vertigo. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
Temporary tingling sensation. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
May experience critical stress amnesia. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
May not remember any pain. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
May urinate and/or defecate, but usually this happens only if the subject is actively
holding his/her bladder, etc.
Generally does not cause urination or defacation.
Does not cause “electrocution” in wet environment.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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413

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
5. MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENTS

Sheriffs

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RCMP

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

√

Vancouver

√

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

√

Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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√

General concerns
The application of the CEW is a physically stressful event. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Continuous exposure risks. When practical, avoid prolonged or continuous
exposure(s) to the CEW device's electrical discharge. In some circumstances,
in susceptible people, it is conceivable that the stress and exertion of extensive
repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the CEW device may

√

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√

contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated medical risk(s). (TI v.14)
Tests show that there are no adverse effects on heart function or respiration
deriving from multiple or prolonged deployments. (TI v.14)
CEW applications directly across the chest may cause sufficient muscle contractions
to impair normal breathing patterns. While this is not a significant concern for
short (5-sec.) exposure, it may be a more relevant concern for extended duration
applications. (TI v.12, v.13)
Prolonged application of CEW may affect breathing as subjects generally do not
breathe during cycles.
Current human studies have concluded that CEW applications directly across the
chest do not impair normal breathing patterns. (TI v.14)
Although existing studies on conscious human volunteers indicate subjects continue
to breathe during extended CEW device applications, it is conceivable that the

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muscle contractions may impair a subject's ability to breathe. (TI v.14)
The TASER M26 was applied directly to the chest of experimental animals without
causing heart failure during tests at the University of Missouri.
Using “worst case” scenarios, cardiac safety experts found no induction by the
TASER M26 of abnormal heart rhythms.
No arrhythmia provocation occurred even when animals were given stimulant drugs
epinephrine and isoproternol, which make the heart more susceptible to electrical
stimulation.

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Protocol for multiple deployment
Avoid extended or repeated CEW device applications where practicable.
(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Do not hold the trigger continuously beyond the 5-second cycle.

414

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
5. MULTIPLE OR PROLONGED DEPLOYMENTS

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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√

√

√

√

The CEW operator should use an additional 5-second cycle if the subject resists, and
can anticipate a second or third application. (TI v.12)

√

The decision to cycle the CEW must be based on situational factors.
Although there is no predetermined limit to the number of cycles that can be
administered to the subject, officers should only apply the number of cycles
reasonably necessary to allow them to safely approach and restrain the subject.

West Van

Three distinct cycles is the maximum before transitioning to a new force option.

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Officers should only apply the number of cycles reasonably necessary to allow them
to safely restrain the subject.
If circumstances require extended duration or repeated discharges, the operator
should take care to observe the breathing patterns of the subject and provide

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breaks in the CEW stimulation when practicable. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Dual CEW exposures (occurring for example when two officers were unaware that
the other’s CEW was being deployed): if both applications occur on the upper
body, officers are to limit exposures to a maximum of three, because breathing
issues can be compounded by chest contractions.
Allow gaps between the cycles and avoid long continuous cycles.

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If a third cycle is required, consider another force option.

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Do not fire the CEW for more than 10 full 5-second cycles in a 10-minute period.
Due to the risk of overheating and to preserve the life of training weapons, the
TASER M26 should be limited to a maximum of 10 back-to-back 5-second
cycles during training. This limitation does not apply to field use. The TASER X26
does not overheat and no training restrictions apply. (TI v.13, v.14)
If a drive-stun is not effective at first instance, officers may consider an additional
cycle. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
If drive-stun is not effective, evaluate location, consider an additional cycle to a
different pressure point, or consider alternative force options. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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415

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General protocol
Officers should evaluate the need for medical attention as they would with any
other use-of-force incident, as directed by department policy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Under all circumstances, the subject will be evaluated by EHS.
Once the subject is restrained officers should evaluate the need for medical
attention for the underlying chemical or mental conditions observed. (TI v.13, v.14)
Once the subject is restrained and controlled, they are placed in a seated position
and evaluated by EHS.
When the CEW is used in the field, the controlled, compliant subject is to be sat
upright whenever possible.
If the subject is not moving or unconscious, they will be placed in the recovery
position and a priority ambulance will be requested.

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Try to minimize the amount of time the subject stays on his/her stomach.

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The ideal recovery position is left side down.

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Once the subject is in custody, seek appropriate medical attention and point out
puncture sites.

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If a subject is hit in the eye with a probe, get immediate medical assistance.

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At least one officer should accompany subject to the hospital and brief the
paramedics on the situation and effects of the CEW.

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Probe removal
TASER International advises each agency to establish its own policy on probe
removal. (TI v.13, v.14)
Included in training materials is a TASER International poll about how different
jurisdictions in the United States deal with probe removal. In this study,
64% of departments allow officers to remove probes; 23% of departments require
medics to remove probe; and 13% of departments require hospital care workers to
remove probes. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Ensure that client is fully controlled prior to removing the probes.
Treat probes that have penetrated the body as contaminated needles and use
gloves. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

416

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
6. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—MEDICAL

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Corrections

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

New West

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Port Moody

Nelson

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Oak Bay

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

Exercise care during probe removal by keeping your free hand clear of the probe
area to ensure you do not scrape yourself with the contaminated barb. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Grab the probe firmly and pull straight out in quick fashion, using your free hand as
a brace. Follow with an alcohol or iodine swipe. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Whoever removes the probe must check the probe body and insure that the probe is
intact and that the straightened needle is still attached to the probe body.
There have been reported cases in which the probe was removed from a body but
the pin/straightened needle pulled free of the probe body and remained in the skin.
Needle-nose pliers will be required to remove this to get a firm grip, or by
hemostat, by EMS or hospital. (TI v.14)
There have been reported incidents where the barbed tip broke off and only the
small barb remained in the skin. In this instance, the barbed tip would behave
similar to a small metal splinter; however, removal by medical staff is still advised.

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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(TI v.14)

If the CEW was used in probe mode, a member currently certified in first aid may
remove the probes. It is not necessary to have a medically trained person
examine the individual, unless a probe is lodged in a sensitive part of the body, such
as the eye or the groin, or the individual's physical condition warrants medical
attention.
If probes are located in a medically sensitive location (groin, eye, etc.) ALWAYS
transport to hospital for removal by a medical doctor.

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Probe disposal
Use surgical gloves to “encase” the cartridge and probes.

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Use spent cartridge for probe storage.

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Properly dispose of probes in a sharps container.

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Carefully place used probes sharp-tip first into either a sharps container or into the
cartridge side wire pocket container, secure in place, and place in a secure
location where no one will accidentally touch probes (even after training exercises).

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(TI v.12, v.13, v. 14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

417

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

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Sheriffs

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

Law enforcement agencies are not liable for product liability litigation. (TI v.14)

Vancouver

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Saanich

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Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Each law enforcement agency is an expert in and responsible for its own postdeployment policies and procedures. (TI v.14)

RCMP

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

General

Liability exposure related to use of force, policy, training, and use-of-force related
injuries/deaths are the responsibility of each law enforcement agency. (TI v.14)
Legal articulation is the ability to explain the situational factors, your perception
and risk assessment of a situation, and relate continually to the IM/IM, RCMP policy,
and the Criminal Code .

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Evidentiary protocol
Collect expended cartridge and place into evidence. (TI v. 12, v.13, v.14)
Collect expended cartridge and place into evidence as directed by department
policy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Collect expended probes and place into evidence as directed by department policy.
(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Use surgical gloves to “encase” the cartridge and probes.
Collect expended anti-felon identification tags (AFIDs) and place into evidence as
directed by department policy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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AFIDs do not need to be collected as evidence.

418

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There are at least 20 AFID tags per cartridge, and the serial number is matched to
the cartridge. AFIDs have been used to validate an officer’s story.

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AFIDs are not generally collected but may be relevant for crime scene investigation.

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Several agencies have either changed their policies or are considering doing so as it
relates to collecting cartridges, probes, and AFIDs as evidence because they
have determined they are of little evidentiary value in most cases. It should be
noted that much can be determined by close examination of probes and wires.
This would be of particular importance in cases where a CEW device did not
incapacitate a subject and officers had to resort to deadly force. (TI v.14)
The CEW coordinator provides monthly statistics on CEW use.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

Sheriffs

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RCMP

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

New West

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Saanich

Nelson

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Port Moody

Kitasoo

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Oak Bay

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Protocol when the subject is grievously injured or killed
Do not assume that the medical examiner is familiar with sudden death or excited
delirium. (TI v. 13, v.14)
Obtain core body temperature prior to death or as soon as possible after death.
(TI v.13, v.14)

Ensure that the hospital takes body core temperature, even hours after death.
Collect brain tissue samples for determining chronic drug (especially stimulant)
abuse. This process is very time sensitive, as there is only 12 hours to collect,
harvest, prepare, and freeze samples. The coroner or medical examiner must
contact the University of Miami to do this, at 1 800-UM-BRAIN. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Discuss with coroner ASAP the concept of brain examination (Miami).

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The University of Miami can take brain tissue collected in first 24 hours.
Keep the battery in the device because this will keep the integrity of the internal
clock.
Obtain information about whether the device could be heard arcing when it was
deployed.
Conduct a physiological autopsy. (TI v.13, v.14)
TASER International recommends that a department spokesperson attend training
to understand technology/organize crisis plan for a sudden death. (TI v.14)
In the event of a sudden death following the use of a CEW device, refer to the
sudden death checklist located in the supporting documents file. (TI v.14)
Obtain as much information as possible from the CEW operators involved regarding
the incident. (TI v.14)
Departments may contact TASER International for medical and legal expert advice.
(TI v.14)

Departments should never contact TASER International for medical and legal expert
advice.
Prepare a media statement and provide the media with information about CEW
technology. (TI v.14)
If injury or death occurs proximal to CEW exposure, treat the scene like a major
crime scene.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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419

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
7. STEPS FOLLOWING CEW DEPLOYMENT—PROCEDURAL

If injury or death occurs proximal to CEW exposure engage, in evidence
collection/photographs/video.

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Oak Bay

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Other Agencies

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Obtain witness statements.

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Seize the weapon or cartridge involved.

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Seize the deceased or injured party’s clothing as it can help determine the distance
of the shot.
If an in-custody death (ICD) occurs, warn the public and the media not to jump to
conclusions; avoid description as a “taser death”; find out vital ICD details
including the time between the CEW deployment and death; and the effectiveness
of the CEW system (did it gain compliance?) .
Obtain information about the location of probes and make sure photos are taken
including measurements.
Obtain information about the type of CEW use: was it probe or drive-stun
deployment?

420

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Obtain information about whether there was other force used.

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Obtain information about whether the officer was trained in the system.

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Obtain information about whether alcohol or narcotics played a factor in the
incident.

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Obtain information about the subject’s behaviour before and after the exposure.

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Complete a dataport download as part of the investigation and evidence collection.

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Download the device within 48 hours of the event.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
8. VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

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Port Moody

Oak Bay

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New West

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Nelson

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

Take photos of any injuries and place into evidence as directed by department
policy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Obtain information about the location of probes and make sure photos are taken,
including measurements.

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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TASER Cam
The TASER Cam can be used with any TASER X26.
The TASER Cam replaces the DPM. It allows for 1.5 hours of video and audio,
including 50 five-second cycles plus audio and video when fully charged.
The video is taken with a 320 X 240 resolution; QVGA Black & White at 10 FPS;
MPEG-4 Video/Audio Compression. (TI v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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421

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Why report
Transparency can be vital. Reporting addresses media criticism, educates the
community, and provides feedback of success. Most criticism is based on
misinformation. Reporting provides the public, risk management, and media with
information about department successes supported by actual field results;
without this information departments can foment criticism. Reporting also provides
measurable success.
It is advantageous for each department to track the impact of CEW devices on its
officers and suspect injury rates, as well as any changes that occur with the use
of other force options and citizen complaints. This information can be used to
evaluate plans for continued or expanded deployment of CEWs and to respond
to claims of CEW abuse. (TI v. 13, v.14)

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Reporting protocol
A written report is submitted after use as a force presence or implied force, for pain
compliance, and when the CEW use causes motor dysfunction.
Generally, an incident report needs to be filled out when the officer engages in any
use of the CEW that changes the subject's behaviour.
It is necessary to report implied force uses of CEWs. Implied force uses of CEWs
include sparking and aiming laser dot on subject. Implied force does not include

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push-stun or probe deployment, which are considered actual force uses.
Following CEW use, a use-of-force report will be submitted for the force options
section.
The use-of-force report gives the CEW coordinator a summary of the circumstances
for the use and the mode in which it was used.

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
9. REPORTING PROTOCOLS AND REVIEW

Corrections

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Sheriffs

West Van

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RCMP

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

New West

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Nelson

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Other accountability tools
AFID (anti-felon identification): Every time an air cartridge is fired, it disperses
20-30 identification tags called AFIDs. These tags are printed with the serial number
of the cartridge and can be used to determine who fired the cartridge. These were
originally created for civilian sales of TASER conducted energy weapons to deter
criminal use. As an offshoot of this technology, officers should be aware this system √
is an additional method of departmental accountability to trace users who
are not following department policy and are using the CEW inappropriately; to
prevent abuse; and to protect officers from unfounded allegations through solid
documentation of usage. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The AFID tags do not need to be collected as evidence. They are primarily for
civilian-use tracking in the United States.
AFID tags are not generally collected but may be useful for crime scene
investigation.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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423

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Victoria

Port Moody

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Vancouver

Oak Bay

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

New West

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Saanich

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Definition
Excited delirium is defined as “a state of extreme mental and physiological
excitement, characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility,
exceptional strength and endurance without apparent fatigue” (Morrison and Sadler,
2001). (TI v.11, v.13, v.14)
Excited delirium is a symptom of an underlying condition; it is not a stand-alone
diagnosis. (TI v.11)
Excited delirium occurring as a precursor to sudden in-custody death is not a new
phenomenon. (TI v.11)
Many conditions requiring immediate medical treatment may result in a state of
excited delirium; sudden and unexpected death proximal to restraint is not a
rare occurrence; there are approximately 200 deaths every year following police
restraint.
Training information on excited delirium is obtained from CPRC research, BCOPCC
Final Report, research led by Dr. Christine Hall, MD, and the collective

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excited delirium articles and papers from Chris Lawrence, MA, (OPC).

Causes
Causes of excited delirium: psychiatric illness; stimulant abuse; may be a
combination of both; alcohol withdrawal; insulin shock/very low blood sugar; head
injury; other medical problems.
Death following excited delirium state: medical experts investigating reasons for
death—no clear single cause currently known; multi-factorial; usually occurs
following struggle and restraint; research is continuous and ongoing.

Physiology
Excited delirium may involve an organic chemical imbalance in the brain,
psychiatric illness, or stimulant abuse. Excited delirium can be caused by hypoxia,
hypoglycemia, stroke and intra-cranial bleeding. Excited delirium involves
sympathetic nervous system arousal, and is a runaway of the flight-or-fight
response (primitive survival response). Excited delirium is associated with an
increase in adrenaline/noradrenaline release, an increase in body temperature
(hyperthermia), an increase in serum CO2, decrease in blood pH, exertional
rhabdomyolysis (lactic acid), heart arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest. (TI v.11)

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APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

Sympathetic nervous system arousal; huge increase in adrenaline; an uncontrolled
escalation of violent/evasive behaviour—“fight-or-flight” primitive survival
increase in body temperature (hyperthermia). The body is managing a series of
complex metabolic events at once; the ability to manage decreases over time.
Subject may be on the verge of physiologic collapse; limiting the duration of the
struggle and expediting medical care may help prevent death.
We do not know what EXACT physiological factors can lead to death in one
circumstance but not in another; we do not know how to predict who will die
when or why; you cannot tell who will die by the duration/intensity of the struggle
or by the response option used.

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Subject exhibits
Bizarre or violent behaviour. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Bizarre, purposeless, and/or aggressive behaviour.

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Violent and/or evasive behaviour (typical).

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Paranoia. (TI v.11)

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Panic. (TI v.11)
Signs of overheating/disrobing. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Slurring or slowness of speech. (TI v.11)

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Disturbances in breathing patterns or loss of consciousness. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Violence toward/attacking glass, lights, and reflective surfaces. (TI v.11, v.13, v.14)

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Superhuman strength and endurance. (TI v.11, v.13, v.14)

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Complaints of respiratory difficulty. (TI v.14)

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Breaking glass and/or banging on inanimate objects.

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Uncontrolled shaking. (TI v.11)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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Imperviousness to pain/self-mutilation. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

Disorientation.

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Primitive sounds/unintelligible speech.

Lid lift (eyes opening so wide the whites of the eyes are completely visible). (TI v.11)

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425

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

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Irrational physical behaviour. (TI v.11)

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Hyperactivity.

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Subject does not respond to verbal direction; ignores police presence.

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Walking and/or running in traffic.

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Subject exhibits sudden tranquility; first symptom of death may be tranquility or
ragged breathing.

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Can occur at any time during or after restraint.

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Cannot be predicted based on subject behaviour.

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Occurs in police cars, cells, ambulances, and hospitals; majority die at the scene.

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RCMP

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Sheriffs

Corrections

Flight behaviour. (TI v.11)

West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Saanich

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New West

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

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Vigorous resistance. (TI v.11)

Delta

Hallucination.

Abbotsford

Port Moody

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Other Agencies

Oak Bay

Central Saanich

Municipal Police Forces

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Protocol in dealing with excited delirium
Should one or more of the behaviours manifest, the suspect may require immediate
medical assistance due to pre-existing conditions, possible overdose, cocaine

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psychosis, excited delirium, etc. Consider having EMS standing by. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
When taking a call regarding a possible excited delirium subject, the call-taker
should ask the following questions: known history of schizophrenia; mania/bipolar
illness; substance abuse; known medical conditions; previous similar incident(s) of
an acute agitated state.
This is a medical problem which manifests itself in such a manner that the police
are typically the first responders. (TI v.11)
Realize that subjects presenting these signs are in a medical emergency.

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The subject must be controlled before they can be treated.

426

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Instruct your officers to watch for these danger signs. If a suspect exhibits any of
these signs, get them to medical attention as quickly as possible, as these people
are at elevated risk for in-custody death. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Especially when dealing with persons in a health crisis such as excited delirium, it is
advisable to minimize the physical and psychological stress to the subject to the
greatest degree possible. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

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Pre-contact strategies when dealing with those in an excited delirium state:
● Keep your distance.
● If possible, lower the lights.
● Slow your speech and lower your voice.
● Slow your physical movements.
● Keep your hands visible.
● Create distance slowly.

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RCMP

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Sheriffs

Corrections

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

New West

Port Moody

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Other Agencies

Oak Bay

There can be no medical treatment without restraint. (TI v.11)
Weigh the need for immediate control against the risk to the subject. (TI v.11)

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Pre-contact strategies when dealing with those in an excited delirium state:
● Keep your distance until contact and/or restraint becomes necessary.
● Simple and clear commands; understand the subject may not respond.

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● If tactically feasible, maintain a safe time/distance ratio.
For effective public and police safety do not: lower the lights, as there is no
information to suggest this will alter the excited delirium state; “slow your physical
movements”—there is no evidence to support that this will alter an ED state.
Keep those experiencing excited delirium talking if possible (to cause cognitive
pattern interruption). (TI v.11)
Physical Intervention Strategies
Assess the situation and if excited delirium is suspected:
● Contact EMS and have them attend (be sure to mention excited delirium as this
will bump up their call response).
● If reasonable, have a supervisor on scene.
● If reasonable, have the EMH team attend.
● Have a plan for physical intervention, if required.
● Once the subject is restrained, turn them over to EMS immediately.

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Response strategies for dealing with those in an excited delirium state:
● Develop a response strategy prior to deployment of intervention if possible and
include EHS (highest level possible) attendance in your strategy.
● A coordinated strategy to restrain the subject should include those options that
expedite control and subsequent medical treatment.

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● Prolonged struggle represents increased risks.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

427

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

The CEW in probe deployment mode may be the most effective response to
establish control.
A single CEW deployment made before the subject has been exhausted, followed
by an effective restraint technique may provide the optimum outcome.
Persons experiencing excited delirium have a high tolerance for pain so the
operational use of a drive-stun may be more of an annoyance than a compliance-

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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gaining tool, and could escalate the level of resistance.
Response strategies: EHS to attend with members; ensure enough members on
scene for quick and effective control; consider use of CEW in probe mode for
immediate incapacitation to establish control; sufficient members to control arms
and legs; handcuff to rear.
Remove the subject from prone position as soon as possible after control is
established; if EHS is not at scene and the subject suddenly becomes quiet and
stops resisting, advanced life support should be summoned where available, and
preparation for CPR should be made; subject to be placed in EHS care as soon

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as possible for transport to Health Services.
Remember, the maximal prone position may compromise the subjects ability to
adequately ventilate following a violent struggle. Therefore, as soon as is possible,
place the subject in a supine (partially seated) position. If this is not practicable, at
the very least, place the subject on their left side if possible.
Remove the subject from the prone position as soon as possible after control is
established:
● Inform EMS of circumstances.
● Do not allow EMS to transport in the maximal prone position.
● Go with EMS and brief ER staff. (TI v.11)
Your observations are critical for ER staff to understand what has occurred and treat
it accordingly. Your observation and notes cannot adequately be relayed to ER
staff by EMS personnel in a timely manner. Therefore, it is important that one
officer goes with the ambulance.
If there is evidence of chemical/stimulant use, seize as an exhibit as per policy.
If there is any evidence of chemical or stimulant use, obtain a sample if there is any
left and turn it over to the ER staff.
If possible, have a supervisor on the scene. (TI v.11)

428

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Engage in post-incident care of involved officers. (TI v.11)

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ABCs should be monitored continually once the subject is under control.

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Documentation

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Document the incident. (TI v.11)
All investigation should be turned over to uninvolved members as soon as possible.

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(TI v.11)

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Identify witnesses. (TI v.11)
Obtain core temperature as soon as possible. (TI v.11)
Discuss with coroner as soon as possible the concept of brain examination. (TI v.11)
Document any damage caused by the subject. (TI v.11)
Collect evidence, in particular, any intermediate weapon deployed. (TI v.11)

Member training regarding excited delirium
Training materials submitted include excited delirium bibliographic/research
supplementary materials. (TI v.11)
Training materials submitted address excited delirium. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Training materials submitted do not address excited delirium.
Excited delirium training is a separate training course.
“Excited Delirium and Its Correlation to Sudden and Unexpected Death Proximal
to Restraint: A Review of the Current and Relevant Medical Literature” by
A/Insp. Darren Laur; Victoria Police Department, April 2005. The information
contained in this paper should be shared with all first responders and medical
care workers who may come into contact with those experiencing excited delirium.
If your agency has experienced a sudden and unexpected death proximal to
restraint, this paper should also be shared with investigators, coroners, medical
examiners, pathologists, and lawyers, or anyone else who is involved in the
investigation of the death.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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429

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
10. EXCITED DELIRIUM

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Modified restraint information
Training materials contain information about modified restraint tactics and
techniques.
Officers no longer engage in “hog tie” restraint.
Officers are trained in waist and leg restraint techniques.

430

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
11. CEW DEFINITIONS

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

Delta

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Nelson

Central Saanich

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Kitasoo

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General definitions
CEWs are electronic control devices (ECDs), conducted energy devices (CEDs), or
manufactured by TASER International. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)
CEW electronic control devices are weapons designed to incapacitate a person from
a safe distance while reducing the likelihood of serious injuries or death. (TI v.13, v.14)
CEWs are hand-held electronic immobilizing devices specifically designed to
physically incapacitate a subject.

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Less lethal/non-lethal
The CEW is not a substitute for lethal force. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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The CEW is not a replacement for the use of deadly force, but rather can be used in
conjunction with deadly force where appropriate and reasonable to do so.
The CEW is a less lethal or lower lethality weapon. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Lower lethality force is a concept of planning and force application, which meets
operational objectives, with less potential for causing death or physical injury than
conventional police tactics.
The CEW is a non-lethal weapon. (TI v.11, v.12)

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U.S. Department of Defense policy defines non-lethal weapons as “weapon systems
that are explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate personnel
or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and
undesired damage to property and the environment….” It is important to note that
Department of Defense policy does not require or expect non-lethal weapons to
have a zero probability of producing fatalities or permanent injuries. “Rather,
non-lethal weapons are intended to significantly reduce the probability of such
fatalities or injuries as compared with traditional military weapons which achieve
their effects through the physical destruction of targets.” (Joint Concept for Nonlethal Weapons, United States Marine Corps.) (TI v.12, v.13)

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Functional definitions: electrical effect on nervous system
CEWs use propelled wires or direct contact to conduct energy to affect the sensory
and motor functions of the nervous system. (TI v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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431

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
11. CEW DEFINITIONS

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RCMP

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

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Delta

Central Saanich

All previous less-lethal weapons have worked on pain compliance that can be
overcome by drugs, alcohol, EDPs, or by focused, combative individuals. CEWs
in probe mode do not rely on pain to achieve compliance, but override the central
nervous system to achieve incapacitation. (TI v.11, v.13, v.14)
CEWs affect both the sensory and motor nervous systems, causing incapacitation. (TI

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

v.11, v.12, v.13, v.14)

The motor nervous system is composed of nerves that carry commands from the
brain to the muscles to control movement. (TI v.11, v.13, v.14)
Neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI) systems stimulate the peripheral nervous system
by causing direct stimulation of motor nerves contracting muscles. This
stimulation is caused by the short duration, high-voltage electrical impulses that
CEWs emit. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The sensory nervous system is made of nerves that carry information from the body
to the brain about sensory stimulation such as touch, temperature, etc. (TI v.11, v.13,
Stun systems generate “electrical noise” that the sensory nervous system interprets
as pain or discomfort, but does not cause incapacitation; these stun systems are
used for pain compliance. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
NMI’s incapacitation effects only occur while the weapon is cycling.

432

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

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Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

General training authority
TASER International does not certify end users. This is left to the individual
agencies. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Training material and information specific to the introduction to the CEW is
provided by the manufacturer, which also provides certification in the use of its
products. Select lead instructors receive Master Instructor certification in the use of
CEWs as part of their professional development. These Master Instructors then

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certify trainers within their own service.
The user should complete instruction under the guidance of a certified instructor.

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(TI v. 13)

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Use-of-force instructors are certified by Sheriff Services and the Justice Institute of
BC. (JI)3
To become a TASER Master Instructor, an officer must attend a TASER Master
Instructor School. (TI v.13, v.14)
TASER Master Instructors may certify others as TASER Instructors by presenting the
two-day certification course. (TI v.13, v. 14)

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Materials required for training
Check the TASER International website 72 hours prior to presenting a class to ensure
you are using the most current version of the training DVD and lesson plan, and to
review all current training bulletins. (TI v.13, v.14)

Duration of the course
User certification includes 4 hours of training instruction.

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User certification includes 5 hours of training instruction.
User certification includes 6 hours of training instruction. (TI v.13, v.14)

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User certification includes 7 hours of training instruction.

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User certification includes 8 hours of training instruction.

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User certification includes 16 hours of training instruction.

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Instructor certification includes 14 hours of training instruction.
Instructor certification includes 16 hours of training instruction. (TI v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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433

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Instructor certification includes 32 hours of training instruction.

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Excited delirium training is a separate 4-hour course.

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Force options training is initially seven days at the recruit level and covers decisionmaking and use-of-force levels, incorporating all approved use-of-force tools
(i.e. , stuns, strikes, control holds, pressure areas, baton, pepper spray, CEW,
firearm, handcuffs, etc).

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Candidate selection
The CEW user course is open to all department members

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Members who have completed the user’s course, have operational experience with
CEWs and are currently in or expect to fill a training capacity within the department
are eligible to take the CEW instructor course.

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A member interested in becoming a CEW user applies to take the training course.

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Any members taking the user course must be currently certified in first aid.
CEW course applicants must be competent with basic force option skills as
demonstrated in the field.
Any members taking the user course must be currently certified in the use of the
police defensive baton, pepper spray, carotid control technique, and the service
pistol. (TI v.13)
To become a TASER Master Instructor requires experience as a TASER Instructor; five
years as a sworn officer and/or military service; two years of instructor
experience and a minimum of 12 TASER user courses taught. (TI v.13, v.14)
Candidates take approved training courses in instructional techniques, etc., and
later spend, on average, one to two years in an apprenticeship/mentoring
relationship before being certified to take the lead in any use-of-force or firearms
training event.
Use of the CEW is taught as part of Sheriff Services’ Force Options curriculum,
training that is provided to every deputy in the province.

434

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Sheriff branch instructors are certified through a provincial use-of-force curriculum
and instructor certification course under the aegis of the Police Academy,
after undergoing a development and training program through which they are
selected. Candidates are chosen through a rigorous process involving a work
performance check, a screening for suitability, and a panel review of various
competencies.

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Instructor to student ratio
Maximum student to instructor ratio for both user and instructor training is 20:1.

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Maximum student to instructor ratio for user and instructor training is 4:1.

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Maximum student to instructor ratio for user and instructor training is 8:1. (TI v.13)

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Training structure and methods
Instructional strategies or method of instruction
Instructors must use the TASER International user course lesson plan in its entirety.
(TI v.13, v.14)

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Coursework shall include all topics in user lesson plan, including all drills and
functional demonstrations. (TI v.13)
The instructor courses may utilize a variety of teaching techniques including lecture,
guided discussion, demonstration, performance, role plays and scenarios.
The CEW user course will be taught using lecture, demonstration, and scenario
√
methods. (TI v.13, v.14)
The CEW user course begins in a classroom setting with an overview of the course.
Students receive a CEW manual and are shown a PowerPoint presentation, which is
discussed. This is followed by reality-based training.
Instructor candidates will undergo training which includes advanced technical
√
instruction and teaching evaluations.
Members will be evaluated individually based specifically on the material covered
during the training session.
CEW user certification involves a classroom review, a test, and reality-based
training.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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435

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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West Van

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Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Assessment
Assessment criteria: General
The HR Training NCO and all of the certified CEW instructors will use the same
criteria for evaluating each member. There will be no latitude for subjectivity
during the conduct of these evaluations.

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Written examination
A copy of each user’s certification test should be kept in department records to
validate certification. (TI v.13)
Users must pass a written examination of relevant material covered in training.
(TI v.13, v.14)

To certify both instructors and users, written examinations will be of short answer,
fill-in-the-blanks, and/or true/false format.
To certify CEW users, a written examination requires a minimum score of 70% to
pass.
Minimum standards to be certified as a user include passing a written test with a
minimum score of 80%. (TI v.13, v.14)
Minimum standards to be certified as a TASER Instructor include passing a written
test with a minimum score of 90%. (TI v.14)
To be certified as a CEW user, officers must identify components of the CEW on a
diagram. (TI v.13, v.14)
To be certified as a CEW user, officers must confirm their understanding of how the
CEW is utilized on the use-of-force framework.

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Functional and scenario-based training
An user must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the function and use of the CEW.
(TI v.14)

Topics from this class will be evaluated via performance checklist during the
practical applications conducted during the class. (TI v.14)
The member must show competency in all of the practical drills to pass.
Practical tests will be scored Certified (C) or Incomplete (I). A score of Certified (C)
will be given for those able to proficiently demonstrate the task without any
additional instruction beyond that provided during the training session.

436

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Recommended user certification includes firing four CEW cartridges (one simulation
cartridge for scenario training is recommended). The user should fire one CEW
cartridge during the instruction course and three CEW cartridges during the final
test. (TI v.13)

Sheriffs

RCMP

√

A CEW user should pass the functional tests for certification and re-certification.

√

(TI v.13)

All scenario-based training must be conducted with the use of live simulation (LS)
air cartridges only.
Scenario training evaluation is based on whether the proper approach was used
taking into account cover, distance, and scanning tactics; whether there was
communication between the officers before, during, and after the incident; whether
there was communication with the subject before, during, and after the incident;
whether there was the appropriate force used including de-escalation tactics; and
whether “TASER, TASER, TASER” was verbalized.
During CEW deployment users will be evaluated on their approach, distance, verbal
commands, firing to target, malfunction/reload/transition, and push-stun.
The CEW user’s course requires members to go through a minimum of two scenarios,
once as a CEW user and once as a backup.
All members will engage in practical scenario-based certified competency
√
evaluations. (TI v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

Corrections

√

A standardized certified competency evaluation will be conducted for each member.

Candidates will be given a skill display test and use role playing to ensure they can
properly utilize the CEW in an effective and proficient manner. Candidates will be
required to demonstrate proper use of the CEW and to explain and provide legal
articulation of their actions to the instructor.
Instructors engage in additional practical scenario training involving preparation and
safety; pre-scenario briefing; monitoring and professionalism.
Simulator training (scenario-based training without live-fire exercises) is a valuable
and effective supplemental training tool, but is not a substitute for live-fire
exercises required for initial and annual CEW certifications.
Officers learn to fill out use-of-force reports by filling out a practice report based on
a video scenario example.

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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437

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Remedial training and course failure
Remedial training will only be given for the practical portion of the course. If a
member fails to complete the safe-rip-reload-reassess portion in the required
10 seconds, they may be given one re-test. In the event a member fails the written
exam and/or the second practical re-test, the member is to be scheduled for
another CEW course. (TI v.13)
A score of Incomplete (I) will be given for those unable to demonstrate the task
after reasonable corrective feedback (three attempts). Those with incomplete
will not be certified to carry or operate a CEW. Remedial training will be provided to
those requiring it.
A member can fail the course by failing the exam or by demonstrating confused or
poor decision making in the reality-based training.
Any instructor candidate receiving any evaluation of “Incomplete” will not be
certified as an instructor.
User certification students who do not hit the target during practical testing should
be run through aiming drills, and directed to fire again. Users should not be certified
until they have passed both firing tests. (TI v.13)
A CEW user candidate must achieve a competent rating in each component of the
course in order to receive credit for the course. Candidates for CEW instructor
who do not achieve a competent rating will be given learning assistance as necessary
and will be required to take the test over, at the discretion of the facilitators.

√

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Length of certification validity and re-certification requirements
User certification requires annual re-certification. (TI v.13, v.14)

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√4 √4 √4

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Follow-up training on the CEW is done as part of the two-year Force Options recertification process, which is required under the present policy of the branch.
Instructor certification is valid for two years. (TI v.13, v.14)
Re-certifying instructors are required to complete the entire two-day program. (TI
v.13, v.14)

TASER Master Instructor certification is valid for two years. (TI v.13, v.14)
Regular members of the RCMP who have successfully completed the CEW user’s
course must take the re-certification course every year.

438

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

√

User re-certification training is 2.5 hours.

√

User re-certification is a minimum 4-hour training course.

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User re-certification training is 5 hours.

√

Maximum student to instructor ratio for user re-certification is 4:1.

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User re-certification involves scenario training. (TI v.13)
User re-certification includes firing two cartridges. (TI v.13, v.14)

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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User re-certification is a presentation. (TI v.13)

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User re-certification involves a classroom review, a test, and reality-based training.

Learning objectives and content
Learning objectives
The purpose of CEW user training is to ensure that all members are competent in the
force context of use and operational deployment of CEWs.
For the TASER Instructor course, a candidate given persons to be trained and a
lesson plan must be able to instruct users in the proper deployment and safety of
the CEW. (TI v.14)
The goals of CEW user training are to increase officer safety, reduce the possibility
of serious injury to officers and suspects alike, and to enhance the liability
position of the department by conducting certified competency evaluations in this
area of police use of force.

√
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General content guidelines
CEW user training includes proper physical deployment techniques and tactics,
background information on CEWs, how they physiologically affect a human being,

√

policy and procedures, and the use-of-force context in accordance with the NUFF.
TASER Instructors and users will be able to articulate policy and procedures in the
area of users, state the Force Options context of CEWs in accordance with the
NUFF, identify the follow-up procedures associated with CEWs’ deployment, and
properly administer CEWs and the associated tactics in accordance with
certification standards; TASER Instructors will demonstrate an ability to instruct all
aspects of the lesson plan. (TI v.13)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

√

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439

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

During training officers review the IM/IM and link all discussed scenarios and
situations back to the model.
The introduction focuses on technical knowledge, specifications, familiarity with
the operating principles, and effectiveness of the device. The actual use-of-force
applications and situational training (when to employ the CEW and why) is also
incorporated into the context of the other use-of-force tools and broader Force
Options training.

√

√

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

√
√

Drills training
CEW handling and pre-deployment drills

√

Users will engage in a CEW digital readout test.
Users must know how to properly check battery pulse rate. (TI v.14)
Users will learn to remove and reinstall battery correctly. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Users will check and change laser and tac light.
Users will know how to utilize the laser and fixed sights. (TI v.14)
Users will engage in several repetitions of unholstering and holstering.

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√

The ready drill involves drawing the CEW from its holster, keeping finger off the
trigger, pointing the CEW in safe direction, and moving the safety switch to the
ARMED position.
Users will know and demonstrate proper finger positions for aiming and firing. (TI v.14)

User will know when the CEW device is armed and ready to deploy. (TI v.14)
The cartridge loading drill requires users to remove batteries, treat the CEW as a
loaded weapon, always ensure the safety switch is placed in the SAFE position,
keep fingers away from blast doors, point weapon in a safe direction, and keep
finger off the trigger.

440

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Users will engage in a spark test drill.
The objective of the spark drill is to provide each student the practical training to
safely and properly operate the safety switch and trigger on the CEW.
User can control unit adequately when commanded “arm-spark-safe” at random;
user understands safety switch and trigger fully. (TI v.14)

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√

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

The objective of CEW cartridge loading and reloading drills is to familiarize student
with proper loading techniques, considering tactics and safety.
All members will engage in physical practice of ensuring the CEW is operationally
ready.
All members will engage in physical practice of drawing, loading, unloading and
reloading air cartridges.
Users understand how the CEW device overrides and controls the sensory and motor
functions of the nervous systems of a subject. (TI v.14)

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

√

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

√

√

Saanich

√

Port Moody

√

Oak Bay

√

New West

√

Users must practice CEW cartridge loading and reloading.
Users must be able to reload in a safe and proper manner. (TI v.14)

Nelson

√

Kitasoo

√

Delta

Central Saanich

Reload CEW five times in 15 seconds (watch finger position; fingers in front of blast
door results in disqualification). (TI v.14)

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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All members will engage in physical practice of aiming and sighting the CEW.
The objective of the aiming drill is to provide adequate practice to familiarize the
students with use of the safety switch, laser sight, and verbal commands.

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User must understand probe placement and ballistics. (TI v.14)

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Training drills are conducted under stressful conditions that simulate what the
officer will encounter in the field in a violent encounter. (TI v.14)

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CEW deployment drills

√

All members will engage in physical practice of firing the CEW.
User certification includes firing at least two cartridges. (TI v.13, v.14)
User certification includes firing at least four to six cartridges, including failure
drills and scenario drills.
All students will fire several cartridges and will be required to show proficiency in
weapon handling and accuracy. (TI v.14)
Firing cartridges during training is important for officer safety because accuracy is
critical to the successful deployment of CEWs. (TI v.13, v.14)
Firing cartridges during training familiarizes the user with the functions of the
system and tests his or her aptitude. (TI v.13)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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441

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
12. CERTIFICATION STANDARDS AND METHODS

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Sheriffs

Corrections

West Van

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Victoria

Vancouver

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Users will engage in failure drills.

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

√

User fires the CEW to a static target.
User fires CEW to a static target without the use of the laser sight.
Users will draw the CEW, hit a target at 8 feet, reload, hit a second target at 12 feet
with laser sight within a 10-second time limit. (TI v.13, v.14)

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

√

Other Agencies

RCMP

Through the live-fire drill, users become familiar with the sight, sound, and feel of
an air cartridge being deployed; are able to put both probes on a target; and
become accustomed to using the fixed sights and laser sight.

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Post-deployment drills
Users will engage in several repetitions of controlling the subject while being
incapacitated by the CEW to handcuffing.
Proper probe removal technique must be demonstrated and explained. Candidates
will have to remove probes from a given target (foam block wrapped with one layer
of “inner tube” 0.05 to 0.08 cm thick).
Learn procedures to properly and safely remove probes from subject.
(TI v.14)

Members shall not remove darts that have punctured the skin of a subject and have
remained imbedded; this shall only be done by a qualified medical doctor.

442

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE
Other Agencies

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RCMP

Sheriffs

Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Saanich

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Port Moody

New West

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Oak Bay

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

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Identification tags
Do not use metal tags: they are conductive and could cause the energy to be
redirected back to the user or unit. (TI v.14)
Do not use a vibrating etching machine. This could compromise the integrity of the
plastic and introduce foreign material into the device’s internal components.
Instead, apply paper or plastic labels with the serial number or write the serial
number on the CEW device in permanent ink. Contact customer service at TASER
International for custom engraving. (TI v.14)

Testing protocol: spark test
The CEW is to be tested routinely by each member by performing a 1-second spark
test at the start of each shift, or once every 24 hours.(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Perform power and spark test daily, and always after replacing battery tray or
charging batteries. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
All CEWs should be spark-tested prior to field deployment (1 second); never rely on
light emitting diode (LED).
Never rely on LED to determine if the CEW is functioning properly; a spark test is
necessary.
To complete a spark test, place safety switch in the down (SAFE) position, remove
the CEW cartridge, place safety switch in the up (ARMED) position, perform
spark test for one second and check for rapid pulse rate, return safety switch to the
down (SAFE) position, replace cartridge. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The officer must look for proper arcing between contact points and listen for any
breaks in the spark test.
One spark (1/19th of a second) is adequate. However, this is not a practical
duration. As long as the officer sees a visible spark between the electrodes, it is
not necessary to extend the duration. In most cases, this requires less than one
second. (TI v.13, v.14)
The spark test is used to verify the CEW device is working and that the batteries are
performing and are adequately charged. Also, there are components in the high
voltage section of the CEW that are more reliable when energized (“conditioned”)
on a regular basis. (TI v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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443

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE
Other Agencies

Nelson

New West

Victoria

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Always store the TASER X26 with the DPM inserted. Failure to do so can result in
corrupted data, clock errors, software problems, and weapon failure. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

√

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Check expiration of CEW cartridges, which expire after five years. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Use only recommended batteries. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Secure in protective holster, when not in use. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Do not store in pockets without holster. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Avoid exposing TASER M/X26 to excessive moisture. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Vancouver

Kitasoo

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Saanich

Delta

√

Check batteries and DPM regularly. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Port Moody

Central Saanich

Avoid dropping the CEW as it is a sensitive electronic device. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Oak Bay

Abbotsford

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

CEW care: maintenance protocol

If a CEW becomes completely submerged in liquid, return to manufacturer. (TI v.12,

√

√

v.13, v.14)

If the CEW becomes wet but not completely submerged, turn the safety switch
down to SAFE, point the CEW in safe direction and remove the cartridge, remove
the battery pack/DPM, dry the CEW thoroughly (for at least 24 hours), reinstall
battery pack/DPM, and turn the safety switch up to ARMED. If the CEW discharges
√
without pulling the trigger, remove batteries/DPM and return to manufacturer;
complete a spark test for three full 5-second cycles. If the CEW does not function
properly, return it to the manufacturer. If the spark test is normal, return the CEW
to service. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Occasionally wipe out the CEW cartridge firing bay with dry cloth. Multiple cartridge
√
firings create carbon buildup (particularly after training courses). (TI v.13, v.14)
Use PDI Super Sani-Cloth (a powerful disinfectant) to wipe down any CEW that gets
contaminated by any body fluids. This brand will not damage CEW weapon surfaces. √
(TI v.13, v.14)

Periodically check and clean the lens with a cotton swab. (TI v.14)

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A quarterly clock reset should be conducted. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Recommend conducting a semi-annual download and clock reset (only by
authorized/certified RCMP CEW instructors).
A maintenance log should be kept.

444

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
13. CEW ISSUING, MAINTENANCE, AND STORAGE

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

Sheriffs

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Other Agencies

RCMP

Only qualified TASER Instructors are authorized to remove the XDPM or DPM (power
source) from the TASER X26.
TASER M26 model batteries can be recharged without removing the battery tray by
plugging the charger directly into the serial dataport. (TI v.12, v. 13, v.14)

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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445

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
14. CEW HANDLING (WHILE ON DUTY)
Other Agencies
Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

√

Delta

West Van

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

TASER International training outlines pros and cons of holstering as follows (with instruction to refer to own policy):
Support-side pros include lower risk of drawing wrong weapon under stress, hip cross
draw allows for faster engagement on the target, and easier identification as a
√
CEW by other officers; a con is that there are weapon retention issues depending on
training. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
A dominant-side-carry pro is weapon retention; a con is that there is a higher risk of
weapon confusion, and there are three known incidents of shootings by mistaken
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weapon. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Materials recommend non-firearm-side holstering.

446

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

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Sheriffs

Corrections

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RCMP

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Voluntary exposure prohibited
Voluntary exposure is prohibited in practice or in writing.

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Voluntary exposure requirement for certification
Voluntary exposure is not required for instructor or user certification. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Benefits of voluntary exposure
For the purposes of generating confidence, empathy, understanding, and court
credibility it is recommended, but not required, that all members experience the
effects of a CEW with taped wires to the clothing for a period of 1–5 seconds. Given
the force options context of CEWs (low-level intermediate weapon), the fact
that the CEW will be deployed with some degree of frequency, and the fact that
there are few or no lingering effects, it is important that each member experience
the CEW’s effects. It is a proven training principle that one can learn as much from
“experiencing” as one can from “performing.”
Instructor credibility as a leader and subject matter expert; officers can better
understand the effects of the device, build confidence to go “hands-on” with a
subject without receiving shock, prepare for better self-defence, court expertise,
and become prepared to handle the risks of secondary exposures. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Voluntary exposure is highly recommended for both instructors and users for several
reasons. For instructors it increases their credibility among students for
understanding and explaining the effects of the weapon. For all users it provides a
better understanding of what the subject is experiencing, what their likely
reaction will be, and provides the user with own personal understanding of what
effect the weapon might have if a subject were to obtain their weapon and use it
on the officer. This would become extremely beneficial in court if an officer had to
justify use of force to stop a client who was attempting to take the CEW.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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447

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Voluntary exposure also enhances the confidence of both users and instructors. This
confidence is required at every CEW deployment. If CEW users, or officers
assisting in the arrest during or after CEW deployment, do not have the confidence
in their own abilities to function through a deployment, they are compromising
the safety of themselves, their partners, and the public. Voluntary exposure assists
in ‘rationalizing’ the fear of ‘electrical current.’ After a voluntary exposure,
the mind’s-eye says, “I'm still nervous or scared...but I've dealt with it and have
overcome it and have reasonable certainty that it will not be a hindrance in the
execution of my duty.”

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Risks of training injuries
Exposure to a CEW causing NMI (neuromuscular incapacitation) is a stressful event
for the human body similar to physical exertion from athletic activity, such as
weight lifting or wrestling. Risks of injury from physical exertion or falling, while
low, are not zero. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The CEW device can cause temporary loss of motor control and involuntary muscle
contractions. In the course of falling to the ground, a person could sustain any of
a wide variety of injuries from head concussion to broken bones to dislocated joints,
especially if proper use of spotters and holding techniques are not followed. (TI v.12,

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v.13, v.14)

The CEW causes strong muscle contractions which may be severe and may cause
physical exertion athletic-type injuries to some people. These muscle contractions
may result in injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, back, joints, and stress
fractures. Therefore, the wires/alligator clips can only be attached to the front
torso area of the person.
A person with a pre-existing injury may face a higher risk of athletic type injury
from muscle contraction or falling. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The CEW causes pain, which can be stressful. This stress may be injurious to some
people.
The two probes impact with a velocity of approximately 165 ft/sec. and are capable
of penetrating up to 1/4 inch into the flesh, causing puncture wounds. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
CEWs can cause minor signature marks on the skin similar to a minor burn in the
areas where probes or clips are attached. Also, minor bleeding may occur if the
probes penetrate the skin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

448

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Safety precautions prior to exposure
Voluntary exposure safety guidelines must be adhered to.
While adherence to safety precautions for subjects in actual field use cannot always
be enforced, it is imperative that extra precautions are strictly adhered to during
any volunteer exposure to minimize the possibility of injury. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Prior to conducting voluntary exposure to the CEW devices, instructors must review
all safety precautions with the class. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Every student must read and sign the TASER Safety Rules and Liability Release form.
(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Voluntary exposures to CEW devices should only be conducted by a certified
instructor. (TI v.13, v.14)
CEW instructors conducting voluntary exposure must hold a valid certification in first
aid and CPR in the event that the student experiences any undue adverse reaction.
Any volunteer with concerns over present or past medical conditions should refrain
from voluntary exposure. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Volunteers must notify instructor of any pre-existing injuries, medical conditions, or
susceptibilities. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Volunteers with pre-existing conditions should avoid exposure to injured areas (for
example, someone with a back injury should avoid CEW stimulation to the large
muscles of the back). (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Because of parental/guardian consent issues, no minor shall be exposed to a CEW
weapon as part of a training course.
Volunteers should relieve themselves prior to exposure in order to not have stressrelated urination. Also, volunteers who are dehydrated or have low blood sugar
should hydrate or eat a light snack. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Volunteers should stretch and warm up as they would before exercising, including
muscles of the back, shoulders, legs, and torso. (TI v.13, v.14)
Move furniture and place the volunteer away from sharp objects to ensure a safe
place to lower the subject to the ground. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Proper matting is required in the exposure area. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Clear the area of bystanders and objects. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

449

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Do not use or have flammable liquids and fumes in the vicinity during a CEW
application. The CEWs can ignite gasoline or other flammables.
If probes are fired in lieu of attaching spent wires or alligator clips, then eye
protection is required for both the spotter and the student being exposed. (TI v.13, v.14)
Spotters need to support student before and during exposure; support student under
the armpit to avoid shoulder rotation.
The RCMP voluntary exposure protocol only approve the use of alligator clips and/or
wires attached/taped to the clothing; eye protection is still required for both
the spotters and the student being exposed. Provided that no probes are attached
to the person’s arms, there should be no electrical pulses flowing into the spotters

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

Kitasoo

Delta

Central Saanich

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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and they can safely support the person being exposed without any negative impact.
Volunteer, holders, and any observers within 21 feet of the device must wear eye
protection. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Safety procedures during volunteer exposure
Use floor mats and spotters with proper holding technique to prevent the volunteer
from falling hard and getting hurt. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Each spotter should hold an upper arm of the standing volunteer under the armpit,
so that the person can be safely supported and lowered to the ground after being
hit without twisting, rotating, or putting undue stress on the arm or shoulder. (TI v.12,

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v.13, v.14)

All persons volunteering for a CEW exposure shall either be supported by two
spotters so they don’t fall or placed face down on the mat prior to exposure. (TI v.13,
Electricity will not pass to others in contact with the subject, unless contact is made
directly between or on the probes. (TI v.12, v.13)
Provided that no probes are attached to the person’s arms, there should be no
electrical pulses flowing into the spotters and they can safely support the person
being hit without any negative impact. (TI v.13, v.14)
Extreme care must be taken to avoid aiming at sensitive areas, especially the eyes,
where serious permanent injury could occur. Other sensitive areas that should be
avoided during volunteer exposure include the throat, face, and genitals. (TI v.12, v.13,

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v.14)

Have volunteer kneeling or prone.

450

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Optimal safety is to aim for the volunteer’s back or legs. There are fewer sensitive
areas on the back (eyes, throat, groin, etc.) (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Instructors should also consider targeting the legs as opposed to the back to further
reduce stress to the students. (TI v.14)
While having the volunteer stand may be necessary to show the effect of hits to
particular parts of the body and certain other tactical considerations, such as
close probe deployments and one-probe hits, most exposures can be achieved with
the volunteer lying face down on the mat. This may help to reduce the stress to the
student. (TI v.14)

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Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

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Kitasoo

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Probe deployments are prohibited.

Delta

Central Saanich

Probes should be deployed from behind the volunteer. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

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Every voluntary exposure should have training value for the entire class. (TI v.14)

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Utilize probe hits to allow students to remove probes; target different parts of the
body to show different effects; demonstrate one probe hit with drive-stun follow-

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Use the laser sight for increased accuracy. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Voluntary exposure content

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up; demonstrate difference between probe hits and drive-stun. (TI v.13, v.14)
After demonstrating specific training exposures, remaining hits should be done with
the volunteer lying face down targeting the legs, or other areas of the body if
necessary to avoid pre-existing injuries. (TI v.12, v.14)
Voluntary exposure will be conducted with live cartridges equipped with wire/clip
attachments only, and they will be attached to the front of the torso and no more
than 10 to 14 inches apart.
The voluntary exposure should have a limited duration; a 1-2 second exposure will
suffice. This would be similar to receiving an inadvertent electrical shock from
the wires during the “hands on” portion of an arrest. One can also say that after
feeling the current for 2 seconds, they have an appreciation of how 5 seconds must
feel.
A full 5-second cycle exposure may be applied only when the candidate requests it.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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451

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
15. VOLUNTARY EXPOSURE

Sheriffs

RCMP

Corrections

West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

Port Moody

Oak Bay

New West

Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

Group exposure
Group exposures are not recommended. (TI v.14)
Group demo voluntary exposure is prohibited.

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During group exposure, make sure students are all lying down. (TI v.12, v.13)

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Post-exposure safety procedures: probe removal
Engage in careful probe removal using proper protocol. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Persons removing probes must wear protective gloves and use standard proberemoval safety precautions. If students are allowed to remove probes, ensure that
the supporting hand is well clear of the probe. Also ensure the barb is attached to
the probe and has not dislodged in the skin. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The instructor is responsible for ensuring that the host agency or other party
provides rubber gloves, alcohol wipes, and bandages for probe removal.

452

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
16. DATA DOWNLOADING AND INDEPENDENT TESTING
Other Agencies

Nelson

New West

Victoria

West Van

Corrections

RCMP

Sheriffs

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Vancouver

Kitasoo

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Saanich

Delta

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Port Moody

Central Saanich

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Oak Bay

Abbotsford

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

CEW download features
The CEW stores the time and date of each firing. (TI v. 12, v.13, v.14)
The CEW dataport can allow the unit to be remotely fired by tactical robots. (TI v.12,
v.13, v.14)

Why download
The TASER X26 has a dataport function that stores the time and date when it was
fired. This data protects officers from claims of excessive use of force by providing
documentation of the time and date for each firing. The dataport also provides law
enforcement with a powerful management tool to track usage patterns, prevent
misuse, and develop ongoing training programs. (TI v. 13, v.14)
The dataport connects the TASER M26 to a computer. By downloading this data, the
department can monitor usage patterns. Every officer who is issued an

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TASER M26 can be held accountable for every firing of the unit. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Data downloading protects officers from unfounded allegations, and maintains
officer accountability. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

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Download protocol
The rubber stopper must be in when dataport is not in use. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
There is no need to program the weapon to local time or to reprogram the weapon
to daylight savings time. (TI v.13, v.14)
The data downloads are saved in encrypted data files that are secure from
tampering. This preserves the admissibility of TASER X26 dataport download reports
for court admissibility. (TI v.13, v.14)
If you return a damaged CEW to the manufacturer, download and save dataport info
in case that CEW is called into question or litigation in the future. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
Should a CEW need to be returned to the factory for any reason, there is the
possibility that this unit will be destroyed if it is replaced as a warranty item.
The manufacturer does not retain the dataport readouts so it is up to the law
enforcement agency to download the unit and save this file as potential evidence.

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(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Remove the cartridge and spark test the weapon prior to download to confirm
current time as relative point of reference. (TI v.13, v.14)

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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453

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
16. DATA DOWNLOADING AND INDEPENDENT TESTING

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Sheriffs

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RCMP

Corrections

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West Van

Victoria

Vancouver

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

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Nelson

Delta

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

The dataport time setting on the TASER X26 can be reset if the DPM is removed for
4 hours or more. Always store with DPM to maintain dataport integrity.

Abbotsford

Municipal Police Forces

(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

The officer must attend to have the CEW downloaded after a trigger-pull use in line
of duty, which does not include the spark test; if over a long period of time the
device has not been spark tested; and a minimum of twice a year, six months apart
if the device has not been downloaded as described above.
A quarterly download should be conducted. (TI v.13, v.14)

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The CEW user will have the CEW coordinator download and assess the CEW for
record-keeping.
Downloads are done through the CEW coordinator in the Force Response Options
section or in the Emergency Response Team (ERT) section.

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Dataport downloads are done by shift supervisors or CEW coordinator as required.

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Data downloads may only be completed by RCMP Master Instructors.

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What downloads capture
Download does not differentiate between a contact-stun and probe deployment.
(TI v.12, v.13, v.14)

Each trigger pull of the TASER M26 records the date and time of its most recent 585
firings. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
TASER M26 Taser downloads will not provide the duration of the current. (TI v.12, v. 13,

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v.14)

With the exception of the very first TASER M26 models (serial numbers P0 & P1),
several trigger pulls during the 5-second cycle will be recorded as one single
trigger pull. This often happens during stressful shootings as officers tend to double
and triple tap the trigger as a result of firearms training. This will not affect the
duration of the 5-second cycle unless the trigger is depressed after the 5-second
cycle has concluded or if the trigger was continuously depressed beyond the
5-second cycle. If the trigger is held down longer than 5 seconds, it will record a
separate cycle every 5 seconds. (TI v.12, v.13, v.14)
The time recorded on the TASER M26 model data download report indicates the time
the trigger was pulled. (TI v.13, v.14)

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX F

COMPARISONS OF CEW TRAINING POLICIES AND PRACTICES
16. DATA DOWNLOADING AND INDEPENDENT TESTING

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Corrections

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West Van

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Victoria

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Vancouver

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Saanich

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Port Moody

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Oak Bay

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New West

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Nelson

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Kitasoo

Central Saanich

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Delta

Abbotsford

The TASER X26 USB Dataport records the time, date, duration, internal temperature,
and battery status of each trigger pull for the most recent 1,500 firings in the
TASER’s memory (improves on TASER M26). (TI v.13, v.14)
If the trigger is pressed again and held down during the first 5-second discharge, the
TASER X26 dataport will count this as one firing period. If the first firing
is allowed to stop before the trigger is pressed again, the log will show two separate
firings. (TI v.13, v.14)
The time recorded on the TASER X26 model download log indicates the end of the
cycle. (TI v.13, v.14)
The TASER X26 is programmed to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the
conversion to local time, including adjustments to daylight savings time, are all
computed in the PC-based software. The TASER X26 data download reports show the
time and date in both GMT and local time. (TI v.13, v.14)
If the TASER X26 time is ever lost or reprogrammed, the firing log will show the
time-change information in the fire log data. (TI v.13, v.14)

Other Agencies

Stl'atl'imx Tribal
Police
Transit Authority
Police

Municipal Police Forces

1 “TI” refers to TASER International, Inc.’s Training Materials; “v” refers to the version used by Departments.
2 Until the provincial review on CEW usage is complete and recommendations have been put forward, West Vancouver has restricted CEW use to
situations where an individual is behaving in a combative manner or posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm to the police or public.
3 Until 2006, the JI trained all police recruits on CEW use but this was discontinued when Vancouver decided to conduct its own in-house
training, which led the Academy to transfer responsibility for CEW training to individual independent municipal police departments (Submission
from Police Services Division, Policing and Community Safety Branch).
4 Agency Use-of-Force Policy states that “each officer will be required to qualify at least annually with any firearm or other weapon that the
officer is authorized to use.” Presumably this includes the CEW; however, there is no specific mention/policy of CEW.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX F

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Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX G

Use of Conducted Energy
Weapons by Municipal Police
Agencies in British Columbia,
1998–2007
___________________________________
This review of 1,404 reported incidents of conducted energy weapon
(CEW) usage by independent municipal police in British Columbia
includes descriptions of subject characteristics and behaviours, incident
type and location, mode of CEW deployment, use of other force options,
subject and officer injuries, arrest status, policy compliance, and public
complaints.

Prepared for the Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., Commissions of Inquiry
by Karen A. Ryan
October 30, 2008

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX G

Table of Contents
LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................. 459
INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 460
METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................ 460
CONTEXT....................................................................................................................... 461
RESULTS......................................................................................................................... 463
Subject Characteristics..................................................................................................................... 467
Type of Incident................................................................................................................................ 470
Location of Incident .......................................................................................................................... 472
Subject Behaviours/Actions............................................................................................................. 473
Weapons ........................................................................................................................................... 475
Nature of CEW Deployment.......................................................................................................... 476
Use of the CEW in Display Mode .............................................................................................. 480
Use of the CEW in Stun Mode .................................................................................................... 480
Use of the CEW in Probe Mode ................................................................................................. 482
Use of the CEW in Stun and Probe Modes .............................................................................. 484
Subject Behaviour and the Use of Conducted Energy Weapons............................................ 485
Use of Other Force Options ........................................................................................................... 487
Injuries and Medical Attention ....................................................................................................... 489
Arrest .................................................................................................................................................. 490
Policy Compliance ............................................................................................................................ 491
Public Complaints Related to Police Use of CEWs .................................................................... 495
Conclusions......................................................................................................................................... 496
APPENDIX 1: CEW INCIDENT FILE REVIEW CODING FORM .......................................... 498

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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: First Implementation of CEWs by Agency by Year..........................................................462
Table 2: Inventory of CEWs by Agency by Year ...........................................................................462
Table 3: Authorized Strength by Year, 1998 to 2006.................................................................463
Table 4: Number of CEW Incidents by Year....................................................................................464
Table 5: Number of CEW Incidents by Agency, 1998–2007 ......................................................465
Table 6: Number of CEW Incidents by Year in Departments with Most Frequent
CEW Usage ...........................................................................................................................................466
Table 7: Per Capita CEW Use by Municipal Jurisdiction 2001, 2006 ......................................467
Table 8: Subject Age by Age Group, Independent Municipal Police............................................468
Table 9: Subject Race or Ethnicity ......................................................................................................469
Table 10: Type of Incident ..................................................................................................................471
Table 11: Subject Behaviours/Actions...............................................................................................474
Table 12: Nature of CEW Use by Agency .......................................................................................477
Table 13: Stun Mode Only CEW Use by Agency............................................................................478
Table 14: Probe Mode Only CEW Use by Agency.........................................................................479
Table 15: Number of Times Stun Mode Used by Independent Police Agencies vs. RCMP ........481
Table 16: Average, Minimum, and Maximum Stun Deployments by Agency..............................481
Table 17: Average, Minimum, and Maximum Probe Cycles by Agency......................................483
Table 18: Frequency of Stun and Probe Mode Deployments by Agency.....................................484
Table 19: Method of CEW Use by Highest Level of Subject Resistance ......................................486
Table 20: Method of CEW Use Against Alcohol or Drug Intoxicated Subjects..........................487
Table 21: Use of Other Intervention Methods or Use-of-Force Options in Conjunction
with CEW Use........................................................................................................................................488
Table 22: Paramedic Examination of Subject at Scene of Incident by Agency...........................490
Table 23: Public Complaints Related to Police Use of CEWs by Agency, 2001 to 2007 .......495

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INTRODUCTION
Phase One (the “Study Commission”) of the Braidwood, Q.C., Commissions of Inquiry sought to
answer some basic questions about the use of conducted energy weapons (CEWs) by
independent municipal police agencies in British Columbia. Early in its mandate the Study
Commission learned that beyond simple counts of CEW usage, no comprehensive details of the
characteristics, circumstances, and outcomes of CEW use had been compiled. Therefore, in
partial fulfillment of its mandate to “inquire into and report on the use of conducted energy
weapons” by “constables of police forces in British Columbia, other than the RCMP,” the
Commission undertook the CEW incident file review project.

METHODOLOGY
In April and May 2008, requests were sent to each of the 11 independent municipal police
departments,257 plus two tribal police agencies258 and the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority
Police Service,259 asking for “CEW incident reports” dating from when the department first
equipped its members with CEWs to the present. Each department was also asked to provide
information about when CEWs were first acquired by the agency and inventory information
about the number of CEWs initially and subsequently acquired.
In order to facilitate and expedite the release of documents to the Commission, Sharon
Samuels, Research Counsel, negotiated and signed confidentiality agreements with each of the
independent police agencies that ensured that the privacy of individuals involved in CEW
incidents (both police and civilians) would be safeguarded by the Commission.
For some departments these requests posed a significant challenge in identifying and
retrieving incident reports related to CEW usage. 260 Incident reports were identified through
multiple database, location, and manual searches. After the initial delivery of documents,
several departments identified additional reports by searching for different spellings of key
words (such as taser/tazer).261
Incident information was provided in four main formats: control tactic reports, use-of-force
reports, subject behaviour/officer response reports, and general occurrence reports. In some
cases, more than one type of report (such as a use-of-force report and a general occurrence
report) was provided. General occurrence reports were requested from some departments
when it was determined that the use-of-force reports initially provided did not contain enough
information, in particular a narrative or synopsis of the event, about the circumstances of the
incident for the purposes of this analysis.
257 Abbotsford, Central Saanich, Delta, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Saanich,

Vancouver, Victoria, and West Vancouver.
258 Only one of these agencies, the Kitasoo Tribal Police (comprised of a single RCMP officer under
contract), had used the CEW. The Stl’Atl’Imx Tribal Police reported no CEW usage.
259 Originally known as the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority Police Service this agency is now known
as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service “GVTAPS or Transit Authority.”
260 Although West Vancouver adopted the CEW in 2001, the department could not locate any CEW
incident reports from 2004 and did not know whether there were or were not any CEW incidents in that
year. Other departments reported that a few early files had been purged from their systems and no
reports could be provided.
261 Notably, among the last reports to be provided, following several inquiries and reminders, were those
related to two fatalities associated with CEW use in Vancouver. Additional reports that had not previously
been acknowledged were found in the possession of specialized units such as the VPD Emergency Response
Team.
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A coding form (see Appendix 1) was developed to capture information about subject
characteristics and behaviours, incident type and location, mode of CEW deployment, use of
other force options, subject and officer injuries, arrest status, and policy compliance. The form
was modified somewhat following the coding of approximately 100 incident files. File coding
was completed in early September 2008.262
For the purposes of this research the unit of analysis was defined as “the use of a CEW on an
individual during a single event.” If the police incident report(s) described the use of the CEW
on more than one subject during a single event a “CEW Incident File Review Coding Form”
was completed for each subject and would be counted as multiple instances of CEW use.
The period covered by this review is from December 1998 (when the first use of CEWs
occurred during pilot testing of the weapon in Victoria) through to the end of 2007. Some
departments provided reports from early in 2008; however, these incidents were excluded
from the analysis in order to have a consistent study end date for all agencies.
CEW incident information relating to BC, including incident reports and summaries, was also
requested from the RCMP in April 2008; however, a CD-ROM disk containing incident reports
was not provided until July 31, 2008, after the Commission had notified the RCMP that the
request was being withdrawn due to the inability of the Commission to adequately review
these incidents given the time remaining in its Part 1 mandate. Summary information for the
entire period of interest was never provided. Fortunately, the Commission for Public
Complaints Against the RCMP agreed to reanalyze the RCMP CEW incident database in its
possession to provide statistics for BC (“E” Division) for the period January 1, 2002, to
January 19, 2008.263 Where available these CPC figures have been used to compare RCMP
CEW usage with the results obtained from the review of independent municipal police agency
incidents.

CONTEXT
The following tables provide context for the use of CEWs by independent police agencies.
Contextual features include when CEWs were first adopted for use, CEW inventory
information, authorized strength figures, and population data for each jurisdiction.

262 Significant research assistance was provided by Jennifer B. Morgan, who completed much of the file

coding and provided general research support.
263 Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “Statistical Analysis of

RCMP CEW Usage Reports for British Columbia,” (September 2008).
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APPENDIX G

Table 1: First Implementation of CEWs by Agency by Year
Agency
Year
Abbotsford

2000

Central Saanich

2001

Delta

2001

Transit Authority

2007

Kitasoo Tribal

2006

Nelson

2001

New Westminster

2000

Oak Bay

1999

Port Moody

2001

Saanich

2000

Vancouver

2000

Victoria

1998

West Vancouver

2001

Table 2: Inventory of CEWs by Agency by Year
Agency
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Abbotsford

3

3

18

18

25

25

29

30

Central Saanich

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

Delta

3

15

19

23

26

30

34

Transit Authority

20

Nelson
New Westminster
Oak Bay

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

3

3

3

9

9

15

15

15

1

3

3

3

4

4

4

4

2

2

2

2

2

6

4

3

3

3

3

3

7

8

8

40

40

40

40

40

95

95

95

4

4

4

4

14

12

15

30

2

5

5

5

5

5

6

Port Moody
Saanich
Vancouver
Victoria
West Vancouver

1

4

Note: Counts are per year and are not cumulative.

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Table 3: Authorized Strength by Year, 1998 to 2006
Agency
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Abbotsford
Central Saanich
Delta

2003

2004

2005

2006

137

138

143

148

153

158

173

187

195

21

21

21

21

21

21

21

21

21

138

138

138

143

139

141

145

151

151

75

75

GVTAPS
Nelson

17

17

17

17

17

17

17

17

17

105

110

111

106

106

106

107

107

107

Oak Bay

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

Port Moody

30

31

30

30

32

34

36

40

40

133

133

136

138

141

141

144

147

147

1149

1130

1066

1096

1096

1124

1124

1174

1214

206

207

211

218

216

211

211

215

221

77

77

77

77

77

77

79

79

79

New Westminster

Saanich
Vancouver
Victoria
West Vancouver

Note: Authorized strength refers to authorized police strength as of December 31 of each
calendar year and includes sworn members and sworn civilian members assigned to a
department. All figures for municipal police agencies provided in the Police Services Division
report, Police Resources in British Columbia, 2006. For all years the authorized strength
figures for Victoria include Esquimalt members although the amalgamation of the Esquimalt
Police Department with the Victoria department did not occur until 2003. For the years 1998
through 2002, Esquimalt’s authorized strength was 28, 29, 33, 34, and 32, respectively.
Figures for 2007 are not yet available, according to the Police Services Division. GVTAPS
figures were provided by GVTAPS.
Population statistics for census years 2001 and 2006 for each municipal jurisdiction are
provided in Table 7 along with per capita CEW use information.

RESULTS
A total of 1,404264 CEW incidents were reported by the independent police agencies during
the period 1998 through 2007. The frequency of CEW use has seen a steady increase since
the device was introduced in BC, beginning with Victoria in December 1998. All of the
municipal police agencies had equipped their members with CEWs by the end of 2001. In
addition, as evident in Table 6, increased frequency of usage has occurred within
departments and cannot be attributed to the adoption of CEWs by more departments over
time.
During the period January 1, 2002, to January 19, 2008, RCMP members in British Columbia
used the CEW on 1,466 occasions.
264 NB: The commissioner’s report separates the analysis of 1,397 municipal police department incidents,

six Greater Vancouver Transit Authority Police Service incidents, and one Kitasoo Tribal Police incident.
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APPENDIX G

Table 4: Number of CEW Incidents by Year
Year
Number of CEW
Incidents
1998

1

1999

6

2000

50

2001

54

2002

77

2003

102

2004

223

2005

269

2006

314

2007

308

Total

1404

Table 5 presents the number of reported CEW incidents for each agency.265 Nearly one-half
of all incidents occurred in Victoria (48.3%), just over one in five occurred in Vancouver
(21.2%), slightly more than one in eight incidents were reported in New Westminster (13.9%),
and approximately one in 15 took place in Abbotsford (6.9%). The number of CEW incidents
by year for these four departments is listed in Table 6. These departments with the most
frequent use of CEWs show the same pattern of year-over-year increase in CEW usage, and
all had equipped their members with CEWs by 2001. Nine agencies contributed less than 5
per cent each to the total number of CEW incidents.

265 Note that agency reporting requirements differ somewhat and to an unknown degree the number of

reported CEW incidents will reflect the diligence with which the agency enforces mandatory reporting
requirements.
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Table 5: Number of CEW Incidents by Agency, 1998–2007
Agency
Number of CEW
Per centage
Incidents
Abbotsford

97

6.9

5

0.4

45

3.2

GVTAPS

6

0.4

Kitasoo Tribal

1

0.1

Nelson

3

0.2

195

13.9

Oak Bay

7

0.5

Port Moody

8

0.6

43

3.1

Vancouver

297

21.2

Victoria

678

48.3

19

1.4

1404

100.0

Central Saanich
Delta

New Westminster

Saanich

West Vancouver
Total

With reference to Table 6 below, part of the increase in the number of New Westminster
incidents between 2005 and 2006 is accounted for by an increase in reported incidents in
which the CEW was displayed only (with no stun or probe deployment). In 2005, none of the
26 incidents were display only while in 2006, 17 of 65 incidents (26%),266 and in 2007, 36 of
80 incidents (45%) were display only. Nevertheless, CEW usage in stun or probe modes
increased 69.2 per cent between 2005 and 2007.
The dramatic increase in the number of incidents in Victoria from 2003 and 2004 is not due to
an increase in display-only usage of the CEW. In 2003, 16 of 56 incidents (28.6%) were
display only267 while in 2004, the proportion was 24.6 per cent (32268 of 130 incidents), and
in 2005, the proportion fell to 16.3 per cent (22 of 135 incidents).

266 In an additional two incidents, the subject was warned only and the CEW was not used in any other

manner (display, stun, or probe).
267 An additional one incident involved a warning only, with no other CEW usage.
268 An additional two incidents involved warnings only, with no other CEW usage.
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Table 6: Number of CEW Incidents by Year in Departments with Most Frequent CEW
Usage
Abbotsford
New
Vancouver
Victoria
Year
Westminster
1998

1

1999

6

2000

2

2001

2

2002

18

30

3

16

32

5

1

20

51

2003

11

4

21

56

2004

9

16

49

130

2005

17

26

54

135

2006

28

65

66

124

2007

23

80

53

113

Total

97

195

297

678

Note: Initial year of implementation may represent a partial year.
With reference to the number of CEW units in the inventory of Abbotsford, New Westminster,
Vancouver, and Victoria, in 2007 the ratio of incidents to CEW units ranged from a low of
0.56:1 in Vancouver, through 0.77:1 in Abbotsford and 3.77:1 in Victoria, to a high of 5.33:1
in Abbotsford.
Table 7 presents the number of CEW incidents per capita (per 100,000 population) for each
of the municipal jurisdictions in the census years 2001 and 2006. Every jurisdiction shows an
increased per capita rate of CEW use from 2001 to 2006. In 2006, the rate of CEW
incidents per capita is notably very high in both Victoria and New Westminster at 130.7
incidents and 111 incidents per 100,000 population, respectively.

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1.7

28

123,864

22.6

Central Saanich

0

15,348

0

3

15,745

19.1

Delta

0

96,950

0

5

96,723

5.2

Nelson

0

9,318

0

1

9,258

10.8

New Westminster

3

54,656

5.5

65

58,549

111.0

Oak Bay

0

17,798

0

2

17,908

11.2

Port Moody

0

23,816

0

2

27,512

7.3

Saanich

1

103,654

.96

13

108,265

12.0

Vancouver

16

545,671

2.9

66

578,041

11.4

Victoria

32

74,125

43.2

124

94,897

130.7

0

41,421

0

4

42,131

9.5

West Vancouver

# of Incidents
per 100,000
Population

115,494

Population

# of CEW
Incidents

2

Agency

Population

Abbotsford

# of CEW
Incidents

# of Incidents
per 100,000
Population

Table 7: Per Capita CEW Use by Municipal Jurisdiction 2001, 2006
2001
2006

Note: Population statistics for 2001 from: Statistics Canada, 2001 Community Profiles. (2002).
Population statistics for 2006 from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Community Profiles. (2007). In
2003, the Esquimalt Police Department was amalgamated with the Victoria Police
Department. The figure given for the 2006 population of Victoria includes 16,840 Esquimalt
residents.

Subject Characteristics
The vast majority of subjects involved in incidents in which a CEW was used were male. Of
the 1,404 reported incidents, males were the subject of 1,285 (91.5%) incidents and females
the subject of 101 (7.2%) incidents. In the remaining 18 incidents it was not possible to
determine the gender of the subject from the police report(s) provided. The predominance of
male subjects was true for all agencies and also consistent with RCMP use of CEWs in British
Columbia (91.2% male and 8.8% female).
The average age of subjects was 32.7 years, with a minimum age of 13269 (Delta, New
Westminster, and Victoria) and a maximum age of 84 (Victoria). Within agencies, average
age varied from a low of 29 years (Central Saanich and Oak Bay) to a high of 34.7 years
(West Vancouver). The average age of subjects of RCMP use of CEWs in BC was nearly
identical at 32.9 years.
269 Five subjects were as young as 13; however, in four of these cases the CEW was displayed only. In the

fifth case, the 13 year old was exposed to two cycles of probe deployment.
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APPENDIX G

Table 8: Subject Age by Age Group, Independent Municipal Police
Age Group
Frequency
Per centage
10 to 19

96

7.2

20 to 24

245

18.4

25 to 29

247

18.5

30 to 34

212

15.9

35 to 39

198

14.8

40 to 44

155

11.6

45 to 49

94

7.0

50 to 54

41

3.1

55 to 59

21

1.6

60 to 64

13

1.0

65 to 69

6

0.4

70 to 74

2

0.1

75 to 79

2

0.1

80 and over

3

0.2

1335

100.0

Total

Note: Subject age was unknown in 69 cases.
Information about the subject’s size was known in 937 cases (66.7%) – either because the
report included details about the subject’s height and weight or because the subject’s size was
specifically noted in the synopsis of the incident (usually when the subject was notably large or
small). Of these 937 cases, subjects were medium or average size in 709 (75.7%) cases,
large in 167 (17.8%) cases, and small in 61 (6.5%) cases.
The race or ethnicity of the subjects involved in CEW incidents was noted in 1,133 cases. With
reference to these cases, three-quarters (74.8%) involved Caucasian subjects. The distribution
of race or ethnicity varied somewhat across agencies, with Vancouver cases involving a lower
per centage of Caucasian subjects and a greater diversity among other racial or ethnic
groups. In contrast, Victoria cases involved a higher per centage of Caucasian subjects and
less racial or ethnic diversity. A complete list of subject race or ethnicity for all cases and for
cases involving the four agencies with the most frequent CEW use is provided in Table 9.
The overall rate of involvement of Aboriginal people in CEW incidents at 12.7 per cent is
notably higher than their representation in the population as a whole. According to the 2001
census Aboriginal people represented 4.4 per cent of British Columbia’s total population.270
In 2006, Aboriginal people accounted for 4.8 per cent of the total population of the

270 2001 population statistics for British Columbia and for the four jurisdictions from: Statistics Canada,

2001 Census Aboriginal Population Profiles.
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APPENDIX G

province.271 In Abbotsford 8.6 per cent of CEW incidents involved Aboriginal people while
their representation in Abbotsford’s population was 2.2 per cent in 2001 and 2.9 per cent in
2006. In New Westminster Aboriginal people were involved in 10.6 per cent of CEW
incidents while they represented 2.9 per cent (2001) and 3.1 per cent (2006) of New
Westminster’s population. Aboriginal people made up 1.9 per cent (2001 and 2006) of
Vancouver’s population while 16.5 per cent of Vancouver’s CEW incidents involved Aboriginal
people. In Victoria, Aboriginal people accounted for 2.9 per cent and 3.6 per cent of
Victoria’s population in 2001 and 2006 respectively while 13.2 per cent of CEW incidents in
Victoria involved Aboriginal people.

Victoria

%

Total

%

%

%

Vancouver
Total

New
Westminster
Total

Abbotsford
Total

Total

Race or
Ethnicity

Per cent of
Total

Table 9: Subject Race or Ethnicity

Caucasian

848

74.8

64

79.0

69

66.3

156

61.4

471

80.8

Aboriginal

144

12.7

7

8.6

11

10.6

42

16.5

77

13.2

Asian

35

3.1

0

0

4

3.8

16

6.3

13

2.2

Black

33

2.9

0

0

10

9.6

11

4.3

10

1.7

South
Asian

32

2.8

9

11.1

4

3.8

5

2.0

4

0.7

Hispanic

19

1.7

1

1.2

1

1.0

13

5.1

3

0.5

Middle
Eastern

13

1.1

0

0.0

0

0.0

9

3.5

3

0.5

Other

9

0.8

0

0

5

4.8

2

0.7

2

0.3

Total

1133

100.0

81

104

100.0

254

100.0

583

100.0

100.0

Note: Subject race or ethnicity was unknown in 271 cases, including 16 Abbotsford cases, 91
New Westminster cases, 43 Vancouver cases, and 95 Victoria cases.
Census figures for visible minority groups for each jurisdiction were not readily available;
however, in 2006 Chinese people represented 10 per cent of the province’s total population
and South Asian people represented 6.4 per cent. In Abbotsford 16.3 per cent of its total
population reported belonging to the South Asian visible minority group.272
In 135 of the 1,404 cases (9.6%) the report(s) provided by the police agencies indicated that
the subject of the CEW incident had a history of mental illness known to police prior to the
271 2006 population statistics for British Columbia and for the four jurisdictions from: Statistics Canada,

2006 Census Aboriginal Population Profiles.
272 All figures in this paragraph from: Statistics Canada, Canada’s Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census.

(Catalogue no. 97-562).
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APPENDIX G

incident. This per centage was more than tripled in Delta (14 of 45 cases, or 31.1%) and
nearly doubled in Abbotsford (18 of 97 cases, or 18.6%). The proportion of cases where a
subject history of mental illness was known to police prior to the incident was somewhat higher
than the overall rate of 9.6% in West Vancouver (three of 19 cases, or 15.8%), Oak Bay
(one of seven cases, or 14.3%), Vancouver (40 of 297 cases, or 13.5%), Port Moody (one of
eight cases, or 12.5%), and Saanich (five of 43 cases, or 11.6%). However, the rate was
somewhat lower in Victoria (48 of 678 cases, 7.1%) and much lower in New Westminster (five
of 195 cases, or 2.6%). None of the incidents involving the police agencies of Central
Saanich, Nelson, Kitasoo Tribal, or GVTAPS reportedly concerned subjects with a history of
mental illness known to police prior to the incident.
A subject history of violent behaviour known to police prior to the incident was noted in the
police report(s) provided for 138 of the 1,404 cases (9.8%).
The presence of a pre-existing medical condition among the subjects of CEW use was very
rarely (1.9%) noted in the information provided by the police agencies. The most commonly
reported conditions were brain injuries (five cases), diabetes (five cases), hepatitis C (three
cases), and seizure disorders (three cases). Two subjects had asthma and two subjects were
physically disabled and confined to wheelchairs.

Type of Incident
The type of incident to which police responded is listed in Table 10. It should be noted that
the dispatch information does not always represent the actual situation facing the officers
dispatched. For example, although 99 calls described a “person with knife,” in 16 of these
cases (16.2%) the subject was unarmed when police arrived (78 subjects were armed with an
edged weapon and five were otherwise armed). Similarly, on arrival for a “person with gun”
call, none of the subjects had a gun in their possession (one was otherwise armed with a
“pointed” weapon). At the same time, regardless of the type of call police were dispatched
to attend, officers were faced with a subject armed with an edged weapon 187 times and
with a firearm five times. Weapons in the possession of subjects when police arrived will be
discussed in more detail below.

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Table 10: Type of Incident
Type of Incident

Frequency
(N=1404)

Per centage

Suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious behaviour

277

19.7

Violence/threat of violence to others (fight)

239

17.0

Disturbance

215

15.3

Drug/alcohol intoxication

173

12.3

Emotionally disturbed person

150

10.7

Domestic disturbance/violence

138

9.8

Patrol observes infraction

107

7.6

Person with knife

99

7.1

Assault

95

6.8

Suspicious person(s)

54

3.8

Break and enter

50

3.6

Serve warrant

50

3.6

Mental health worker assist

46

3.3

Theft

37

2.6

Paramedic assist

33

2.4

Destruction of property

30

2.1

Public assist

29

2.1

Mischief

27

1.9

Robbery

26

1.9

Motor vehicle theft

24

1.7

Police officer assist

22

1.6

Drug offence

21

1.5

Impaired driving

21

1.5

Motor vehicle accident

20

1.4

Unknown

15

1.1

Person with gun

13

0.9

Hit and run (MVA)

7

0.5

Trespassing

6

0.4

Barricade

5

0.4

Possession of stolen property

2

0.1

Child welfare assist (apprehension)

1

0.1

Incomplete 911 call

1

0.1

Note: Up to two incident type descriptions were possible for each case.

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There was some variation from the pattern shown above in the distribution of incident types
within individual departments. Among the four agencies with the most frequent CEW use:
•

•

•

•

Abbotsford had much higher proportions of disturbance incidents (23 of 97 cases, or
23.7%) and also of domestic disturbance/violence incidents (24 of 97 cases, or
24.7%) but lower proportions of violence/threatened violence (fight) incidents (10 of
97 cases, or 10.3%), suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious behaviour incidents (15 of
97 cases, or 15.5%), drug/alcohol intoxication incidents (eight of 97 cases, or 8.2%),
and emotionally disturbed person incidents (eight of 97 cases, or 8.2%).
New Westminster had much higher proportions of emotionally disturbed person
incidents (29 of 195 cases, or 14.9%) and also of assault incidents (21 of 195 cases,
or 10.8%) but lower rates of violence/threatened violence (fight) incidents (21 of 195
cases, or 10.8%), suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious behaviour incidents (10 of 195
cases, or 5.1%), drug/alcohol intoxication incidents (17 of 195 cases, or 8.7%), and
disturbance incidents (11 of 195 cases, or 5.6%).
Vancouver had much higher rates of emotionally disturbed person incidents (47 of
297 cases, or 15.8%) and also of person with knife incidents (36 of 297 cases, or
12.1%) but lower proportions of incidents involving suicide attempt/threat/selfinjurious behaviour (41 of 297 cases, or 13.8%) and drug/alcohol intoxication (28 of
297 cases, or 9.4%).
Victoria had higher rates of disturbance incidents (128 of 678 cases, or 18.9%) and
also of incidents observed by officers on patrol (74 of 678 cases, or 10.9%) but
lower rates of incidents involving suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious behaviour (49
of 678 cases, or 7.2%) and emotionally disturbed persons (48 of 678 cases, or
7.1%).

The distribution of incident types for RCMP CEW usage in BC is similar to the overall
distribution of incident types among independent police agencies in BC with the following
exceptions:
•
•
•
•

The RCMP rate of mental health calls at 14.7% was higher than for the independent
police agencies (10.7%).
The RCMP rate of cause disturbance calls at 18.4% was somewhat higher than for the
independent police agencies (15.3%).
The RCMP rate of suicidal person calls at 4.9% was much lower than for the
independent police agencies (19.7%).
The RCMP rate of non-firearm weapons calls at 5.3% was somewhat lower than for
the independent police agencies person with knife calls (7.1%).

The time of day of the CEW incident was known in 1,291 or 92 per cent of cases. Of these
cases, two-thirds (67.5%) occurred during evening or nighttime hours (6 p.m. and 6 a.m.). The
prevalence of CEW use during nighttime hours is consistent with RCMP CEW use figures.

Location of Incident
Incidents in which the CEW was used most frequently occurred on the street (527 incidents or
37.5%) followed by a residence (476 incidents or 33.9%).273 The third most frequent location
273 This figure includes 54 incidents that occurred in residential hotels or “single room occupancy”

residences.
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APPENDIX G

of CEW incidents was police cells (105 cases, or 7.8%), followed by businesses other than
bars and night clubs (65 cases, or 4.6%) and outside of bars and nightclubs (65 cases, or
4.6%). Thirty-seven incidents (or 2.6%) occurred in hospitals.
Some variation from this overall pattern of location of CEW use exists within the four
departments with the most frequent use of the CEW:
• Abbotsford recorded a much higher rate of incidents in hospitals (seven cases, or
7.2%) and in businesses other than bars or night clubs (nine cases, or 9.3%) and a
somewhat higher rate of incidents occurring on the street (39 cases, or 40.2%) or in
residences (37 cases, or 38.1%). Abbotsford recorded a much smaller proportion
than the overall rate of incidents occurring in police cells (two cases, or 2.1%).
• CEW incidents in New Westminster were much less likely to occur in a residence (41
cases, or 21%) but more likely to occur on the street (90 cases, or 46.2%).
• In Vancouver, nearly one-half of CEW incidents occurred in residences (141 cases, or
47.5%) and were also more likely to occur outside bars or night clubs (21 cases, or
7.1%). Somewhat fewer incidents occurred elsewhere on the street (97 cases, or
32.7%) or in hospitals (one case, or 0.3%) and none reportedly occurred in police
cells.
• In Victoria, CEW incidents were much less likely to occur in residences (185 cases, or
27.3%) and more likely to occur in police cells (84 cases, or 12.4%). An additional
14 cases (2.1%) occurred elsewhere in the police station.
The location of the incident was not available with respect to RCMP CEW use.

Subject Behaviours/Actions
Incident descriptions, narratives and synopses of events recorded in the report(s) provided by
the police agencies were used to extract the characteristics of subject behaviours or actions as
observed by police members on the scene of the CEW use incident. Levels of resistance as
outlined in the National Use of Force Framework were supplemented with other descriptors of
subject behaviour as noted in the police report(s). Table 11 lists the frequency that these
behaviours or actions were observed and noted by police members. Behaviour categories,
including levels of resistance, are not mutually exclusive. This means, for example, that in an
incident in which the subject’s behaviour is initially passively resistant to police direction but
escalates to active resistance, both passive resistance and active resistance is recorded.
Analysis of method of CEW use in the context of the highest level of resistance displayed by
the subject is presented in a later section of this report.

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Table 11: Subject Behaviours/Actions
Subject Behaviours/Actions

Frequency
(N=1404)

Per centage

Cooperative/compliant to directions

100

7.1

Passive resistance274

108

7.7

Agitated

210

15.0

Pacing

19

1.4

Yelling

340

24.2

60

4.3

Verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression

322

22.9

Alcohol/drug intoxication

867

61.8

14

1.0

1

0.1

49

3.5

1020

72.6

Assaultive276

691

49.2

Violence/threatened violence to police

160

11.4

Violence/threatened violence to self

132

9.4

Violence/threatened violence to others

111

7.9

Threatened suicide by cop scenario

51

3.6

Grievous bodily harm or death277

19

1.4

Officer assaulted

66

4.7

Smashing property

Symptoms of “excited delirium”
Symptoms of drug overdose
Symptoms of drug induced psychosis
Active resistance275

Note: Each incident may contain multiple (not mutually exclusive) descriptors of subject
behaviour/actions (including levels of resistance).
Subject behaviour characteristics differed somewhat from the overall pattern for the four
agencies with the most numerous CEW incidents. Among these agencies notable differences
included:

274 Passive resistance is defined as refusal, with little or no physical action, to cooperate; refusal to show

hands.
275 Active resistance is defined as non-assaultive physical action to resist; e.g., pulling away.
276 Assaultive is defined as attempts to apply or application of force to any person; kicking, punching,

threatening acts or gestures, aggressive body language, “pre-assault cues.”
277 Grievous bodily harm or death is defined as actions intended to or likely to cause grievous bodily harm
or death; assault with weapon; actions that would result in serious injury to any person; actions that warrant
use of deadly force.
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APPENDIX G

•

•

•

•

In Abbotsford subject behaviours were characterized by much higher rates of agitated
behaviour (22.7%), verbal abuse/threats/aggression (37.1%), active resistance
(81.4%), violence or threatened violence to police (34%), grievous bodily harm or
death (7.2%), and officer assaulted (9.3%). Far fewer Abbotsford cases were
characterized by cooperative or compliant behaviour (1%) and alcohol and/or drug
intoxication (44.3%).
In New Westminster, passive resistance by the subject was much more common
(27.2%) than in the overall figures. Agitated behaviour (7.7%), yelling (9.2%), active
resistance (54.4%), assaultive behaviour (41%), and violence or threatened violence
to police was much less common than in the overall figures.
In relation to Vancouver cases, subjects were much more likely to be described as
yelling (33.7%), and somewhat more likely to be described as cooperative (11.4%),
smashing property (7.4%), displaying symptoms of drug induced psychosis (7.1%),
and threatening a suicide by cop scenario (5.7%). The Vancouver cases were
somewhat less likely to involve passive resistance (4%) and assaultive behaviour
(44.1%).
A far smaller proportion of subjects in the Victoria cases displayed passive resistance
to police direction (1.3%) and a somewhat smaller proportion of subjects were violent
or threatened violence toward police. In a much higher proportion of the Victoria
cases, subject behaviour was described as actively resistant (80.4%).

For the most part, information about subject behaviour was not available with respect to
RCMP CEW incidents. The single exception concerned the involvement of substance use, in
relation to which the RCMP CEW incidents involved a much higher rate than was evidenced in
the independent police agency data. Of the 1,466 RCMP CEW incidents in BC, 1,202 (82%)
reportedly involved the use of substances (including alcohol and drugs) while alcohol and/or
drug intoxication was noted in 61.8 per cent of independent police agency incidents.

Weapons
Approximately one in five CEW incidents (275 of 1,404 cases, or 19.6%) involved a subject
armed with some type of weapon. The rate of weapons involvement was considerably higher
for the RCMP CEW use incidents at 34.7 per cent.
In comparison to the overall pattern there was notable variation in the proportion of CEW
incidents involving armed subjects within the various independent police agencies. Armed
subjects were involved in:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

over one-quarter (26 of 97 cases, or 26.8%) of Abbotsford incidents
one of the five (20%) Central Saanich cases
over one-quarter (13 of 45 cases, or 28.9%) of Delta incidents
one of the three (33.3%) Nelson cases
one in 10 (19 of 195 cases, or 9.7%) New Westminster incidents
three of the seven (42.9%) Oak Bay cases
two of the eight (25%) Port Moody cases
five of the 43 (11.6%) Saanich incidents
nearly one-third (91 of 297 cases, or 30.6%) of Vancouver incidents
one in six (109 of 678 cases, or 16.1%) Victoria cases
five of the 19 (26.3%) West Vancouver cases
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APPENDIX G

None of the six Transit Authority Police Service cases involved an armed subject. The single
Kitasoo CEW incident also did not involve an armed subject.
The majority (68%) of the 275 subjects who were armed with some type of weapon were in
possession of an edged weapon (such as a knife, glass, scissors, or hatchet) when police
arrived on the scene. A blunt weapon (or something that was used as a blunt weapon), such
as a bat, hockey stick, pipe, hammer, was in the possession of 52 (18.9%) armed subjects.
Thirty-three armed subjects (12%) were in possession of a pointed weapon, such as a needle,
fork, or pickaxe. Five subjects (1.8%) were armed with a firearm. Four (1.5%) subjects were
armed with other types of weapons (such as pepper spray), and in two cases (0.7%) subjects
used a dog as a weapon against police.
Included in the totals given above, a handful of subjects were in possession of more than one
type of weapon when police arrived:
•
•
•

Five were armed with both an edged weapon and a blunt weapon.
Two were armed with both an edged weapon and a pointed weapon.
One was armed with both a firearm and an edged weapon.

Nature of CEW Deployment
In 297 (21.2%) of the 1,404 CEW incidents the subject was warned that a CEW might be
used if he or she failed to comply with police direction. In 12 of these cases (4%), the warning
was sufficient to gain compliance and no further use of the CEW was needed. In 84 cases
(28.3%) the warning was followed with a display of the CEW in an attempt to gain
compliance with no further use of the CEW. In 73 cases (24.6%) the warning was followed by
the application of the CEW in stun mode (also known as drive-stun mode) with or without an
attempt to gain compliance through display of the weapon and no further use of the CEW
was needed. In 104 cases (35%) the warning was followed by the deployment of the CEW in
probe mode only (with or without display of the weapon). In 23 cases (7.7%) the warning
was followed by the application of the weapon in both stun and probe modes (with or without
display of the weapon).
Table 12 below gives the frequencies with which the CEW was used in the various modes of
display, stun, and probe for each agency.

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APPENDIX G

Table 12: Nature of CEW Use by Agency
Display
Number of
Agency
CEW Use
Incidents
Total
%
Abbotsford

Stun

Probe

Total

%

Total

%

97

34

35.1

44

45.4

54

55.7

5

5

100.0

1

20.0

3

60.0

45

32

71.1

11

24.4

19

42.2

GVTAPS

6

4

66.7

2

33.3

4

66.7

Kitasoo Tribal

1

0

0.0

0

0.0

1

100.0

Nelson

3

0

0.0

0

0.0

3

100.0

195

96

49.6

75

38.5

85

43.6

Oak Bay

7

6

85.7

0

0.0

2

28.6

Port Moody

8

2

25.0

1

12.5

7

87.5

43

20

46.5

29

67.4

15

34.9

Vancouver

297

151

50.8

107

36.0

144

48.5

Victoria

678

238

35.1

301

44.4

239

35.3

19

11

57.9

7

36.8

11

57.9

1404

599

42.7

578

41.2

587

41.8

Central Saanich
Delta

New Westminster

Saanich

West Vancouver
Total

Note: The CEW may be used in more than one mode in any one incident. Use of the CEW in
display mode was unknown in four cases. Whether or not it was used in stun mode or probe
mode was unknown in 10 cases.
In comparison to CEW usage by the RCMP, the overall rate of stun mode use by the
independent municipal agencies is slightly lower at 41.2 per cent than that reported for the
RCMP (44.7%). Probe mode use is slightly higher among the independent municipal agencies
at 41.8 per cent than that reported for the RCMP (39.2%).
The CEW was used in display mode only (with no stun or probe mode usage) in
approximately one in five of the 1,404 cases (308 cases, or 21.9%). Such use was rare in
Saanich (one of 43 cases, or 2.3%) and Abbotsford (eight of 97 cases, or 8.2%), in the 20 to
30 percent range in Central Saanich (one of five cases, or 20%), Vancouver (61 of 297 cases,
20.5%), West Vancouver (four of 19 cases, or 21.1%), Victoria (155 of 678 cases, or
22.9%), and New Westminster (55 of 195 cases, or 28.2%), and more frequent in Delta (19
of 45 cases, or 42.2%) and Oak Bay (four of seven cases, or 57.1%).278
The overall rate of display-only usage among the independent police agencies is slightly
lower than that reported for the RCMP (24.6%).

278 Nelson, Port Moody, the Transit Authority, and the Kitasoo Tribal Police reported no such use of the

CEW.
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APPENDIX G

In just over one-quarter of incidents (400 cases, or 28.5%) the CEW was used in stun mode
only (with no display or probe usage). The rate of such usage by each agency is listed in
Table 13 below.
Table 13: Stun Mode Only CEW Use by Agency
Stun Mode Only
Number of
Agency
CEW Use
Total
%
Incidents
Abbotsford

97

28

28.9

5

0

0.0

45

4

8.9

GVTAPS

6

1

16.7

Kitasoo Tribal

1

0

0.0

Nelson

3

0

0.0

195

42

21.5

Oak Bay

7

0

0.0

Port Moody

8

1

12.5

43

18

41.9

Vancouver

297

62

20.9

Victoria

678

240

35.4

19

4

21.1

1404

400

28.5

Central Saanich
Delta

New Westminster

Saanich

West Vancouver
Total

A greater proportion of the RCMP CEW incidents involved the use of the CEW in stun mode
only at 36.2 per cent compared to the overall rate among the independent municipal police
agencies of 28.5 per cent.
In just under one-quarter of CEW incidents (323 cases, or 23%) the CEW was used in probe
mode only (with no display or stun mode usage). The rate of such usage by each agency is
depicted in Table 14 below.

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Table 14: Probe Mode Only CEW Use by Agency
Probe Mode Only
Number of
Agency
CEW Use
Total
%
Incidents
Abbotsford

97

30

30.9

5

0

0.0

45

5

11.1

GVTAPS

6

1

16.7

Kitasoo Tribal

1

1

100.0

Nelson

3

3

100.0

195

41

21.0

Oak Bay

7

0

0.0

Port Moody

8

5

62.5

43

5

11.6

Vancouver

297

73

24.6

Victoria

678

155

22.9

19

4

21.1

1404

323

23.0

Central Saanich
Delta

New Westminster

Saanich

West Vancouver
Total

In comparison with the RCMP CEW use figures, the rate of probe-mode-only usage among the
independent police agencies is somewhat lower at 23 per cent than the RCMP usage rate of
30.7 per cent.
The deployment of the CEW in both stun and probe mode (without display usage) occurred in
less than one in 20 incidents (59 of 1,404 cases, or 4.2%). This is lower than the comparable
rate of RCMP usage of both stun and probe mode of 8.5 per cent. Among the independent
municipal agencies the rate of use of the CEW in both stun and probe mode (without display
usage) ranged from lows of 3.4 per cent (10 of 297 cases) in Vancouver and 4 per cent (27
of 678 cases) in Victoria to highs of 5.2 per cent (five of 97 cases) in Abbotsford, 6.7 per cent
(three of 45 cases) in Delta, and 7.2 per cent (14 of 195 cases) in New Westminster. The
remaining independent agencies reported no such usage of the CEW in both stun and probe
modes.
In more than half of the 1,404 incidents (764 cases, or 54.4%) it was not possible to
determine from the police report(s) the model of CEW used. In relation to the remaining 640
cases, the TASER M26 was used in one-third (33.4%) and the TASER X26 was used in twothirds (66.6%). This pattern was reversed in relation to the RCMP CEW incidents with 73.9
per cent involving the TASER M26 and 26.1 per cent involving the TASER X26.

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APPENDIX G

The following four sections will review the more detailed results relating to display mode, stun
mode, probe mode, and combined stun and probe mode usage.
Use of the CEW in Display Mode
As previously reported, display of the CEW in the attempt to gain subject compliance was
present in 599, or 42.7 per cent, of the 1,404 CEW incidents. This type of use of the CEW
includes simple display of the weapon, “sparking” of the weapon, and targeting of the laser
sight on the subject.
In almost all instances (595 cases, or 99.3%) where the CEW was used in display mode,
display of the CEW was the first CEW method used to gain the subject’s compliance. In four
cases the CEW was used in this way after it had been used in probe mode. In one of these
four cases the CEW was used first in probe mode, was then displayed in an attempt to gain
compliance, and the subject was then exposed to the CEW in stun mode.
In most cases (578 cases, or 96.5%) one attempt to gain the subject’s compliance through the
display of the CEW occurred. In 18 cases (3%) two attempts were made to gain subject
compliance through this method and in a single case (0.2%) three attempts were made. In two
cases (0.3%) it was not known how many times the CEW was used in this mode.
In nearly half of incidents (284 of 599, or 47.4%) in which display compliance was attempted
the method was effective or ultimately effective (in the case of multiple attempts) in gaining
the subject’s compliance to police direction. This method was ineffective in 286 (47.7%) cases
and only temporarily effective in 28 (4.7%) cases.
Use of the CEW in Stun Mode
As previously reported, use of the CEW in stun mode occurred in 578 (41.2%) of the 1,404
CEW incidents.279 In nearly three-quarters of these cases (413, or 71.5%) use of CEW in stun
mode was the first method of CEW use. In nearly one-quarter of cases (137, or 23.7%) use
of the CEW in stun mode was the second method of CEW use (following 88 instances of
display and 49 instances of use of the CEW in probe mode). In 28 cases (4.8%) use of the
CEW in stun mode was the third option used, following use in both display and probe
modes.280
In over one-half of the 578 incidents (319 cases, or 55.2%) in which the CEW was used in stun
mode the subject was exposed to one stun deployment. In just over one-quarter of incidents
(151 cases, or 26.1%) the subject was exposed to two stun deployments. Three stun
deployments were used in 55 incidents (9.5%) and four deployments were used in 23 cases
(4%). Stun mode was used five times against five subjects (0.9%) and six times against five
subjects (0.9%). Four subjects (0.7%) were stunned eight times, and one subject (0.2%) was
stunned a total of 14 times. The number of stun deployments (but at least one) was unclear in
15 incidents (2.6%).
Table 15 below presents the number of times stun mode was used by the independent
municipal police agencies with comparable RCMP figures.
279 This rate has remained relatively stable over time, apart from 2000 when the rate was 12 per cent

and 2001 when the rate was 27.8 per cent. The rate jumped to 41.6 per cent in 2002, fell to 37.3 per cent
in 2003, was 41.7 per cent in 2004, rose to 49.8 per cent in 2005, fell to 42.7 per cent in 2006, and
dropped slightly to 40.9 per cent in 2007.
280 Order of use was display, probe, stun in 27 cases, and probe, display, stun in one case.
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APPENDIX G

Table 15: Number of Times Stun Mode Used by Independent Police Agencies vs. RCMP
Independent Agencies
RCMP (N=655)
(N=578)
Number of Times
Stun Mode Used
Total
%
Total
%
1

319

55.2

402

61.4

2

151

26.1

161

24.6

3

55

9.5

60

9.2

4

23

4.0

13

0.6

5+

15

2.6

19

2.9

Unknown

15

2.6

0

0.0

With respect to incidents involving the use of the CEW in stun mode, the overall average
number of stun deployments for the municipal departments was 1.7 times per incident with a
minimum of one and a maximum of 14. Table 16 below lists the averages, minimums, and
maximums for each of the municipal agencies that had incidents in which stun mode was used.
Table 16: Average, Minimum, and Maximum Stun Deployments by Agency
Average Number of
Minimum Number of
Maximum Number of
Agency
Stun Deployments
Stun Deployments
Stun Deployments
Abbotsford

1.6

1

6

2

2

2

2.5

1

8

1

1

1

1.8

1

6

Port Moody

2

2

2

Saanich

2

1

14

Vancouver

1.8

1

6

Victoria

1.7

1

8

West Vancouver

2.4

1

3

Central Saanich
Delta
GVTAPS
New Westminster

In relation to the 578 incidents in which stun mode was used, subjects were stunned more than
once in nearly half of all incidents (259 cases, or 44.8%). The proportion of incidents in which
stun mode was deployed multiple times varied from a low of 37.9 per cent (11 of 29 cases) in
Saanich to highs of 85.7 per cent (six of seven cases) in West Vancouver and 100 per cent in
Central Saanich and Port Moody, where the single cases where stun mode was used involved
multiple stun deployments.
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APPENDIX G

As a proportion of total incidents for the year, multiple stun deployments (that is, more than
one deployment against a subject during an incident) has remained relatively stable over
time. There were no incidents of multiple stun deployments in 1998 or 1999, two incidents
(4%) in 2000, 10 incidents (18.5%) in 2001, 22 incidents (28.6%) in 2002, 16 incidents
(15.7%) in 2003, 48 incidents (21.5%) in 2004, 50 incidents (18.6%) in 2005, 58 incidents
(18.5%) in 2006, and 53 incidents (17.2%) in 2007.
In one-third of stun use incidents (195 cases, or 33.7%) the location on the subject’s body
targeted by the stun deployment was not recorded in the police report(s). The most common
location for stun deployment was the subject’s back (28.9%), followed by the legs (9.7%),
shoulders (6.1%), side or ribs (5%), chest (4.3%), abdomen (3.5%), buttocks (2.8%), neck
(2.2%), arms (2.1%), and torso (1.6%). In one case the CEW was triggered against a metal
vent that the subject was touching, resulting in a shock to the subject.
In 24 cases (4.2%) the stun deployment was applied to the subject’s bare skin.
Use of the CEW in stun mode was effective (or ultimately effective in the case of multiple
stuns) in controlling the subject in 458 incidents (79.2%). The method was ineffective in 83
incidents (14.4%) and only temporarily effective in 24 incidents (4.2%). It was not possible to
determine the effectiveness of the stun deployment from the police report(s) in 13 cases
(2.2%).
Use of the CEW in Probe Mode
As previously reported, use of the CEW in probe mode occurred in 587 (41.8%) of the 1,404
CEW incidents.281 In two-thirds of these cases (390, or 66.4%) use of CEW in probe mode
was the first method of CEW use. In nearly one-third of cases (193, or 32.9%) use of the
CEW in probe mode was the second method of CEW use (following 182 instances of display
and 11 instances of use of the CEW in stun mode). In four cases (0.7%) use of the CEW in
probe mode was the third option used, following use in display and then stun modes.
In nearly two-thirds of the 587 incidents (378 cases, or 64.4%) in which the CEW was used in
probe mode the subject was exposed to one probe deployment. In almost one-quarter of
incidents (131 cases, or 22.3%) the subject was exposed to two probe cycles. Three probe
cycles were used in 40 incidents (6.8%) and four cycles were used in 14 cases (2.4%). Probe
mode was used five times against six subjects (1%) and six times against two subjects (0.3%).
The CEW in probe mode was cycled seven, eight, nine, and 10 times against one subject each
(0.2%). The number of probe cycles (but at least one) was unclear in 12 incidents (2%).
The rates of single and multiple cycles of probe engagement for the RCMP is similar to that
found for the independent municipal police agencies.
With respect to incidents involving the use of the CEW in probe mode, the overall average
number of probe cycles for the municipal departments was 1.6 times per incident with a
minimum of one and a maximum of 10. Table 17 below lists the averages, minimums, and
maximums for each of the municipal agencies that had incidents in which probe mode was
used.
281 As a proportion of incidents per year the rate of CEW use in probe mode has fallen gradually over

time. In 1998 the single case involved the use of the CEW in probe mode (100%). The rate was 66.7 per
cent in 1999, 56 per cent in 2000, 55.6 per cent in 2001, 46.8 per cent in 2002, 46.1 per cent in 2003,
40.8 per cent in 2004, 39.4 per cent in 2005, 40.8 per cent in 2006, and 37.7 per cent in 2007.
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Table 17: Average, Minimum, and Maximum Probe Cycles by Agency
Average Number
Minimum Number
Maximum Number
Agency
of Probe Cycles
of Probe Cycles
of Probe Cycles
Abbotsford

1.5

1

5

Central Saanich

1.3

1

2

Delta

1.5

1

3

GVTAPS

1

1

1

Kitasoo Tribal

1

1

1

Nelson

1.3

1

2

New Westminster

1.8

1

10

Port Moody

1.7

1

2

Saanich

1.4

1

3

Vancouver

1.5

1

6

Victoria

1.5

1

8

2

1

5

West Vancouver

In relation to the 587 incidents in which probe mode was used, subjects were exposed to more
than one probe cycle in over one-third of all incidents (209 cases, or 35.6%). The proportion
of incidents in which the subject was exposed to multiple probe cycles varied from lows of
33.3% in Abbotsford (18 of 54 cases), Central Saanich (one of three cases), Nelson (one of
three cases), and Saanich (five of 15 cases) to highs of 50 per cent (one of two cases) in Oak
Bay, 54.5 per cent (six of 11 cases) in West Vancouver, and 71.4 per cent (five of seven
cases) in Port Moody.
As a proportion of incidents by year, multiple probe cycles (that is, use of more than one cycle
against a subject during an incident in which probe mode was used) has fallen slightly over
time. There were two incidents (33.3%) in 1999, 12 incidents (24%) in 2000, nine incidents
(16.7%) in 2001, 14 incidents (18.2%) in 2002, 12 incidents (11.8%) in 2003, 36 incidents
(16.1%) in 2004, 39 incidents (14.5%) in 2005, 46 incidents (14.6%) in 2006, and 39
incidents (12.7%) in 2007.
Information about the distance the police officer was from the subject when the CEW probes
were fired was often (273 cases, or 46.5%) missing from the police report(s). In 80 per cent
of the remaining cases the CEW was deployed from a distance of between five and 15 feet.
The average deployment distance was 8.7 feet with a minimum distance of one foot and a
maximum distance of 22 feet.
The duration of the probe cycles was also often (50%) unknown from the information provided
in the police report(s). The most commonly (84.7% of the 294 known cases) noted duration
was five seconds (the default duration of a probe cycle). The minimum duration noted was
one second and the maximum was 40 seconds (eight continuous cycles).
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In one-fifth of probe use incidents (127 cases, or 21.6%) the location on the subject’s body hit
by the probe darts was not recorded in the police report(s). Among cases where the body
location was known, the most common location was the subject’s back (24.8%), followed by
the chest (21.7%), torso or “centre mass” (8.7%), chest and abdomen (8.3%), and abdomen
(5%). In six cases, one or more of the probe darts hit the subject in the neck or face.
In 18 cases (3.1%) the CEW was deployed in probe mode while the subject was in a
vulnerable position, such as on a rooftop or climbing a fence, and liable to fall when
incapacitated by the electrical shock.
In 44 cases (7.5%) the probe darts hit the subject’s bare skin.
Use of the CEW in probe mode was effective (or ultimately effective in the case of multiple
probe cycles) in controlling the subject in 393 incidents (67%). The method was ineffective in
135 incidents (23%) and only temporarily effective in 59 incidents (10.1%). In relation to the
194 cases where the probe deployment was ineffective or only temporarily effective, the
reason for the failure to control the subject was unknown in 71 cases (36.6%). The method
failed due to poor electrical conduction (usually due to thick clothing) in 69 cases (35.6%), one
or both of the probe darts missing or becoming dislodged in 47 cases (24.2%), and a
technical problem (such as the malfunction of the CEW or low battery power) occurring in
seven cases (3.6%).
One or both probe darts were embedded in the subject’s skin in 386 cases. In these cases the
dart(s) was/were removed by a hospital physician in 153 cases (39.6%), paramedics in 34
cases (8.8%), the subject in 32 cases (8.3%), and police in 10 cases (2.6%). Information
about dart removal was missing in 157 cases (40.7%).
Use of the CEW in Stun and Probe Modes
In 92 of the 1,404 (6.6%) CEW use incidents the CEW was deployed in both stun and probe
modes (with or without an attempt to gain compliance through display of the CEW). The
frequency of such usage for the police agencies that had used the CEW in this manner is listed
in Table 18 below.
Table 18: Frequency of Stun and Probe Mode Deployments by Agency
Number of CEW Use
Stun and Probe Mode
Agency
Incidents
Total
%
Abbotsford

97

9

9.3

Delta

45

5

11.1

195

22

11.3

43

2

4.7

Vancouver

297

16

5.4

Victoria

678

35

5.2

19

3

15.8

New Westminster
Saanich

West Vancouver

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As a proportion of CEW incidents each year, use of the CEW in both stun and probe modes
during a single incident has gradually increased somewhat. There were two (4%) such
incidents in 2000, two (3.7%) in 2001, four (5.2%) in 2002, seven (6.9%) in 2003, 11 (4.9%)
in 2004, 18 (6.7%) in 2005, 22 (7%) in 2006, and 26 (8.4%) in 2007.
In 19 of the 1,404 CEW incidents (1.4%) both stun and probe modes were used multiple times
(that is, more than once each in a single incident). The rate of such usage was highest in West
Vancouver where two of 19 (10.5%) incidents involved both multiple stun deployment and
multiple probe cycles. In Delta the rate was 4.4 per cent (two of 45 incidents), and in New
Westminster the rate was 3.1 per cent (six of 195 incidents).
In 11 of the 19 incidents (57.9%) two probe cycles were combined with two (eight cases),
three (one case), and four (two cases) stun deployments. In four of the 19 cases (21.1%) three
probe cycles were combined with two (two cases), four (one case), and eight (one case) stun
deployments. In three of the 19 cases (15.8%) five probe cycles were combined with two,
four, and five stun deployments (one cases each). In one case (5.3%) seven probe cycles were
combined with three stun deployments.
In an additional 20 of the 1,404 CEW incidents (1.4%) two or more stun deployments were
combined with one probe deployment. In these cases the number of stun deployments ranged
from two (14 cases) to six (one case).
In an additional 15 of the 1,404 CEW incidents (1.1%) two or more probe cycles were
combined with one stun deployment. In these cases the number of probe cycles ranged from
two (13 cases), to four (one case).

Subject Behaviour and the Use of Conducted Energy Weapons
Thus far, the review of CEW use by municipal police agencies in BC has presented the
characteristics of subject behaviour and the nature of CEW use in isolation from each other.
However, the justification for the use and method of use of the CEW is dependent upon the
behaviour of the subject when confronted by police. This section will summarize how the CEW
has been used by police when dealing with subjects who displayed various levels of resistance
to police efforts to control them.
Table 19 presents the methods of CEW use in the context of the highest level of subject
resistance faced by police. Subject resistance is categorized according to the National Use of
Force Framework which describes subject behaviour as cooperative, passive resistance, active
resistance (including fleeing from police), assaultive, and posing a threat of grievous bodily
harm or death to anyone. As can be seen from this analysis of the data, police have used the
CEW in situations that fall short of posing an immediate threat of harm.

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Warning Only

Total

GBH/Death

Assaultive

Active

Passive

CEW Use

Cooperative

Table 19: Method of CEW Use by Highest Level of Subject Resistance
Highest Level
of Resistance

Other

APPENDIX G

0

3

3

5

0

1

12

92

32

89

75

0

20

308

Display & Stun

0

0

34

50

1

1

86

Display & Probe

0

16

57

89

7

3

172

Stun Only

0

2

145

245

2

6

400

Probe Only

0

18

130

147

9

19

323

Stun & Probe

0

0

22

37

0

0

59

Display & Stun & Probe

0

1

8

24

0

0

33

92

72

488

672

19

50

1393*

Display Only Deployment

Total

Note: The “other” category includes all cases where the subject’s behaviour did not involve
any of the National Use of Force Framework resistance categories but may involve alcohol or
drug intoxication; possession of a weapon; or verbal threats of violence to police, self, or
others.
*The specific method of CEW use was unknown in seven cases involving active resistance and
four cases involving assaultive resistance.
With respect to the results presented in Table 19, it should be noted that a number of subjects
who displayed only passive resistance to police direction were in possession of a weapon. In
seven of the 16 cases in which the CEW was used in both display and probe mode, the subject
was armed while offering passive resistance. In six of the 18 cases in which the CEW was
used in probe mode, only the subject was armed while offering passive resistance to police
direction. Of course, the converse is also notable. Thirty-seven unarmed subjects displaying
only passive resistance were exposed to the CEW in stun mode, probe mode, or both.
It is also noteworthy that only 19 incidents (1.4% of the 1,404 incidents) involved subject
behaviour considered to be actions intended to or likely to cause grievous bodily harm or
death to anyone – that is, actions that would legally justify the use of deadly force.
Alcohol or drug intoxication is also a significant feature in CEW incidents. As previously
reported, 61.8 per cent of all CEW incidents involved a subject who was under the influence
of alcohol or drugs. Table 20 presents the frequency with which the CEW was used in various
modes against an intoxicated subject.

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Table 20: Method of CEW Use Against Alcohol or Drug Intoxicated Subjects
Intoxicated Subject
Total (N=863)*

CEW Use
Warning Only

%

4

0.5

135

15.6

68

7.9

Display & Probe

101

11.7

Stun Only

307

35.6

Probe Only

191

22.1

Stun & Probe

35

4.1

Display & Stun & Probe

22

2.5

Display Only Deployment
Display & Stun

* In four cases the method of CEW use was unknown.
In relation to the 863 cases listed in Table 20 above, the subject displayed no active
resistance, assaultive behaviour, or threat of grievous bodily harm or death in 97 cases
(11.2%). In most (57.7%) of these 97 incidents the CEW was used in display mode only.
However, in nine cases (9.3%) the subject was exposed to the CEW in stun mode; in 31 cases
(32%) the subject was exposed to the CEW in probe mode; and in one case (1%) the subject
was exposed to the CEW in both stun and probe modes. In 10 of these 41 cases (24.4%)
where the CEW was used in stun mode, probe mode, or both, the subject was not subsequently
arrested for a Criminal Code offence or under the authority of the Mental Health Act.

Use of Other Force Options
Police report(s) also documented use of other intervention methods or force options to control
subjects. Table 21 below lists the frequency with which these methods were used before,
during, or after use of the CEW.282

282 In the absence of an adequate synopsis or narrative of events, it was difficult or impossible to

determine the order with which these other options were used. This was particularly the case with the subject
behaviour report/officer response report.
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Table 21: Use of Other Intervention Methods or Use-of-Force Options in Conjunction
with CEW Use
Before CEW Use
During CEW Use
After CEW Use
Total
(N=1404)

Total
(N=1404)

%

Total
(N=1404)

Verbal Intervention

1320

94.0

86

6.1

35

2.5

“Soft” Physical Control

474

33.8

31

2.2

114

8.1

“Hard” Physical Control

246

17.5

37

2.6

134

9.5

6

0.4

1

0.1

3

0.2

100

7.1

2

0.1

34

2.4

Baton Use

19

1.4

2

0.1

17

1.2

Bean Bag Shotgun Use

10

0.7

4

0.3

11

0.8

Arwen Gun Use

8

0.6

2

0.1

3

0.2

Dog Warning

6

0.4

5

0.4

4

0.3

Dog Use

9

0.6

0

0.0

9

0.6

71

5.1

62

4.4

13

0.9

0

0.0

0

0.0

0

0.0

14

1.0

14

1.0

1333

95.0

Intervention Method

OC/Pepper Spray Warning
OC/Pepper Spray Use

Firearm Warning
Firearm Use
Restraints

%

%

Note: “Soft” physical control includes arm and wrist locks, hands-on force to pressure points,
and taking the subject to the ground. “Hard” physical control includes open and empty hand
strikes, punches, and kicks to target areas. OC/Pepper spray warning includes presence or
display of oleoresin capsicum spray. Dog warning includes the presence of a police dog
during the incident. Firearm warning includes display of a firearm and “lethal overwatch.”
In relation to use of other force options, it is notable that 77 of the 100 cases where
OC/pepper spray was used before use of the CEW occurred in Victoria (77 of 678 Victoria
CEW incidents, or 11.4%). Victoria incidents also made up the majority of cases where
OC/pepper spray was used after use of the CEW (24 of the 34 cases, or 3.5% of the 678
Victoria incidents).
The presence of drawn firearms or “lethal overwatch” was notably more common among the
CEW incidents in Port Moody and Delta. In Port Moody two of the eight CEW incidents (25%)
involved a firearm warning prior to the use of the CEW. In Delta eight of the 45 CEW
incidents (17.8%) included “lethal overwatch” prior to the use of the CEW.
Use of the CEW against a handcuffed subject was very rare; however, 12 of the 14 cases
where the subject was handcuffed prior to the use of the CEW occurred in New Westminster
(12 of 195 cases, or 6.2% of New Westminster CEW incidents). In relation to the 14
restrained subjects, all displayed active or assaultive resistance. In two cases the CEW was
used in display mode only and in 12 cases the CEW was used in stun mode (in one of these
cases, the CEW was also deployed in probe mode).
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In nearly all CEW incidents (95%) the subject was restrained following the use of the CEW.283
Most commonly (1,060 cases, or 79.5%) the subject was handcuffed. In one in 10 cases
(10.7%) the subject was taken into custody but the type of restraint employed was not
specifically noted in the police report(s). Handcuffs combined with another form of restraint
(such as ankle restraints) were used in 52 incidents (3.9%). Subjects were restrained on a
Provincial Ambulance Service stretcher in 35 cases (2.6%). Other forms of restraint (such as a
body cuff or wrap) were used in 37 cases (2.8%).

Injuries and Medical Attention
In 82 of the 1,404 CEW incidents (5.8%) one or more police officers suffered some type of
injury. Most (68.3%) of these injuries were relatively minor, involving bruises, cuts, scrapes,
and muscle strains. More serious cases (28%) involved such injuries as broken fingers, knee
injuries, back injuries, and possible exposure to serious infectious disease such as hepatitis or
HIV.
Subjects sustained some form of injury284 in 592 of the 1,404 incidents (42.3%). One in five
of these subjects (126, or 21.3%) sustained injuries both related to the use of the CEW and
unrelated to CEW use.
In total, 336 (23.9%) subjects suffered a CEW-related injury. Nearly all of these injuries
(97.6%) were minor in nature, involving only the penetration of probe darts285 into the skin or
welts from the application of the CEW in stun mode. In addition to puncture wounds, 17
subjects also sustained relatively minor injuries, such as cuts, from falling following
incapacitation by the probe deployment. In eight cases the subject sustained more serious
injuries, including two subjects who suffered lung collapse when the probe darts punctured
their lungs, two subjects who lost consciousness when they fell on their heads when
incapacitated, two subjects who suffered facial wounds (one from a fall and one from a
puncture wound to the nose), one subject who fell and broke his ankle, and one subject who
suffered a probe dart embedded in his clavicle bone.
In total, subjects suffered a non-CEW-related injury in 382 of the 1,404 CEW incidents
(27.2%). These injuries were most commonly sustained during arrest (175 cases, or 45.8%)
but many occurred prior to police arrival (147 cases, or 38.5%) due to involvement in a fight,
assault, or self-harm. In 33 cases (8.6%) the subject inflicted injuries to themselves in the
presence of police. In 27 cases (7.1%) it was unclear from the police report(s) when the injury
occurred (that is, before or during arrest). For the most part (81.9%), non-CEW-related
injuries were relatively minor in nature. Of the 59 more serious injuries, 31 (52.5%) were
present prior to police arrival, seven (11.9%) were self-inflicted by the subject in the presence
of police, and the remaining 21 (35.6%) occurred in the course of arresting the subject.
Two fatalities occurred in association with CEW incidents – both in Vancouver.
In 462 of the1,404 incidents (32.9%) the subject involved in the CEW incident was examined
by Provincial Ambulance Service (PAS)286 paramedics at the scene of the incident. In 870

283
284
285
286

In 66 cases (4.7% of the 1,404 incidents) the subject was not restrained following the use of the CEW.
As reported in the police records reviewed.
Although relatively minor, some of these penetration wounds did require stitches to close.
Also known as Emergency Health Service (EHS).
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APPENDIX G

incidents (62%) paramedics were not called or did not attend.287 The subject refused to be
examined by paramedics at the scene in 46 cases (3.3%). It was not clear from the police
report(s) whether paramedics attended the scene of the incident or not in 26 cases (1.9%).
As shown in Table 22 below, examination by paramedics on the scene of the incident varied
considerably between the police agencies.
Table 22: Paramedic Examination of Subject at Scene of Incident by Agency
Number of
Paramedic Examination
Agency
CEW Use
Yes
No
Refused
Incidents
#

%

#

%

97

21

21.6

68

70.1

3

3.1

5

5.2

5

0

0.0

5

100.0

0

0.0

0

0.0

45

26

57.8

15

33.3

1

2.2

3

6.7

Transit Authority

6

3

50.0

3

50.0

0

0.0

0

0.0

Kitasoo Tribal

1

0

0.0

1

100.0

0

0.0

0

0.0

Nelson

3

0

0.0

2

66.7

0

0.0

1

33.3

195

49

25.1

137

70.3

8

4.1

1

0.5

Oak Bay

7

1

14.3

6

85.7

0

0.0

0

0.0

Port Moody

8

5

62.5

3

37.5

0

0.0

0

0.0

43

22

51.2

20

46.5

1

2.3

0

0.0

Vancouver

297

211

71.0

73

24.6

12

4.0

1

0.3

Victoria

678

113

16.7

529

78.0

21

3.1

15

2.2

19

11

57.9

8

42.1

0

0.0

0

0.0

Abbotsford
Central Saanich
Delta

New Westminster

Saanich

West Vancouver

#

%

Unknown
#

%

In 519 cases (37%) the subject was transported to hospital from the scene by paramedics or
by police. In nearly half of these cases (48.7%) the subject was arrested under provisions of
the Mental Health Act.
Subjects received medical attention in police cells in 74 cases (5.3%). Subjects were
transported to hospital after being booked into police cells in 59 cases (4.2%).

Arrest
The subject was arrested for Criminal Code violations following the CEW incident in two-thirds
of cases (939 incidents, or 66.9%). The arrest rate varied from a low of 50 per cent (three of
six cases) in relation to Transit Authority incidents to highs of 74.6 per cent (506 of 678
287 In a handful of cases paramedics were called to attend but did not due to high call demand. In these

cases paramedics often attended to the subject in police cells.
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APPENDIX G

incidents) in relation to Victoria incidents and 100 per cent (five of five incidents) in relation to
Central Saanich incidents.
According to the police records reviewed,288 one-third of incidents (473 or 33.7%) led to
Criminal Code charges against the subject. In 69 cases (4.9%) the subject was charged with
resisting arrest or obstruction.
One in five CEW incidents (276 cases, or 19.7%) led to the arrest of the subject under the
authority of the Mental Health Act. The highest rate of Mental Health Act arrests occurred in
Vancouver (97 of 297 incidents, or 32.7%), followed by West Vancouver (six of 19 incidents,
or 31.6%), Delta (14 of 45 incidents, or 31.1%), Abbotsford (30 of 97 incidents, or 30.9%),
and Oak Bay (two of seven incidents, or 28.6%).
In nearly one in 10 cases (125, or 8.9%) the subject was not arrested under either Criminal
Code or Mental Health Act provisions following the CEW incident. In 40 of these cases (32%)
the CEW was used in display mode only. However, prior to their release 48 subjects (38.4%)
had been exposed to a probe deployment of the CEW, 31 (24.8%) had been exposed to a
stun deployment, and six (4.8%) had been exposed to both stun and probe modes of
deployment.

Policy Compliance
Following review of CEW incident reports, researchers attempted to assess whether officer
actions with respect to use of the CEW complied with departmental use-of-force policy. This
analysis proved to be problematic, primarily because policy documents provided by the
police agencies were often current policies implemented in 2008; that is, after the time period
covered by this research. While some departments were contacted to obtain historical policy,
tracking changes to policy for all of the agencies was beyond the scope of this project. As
well, some departments had not defined specific CEW policy prior to 2008. In addition,
several departments appear to be operating with draft policies that have not been filed with
or approved by the Police Services Division.
Assessing policy compliance (where policy, or draft policy, did exist) was also difficult given
the considerable discretion afforded to police officers in determining when CEW use is
appropriate and what steps are necessary during and after use of the CEW.
The circumstances of each CEW incident were assessed against policies in six main areas:289
1. Was the CEW deployed in accordance with use-of-force policy? This area addresses
the threshold question of whether or not use of the CEW was permitted by policy in
view of the subject’s behaviour and actions.
2. Were policy-prescribed steps taken before deployment of the CEW? This question
encompasses such issues as whether or not the subject was warned that a CEW would
be used if he or she failed to comply with police direction.

288 Information about charges was highly dependent upon the type of report(s) provided. Use-of-force

reports and subject behaviour/officer response reports documented the circumstances of the incident and
rarely included case outcome information.
289 Departments that did have CEW policy prior to 2008 did not necessarily have policy in each of these
areas.
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3. Were policy-prescribed steps taken while discharging the CEW? Issues here included
whether police established a “lethal overwatch” prior to deployment of the CEW.
4. Was policy relating to multiple CEW deployments followed?
5. Was policy relating to duration of CEW deployment followed?
6. Were policy-prescribed steps taken after deployment of the CEW? This question
concerned issues such as medical attention, the removal of probe darts, supervisor
notification, and the completion of a CEW incident report (such as a Use of Force
Report or a Subject Behaviour Report).
With respect to the first question of whether or not the subject’s behaviour justified the use of
the CEW, the policies examined generally allow for a great deal of discretion or latitude in
the use of the CEW by police officers, including reliance on the officers’ subjective judgments.
In this regard, the policy of New Westminster (since June 2007) is representative of policy in
this area. It states:
The Taser shall only be used upon subjects:
1. whom the Member has reasonable and probable grounds to believe are a danger to
themselves or others, or
2. who need to be immediately controlled, and the Member believes will be actively
aggressive/assaultive toward police or others, or
3. who pose a threat of serious bodily injury or death to the Member of others, and
other available force options are inappropriate or unreasonable in the circumstances.
[emphasis added]
Arguably, within such guidelines use of the CEW may be considered appropriate in every
case. An officer’s subjective belief that the subject will become aggressive or assaultive –
even when the subject’s actual behavior poses no immediate threat to anyone – is sufficient
justification for use of the CEW. For example, researchers identified cases where the
justification for CEW use (in both stun and probe modes) was borderline, such as where the
subject’s only (passive) resistance was refusal to comply with police direction to get on the
ground. However, researchers were not in a position to second-guess the judgment of the
officers involved about the subject’s potentially assaultive behaviour.
Prior to 2008, Vancouver policy governing the specific use of CEWs consisted of the following
statement:
The Vancouver Police Department supports the use of intermediate weapons by
members who are qualified and/or certified to use them when lower levels of force
(including other specific intermediate weapons) have been ineffective and/or
inappropriate, and the use of higher levels of force (including other specific
intermediate weapons) may not be justified and/or appropriate.
Based on this standard, all Vancouver CEW incidents complied with policy.
However, one example of how judgments about appropriate use-of-force alternatives may
be supported is found in an incident reported by GVTAPS. In this case an intoxicated subject
was slow to comply with police direction to put his beer down and display his hands. The
constable determined that “a hands-on struggle was less desirable” and deployed the CEW
probes.
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In regard to the second policy area – steps required before the deployment of the CEW –
few departments provided guidance prior to 2008.290 Among the exceptions is West
Vancouver, where policy (since April 2003) suggests that display mode must be used first in
all circumstances before stun or probe mode deployment. The policy states: “If force presence
is unsuccessful, the member may then discharge the Taser at the subject that needs to be
controlled, provided reasonable grounds exist to deploy such level of force (Probes fired or
stun mode).” However, in eight of the 18 (42.1%) relevant291 West Vancouver incidents the
incident report contains no indication that display mode was used.
In regard to the third policy area – steps required while discharging the CEW – several
departments suggest that lethal force cover be present while the CEW is deployed. However,
most of these departments limit this guidance to situations where it is “reasonable and
appropriate.” West Vancouver’s policy (since April 2003) is more prescriptive, providing that
“the member should designate at least one member to provide lethal force cover.”
Nevertheless, in 14 of the 18 (77.8%) relevant cases the incident reports reviewed gave no
indication that a lethal force cover member was designated.
In regard to the fourth policy area – multiple use of the CEW – where pre-2008 policy exists
the policies of several departments seemed to limit the use of the CEW in probe mode to a
maximum of two cycles. These policies were notably silent about the maximum number of
allowable applications of the CEW in stun mode. The language used often echoed the
following example: “If control of a subject has not been obtained within five seconds after the
application of the second set of darts, consider the Taser to be ineffective in controlling the
subject and consider another appropriate force option to gain control.” The policies of both
Victoria (since December 1998) and Delta (since January 2003) contain this guidance, but
probe cycles were administered three or more times in 25 of the 239 (18.8%) Victoria
incidents where probe mode was used, and in two of the 19 (10.5%) relevant probe
deployment incidents in Delta.
New Westminster (since June 2007) policy states:
If the subject has failed to be controlled with the first set of darts due to the fact that
one or more darts have missed the subject, the Member may discharge a second set of
darts at the subject. If the failure is due to the weapon not affecting the subject, the
trigger may be depressed again for one more five second cycle, or until the subject
has been controlled (whichever comes first).
This implies that the maximum number of allowable probe cycles is two; however, in one New
Westminster incident (which occurred after the above policy came into effect) the subject was
exposed to seven probe cycles and was then stunned three times.
The language of West Vancouver’s policy (since April 2003) is stronger: “If control of a
subject has not been obtained after the application of the second set of darts, members
should consider other appropriate force options to gain control of the subject.” Again the
implication is that a maximum of two probe cycles is permitted; however, in three of the 11
(27.3%) relevant West Vancouver incidents in which the CEW was used in probe mode, the
CEW was cycled three or more times.

290 Current policies often address this area.
291 That is, incidents that occurred after the policy was implemented.
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APPENDIX G

Oak Bay’s (May 2002292) policy is even more definitive. It states that “if control of subject has
not been obtained within five seconds after the application of the second set of darts [where
first set missed or failed to work], the officer must consider the Taser to be ineffective in
controlling the subject and consider another appropriate force option to gain control.”
Nevertheless, in one Oak Bay incident in 2004, the subject was exposed to four probe cycles.
With respect to the fifth policy area – the allowable duration of CEW deployment – policy
often refers to probe cycles of five seconds or less (the allowable length of a stun application
is not specifically addressed). As previously reported, in half of all probe deployment
incidents, information about probe duration was not recorded. Included in the cases where
duration was recorded is a Port Moody case, in which after the first probe cycle of five
seconds the subject attempted to get up. A second probe cycle was triggered and the trigger
of the CEW was held down (to extend the default five-second duration of the cycle) until the
power of the CEW was drained. Victoria policy (since December 1998) also limits
applications to five seconds or less, but in several cases this maximum was exceeded. In one
case the subject was exposed to five cycles for a total of 60 seconds. In another, the CEW
was discharged for 40 seconds, followed by two more applications of 20 seconds each.
The last policy area concerns actions to be taken after deployment of the CEW. Most policy
in this area was introduced after the time period relevant to this project. However, Victoria
CEW policy has always required that a use-of-force report or a subject behaviour report be
completed whenever “the weapon was discharged to cause a motor dysfunction.” In 47 of
239 (19.7%) Victoria cases where probes were deployed,the Braidwood Commission
received no such report (general occurrence reports were provided).
Prior to 2008 several departments gave policy direction concerning medical attention for the
subject following deployment of the CEW. However, medical attention may not be required
by policy as seen in New Westminster (June 2007) policy which states:
Once subject has been controlled using the Taser, Member should make every effort
to do the following, where appropriate and reasonable to do so: …
3. Monitor the subject and contact the Provincial Ambulance Service to attend the
location.
Within the applicable time frame (mid-2007 to year end) there were eight incidents in New
Westminster, including two probe deployments and one stun deployment. The ambulance
service was not called in any of these cases.
Current Transit Authority (GVTAPS) policy (effective May 2007) states:
Every time a Taser has been deployed, the Member responsible for the deployment
will:
1. Notify Emergency Health Services (EHS) to attend, if the deployment was successful,
and have EHS personnel determine if the subject should be transported to a hospital…
In one of four relevant cases, the GVTAPS member did not call for the attendance of EHS.

292 This language is not in Oak Bay’s current policy; however, it is not known when the newer policy came

into effect, as it is not dated.
494

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APPENDIX G

Public Complaints Related to Police Use of CEWs
At the request of the Braidwood Commission, the BC Office of the Police Complaint
Commissioner (OPCC) provided information about public complaints it had received about
police use of CEWs during the period 2001 through 2007. Based on this information there
were 37 public complaints arising from incidents in which CEWs were alleged to have been
used by police. Table 23 below presents the number of complaints per agency along with the
disposition of the complaint.
From 2001 through 2007 no complaints were filed in relation to CEW use in Central Saanich,
Nelson, or Port Moody.
The OPCC determined that no CEW was involved in five of the 37 incidents – that is, no CEW
was present during the incident. The remaining 32 incidents represent 2.3 per cent of the
1,404 CEW incidents.

Number
of
Complaint
s

Abbotsford

97

3

3.1

Delta

45

1

2.2

1

195

1

0.5

1

Oak Bay

7

1

14.3

Saanich

43

6

14.0

Vancouver

297

8

2.7

2

4

Victoria

678

15

2.2

2

4

6

19

2

10.5

1

1

1381

37

2.7

New Westminster

West Vancouver
Total

Unresolved
Open File

Informally
Resolved

1

Dismissed

1

Substantiated

Unsubstantiated

%

No CEW
Present

#

Disposition of Complaint
Withdrawn

Agency

Number of CEW
Use Incidents

Table 23: Public Complaints Related to Police Use of CEWs by Agency, 2001 to 2007

1

1
2

2

1

5

13

3
1

1

1

8

2

1

5

3

According to the OPCC only one complaint (3.1% of 32 complaints) of excessive use of the
CEW was substantiated and the officer involved was subsequently suspended without pay for
three days. Thirteen (40.6%) complaints were determined to be unsubstantiated by the OPCC
and eight (25%) were summarily dismissed. Five complaints (15.6%) were informally resolved
and two (6.3%) were withdrawn by the complainant. Three (9.4%) files are not yet resolved
and remain open.

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APPENDIX G

Of the 32 relevant incidents, police report(s) relating to 14 incidents were provided to the
Braidwood Commission. In 18 cases, although it appears that a CEW was involved, no CEW
incident report was provided to the Braidwood Commission by the police agency involved.
In relation to RCMP CEW use in BC, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
(CPC) reported that during the period from 2001 through the end of January 2008, 95
complaints (representing 6.5% of the 1,466 RCMP CEW incidents) originating in “E” Division
were lodged with the CPC. It is unknown how many of these complaint incidents are included
among the 1,466 RCMP CEW incidents. Nationally, the CPC’s “mini-audit comparing public
complaints lodged with the Commission versus the existence of a Form 3996” (the RCMP’s
Incident Information report) found that “68% of the Commission’s deployment complaints could
not be accounted for” in the RCMP incident database.293

Conclusions
In the ongoing debate about police use of conducted energy weapons, the value of the
weapon is often justified by both the police and the public based on its perceived usefulness
as a less lethal alternative to deadly force. However, this review of CEW incidents indicates
that CEWs are very often used in circumstances in which deadly force is not a legal option.
While many incidents do involve a subject whose behaviour is “assaultive” (which the National
Use of Force Framework defines as including aggressive body language such as glaring and
clenching fists), very few incidents involve actions intended to or likely to cause grievous bodily
harm or death to anyone – that is, actions that would legally justify the use of deadly force.
In fact, in only one in 20 incidents did police establish a “lethal overwatch” by drawing their
firearms prior to using the CEW.
Many incidents also involve resistance that is no more than “active,” which includes any
physical resistance to police control, including fleeing from police. CEWs have also been
deployed in situations that involve “passive” resistance to police direction, implying that in
those cases the weapon was used as a “come-along” tool to encourage compliance with police
commands. Notably, in nearly one in 10 cases, the subject was not arrested following use of
the CEW.
The central question is: what is an appropriate threshold for use of the CEW? In this respect
clear policy direction is essential to prevent the slow expansion of circumstances considered
acceptable for use of the weapon. Review of departmental policy indicates that police have
very broad latitude and discretion in determining when CEW use is allowable. While policy
must not overly curtail police judgment of the appropriate use of force, policy must
acknowledge that some circumstances do not justify the use of the CEW.
The contention that equipping police with CEWs reduces injuries to police and suspects is open
to debate.294 There is no doubt that the CEW itself can cause injury to the suspect. As well, the
deployment of the CEW does not preclude injuries to suspects and police sustained during the
“take down” of a suspect during or following use of the CEW. Nor does CEW use ensure that
other force options won’t be needed. In one-third of cases, probe deployment of the CEW
was ineffective in subduing a subject. In these cases, the risk of injury has not been reduced.
293 Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP Use of the

Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): Final Report (Ottawa: The Commission, 2008).
294 See Gilbride, Bridget, “The Relationship Between the Use of Conducted Energy Weapons by Law
Enforcement Agencies and Harm Reduction to Officers and Suspects,” (August 29, 2008). Internal
Braidwood Inquiry research paper.
496

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APPENDIX G

Once the CEW has been deployed, successfully or not, additional use of the weapon is not
uncommon. In total 422 (30.1% of all 1,404 cases, or 38.5% of the 1,096 cases where stun
or probe mode was used at least once) subjects were exposed to multiple stun applications,
multiple probe cycles, or both. A better understanding of the safety of such use is needed.
This review of CEW incidents involving independent police agencies in BC was a complex and
very labour-intensive undertaking. The results provide a much better understanding of CEW
use in BC than has ever been available before. However, the picture is still incomplete. In
several areas basic information about the incident could not be determined from the police
report(s). Subject characteristics such as age, gender, and size, as well as CEW use
characteristics such as the mode of deployment, the location of the subject’s body targeted by
the deployment, distance to subject of probe deployment, and the duration of probe cycles
need to be recorded in a more systematic and comprehensive way. In addition, the
comparison of incident reports provided to the Braidwood Commission with CEW complaints
filed with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner indicates that more CEW incidents
have occurred than have been included in this review.
Finally, information about the characteristics of CEW incidents needs to be accessible without
resorting to manual methods. A single, uniform, and consistent reporting format feeding a
common database structure could provide routine feedback regarding CEW usage and
changes in usage patterns, and highlight policy areas in need of attention.295

295 For a more detailed discussion of reporting issues see Chan, Jennifer, “Police Reporting and the

Conducted Energy Weapon,” (August 20, 2008). Internal Braidwood Inquiry research paper.
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APPENDIX G

APPENDIX 1: CEW INCIDENT FILE REVIEW CODING FORM
Note: the unit of analysis is the use of a CEW on an individual during a single event – if
the CEW is used on two subjects during one event, it will be counted as two incidents
and should be assigned two case numbers and recorded on two coding forms.
Case Number

[__ __ __ __]

Date of Incident (code Year, Month, Day)
Time of Day of Incident

[__ __ __ __ __ __]
1=day (6am-6pm)

2=night (6pm-6am) [__]

SUBJECT CHARACTERISTICS
Age (in years)

[__ __]

Gender

1=male

2=female

3=unknown

[__]

Physical Size

1=small

2=medium

3=large

[__]

Race/Ethnicity (specify)

[____________________________]

1=Caucasian 2=Aboriginal 3=Asian 4=South Asian 5=Black

6=Other

7=Middle Eastern 8=Hispanic

History of mental illness (known to police prior to incident)

1=yes

[__]

History of violence (known to police prior to incident)

1=yes

[__]

Preexisting medical conditions (e.g., pregnancy, heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes)
1=yes
If yes, specify

2=no

[________________________________________]

TYPE OF INCIDENT TO WHICH POLICE RESPONDED
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
498

[__]

Domestic disturbance/violence
Suicide attempt/threat/self-injurious behaviour
Violence or threatened violence to others (fight)
Drug/alcohol intoxication
Disturbance
Robbery
Homicide
Person with gun
Person with knife
Break and enter
Destruction of property
Officer assist
Barricade
Serve warrant
Psychiatric disturbance/emotionally disturbed person (EDP)/”mental male”
Mental health/forensic psych worker assist
Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

APPENDIX G

17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.

Public assist
Assault (includes sex assault)
EHS/paramedics assist
Members on patrol observe infraction or are approached by subject
Hit and run (MVA)
Investigate drug offence
Home invasion
Trespassing
Impaired driving
Mischief
Theft
MVA
Suspicious person(s)
Motor vehicle theft
Child welfare assist (apprehension)
Possession of stolen property
99=unknown
GVTAPS assist
Incomplete 911 call
Incident Type #1
[__ __]
Incident Type #2
[__ __]

LOCATION OF INCIDENT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.

Residence
Hotel/SRO
Street
Public building
Bar/Club
Other business
Hospital
Beach/Park/Playing field
Transit bus
Police station
Police cells
Sky Train station/platform
Ambulance
Bushes
Outside bar/club
Parking lot/Underground parkade
Other health care facility

99=unknown

[__ __]
SUBJECT BEHAVIOURS/ACTIONS (As observed by members on scene)
(code 1 if present during incident, prior to use of CEW))

Cooperative/compliant to directions
Passive Resistance (refusal with little or no physical action, to cooperate; refusal to show hands)
Agitated
Pacing
Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
499

APPENDIX G

Yelling
Smashing property
Verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression
Alcohol/Drug intoxication
Symptoms of “excited delirium”
Symptoms of drug induced psychosis
Symptoms of drug overdose
Active Resistance (non-assaultive physical action to resist; e.g., pulling away)
Assaultive (attempts to apply or applies force to any person; kicking, punching, threatening acts

[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]

[__]
or gestures, aggressive body language, “pre-assault cues”)
Violence/threatened violence to police
[__]
Violence/threatened violence to self
[__]
Violence/threatened violence to others
[__]
Threatened suicide by cop scenario
[__]
Grievous bodily harm or death (actions intended to or likely to cause GBH or death; assault weapon
weapon, actions that would result in serious injury to any person; actions warrant use of deadly force) [__]
Officer assaulted
[__]
WEAPONS
Armed subject
Type of weapon: (code 1 if present)
Firearm
Edged (knife, glass, scissors)
Blunt force (bat, hockey stick, pipe, hammer)
Pointed (needle, fork, pickaxe)

1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]

NATURE OF CEW DEPLOYMENT
Warning/Challenge issued

1=yes

2=no 3=uk

[__]

Display only/compliance (presence, display, “spark”, laser sight)

1=yes

2=no 3=uk

[__]

Number of display only presentations
Display only order (in relation to CEW use, 1st, 2nd, 3rd)
Display only – Effective? 1=yes 2=no 3=ultimately
Stun Deployment (drive stun, push stun, contact stun)

1=yes

[__ __]
[__]
4=temporarily
[__]
2=no 3=uk

[__]

Number of stun deployments (code 99 for unknown)
[__ __]
[__]
Stun deployment order (in relation to CEW use, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)
Location on subject’s body (specify; if multiple deployment list in order)
[__________________________________]
[__________________________________]
[__________________________________]
Stun – Effective?
1=yes 2=no 3=ultimately 4=temporarily
[__]
Probe Deployment

500

1=yes

2=no 3=uk

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[__]

APPENDIX G

Number of probe deployments/cycles (code 99 for unknown)
Probe deployment order (in relation to CEW use, 1st, 2nd, 3rd)
Probe deployment distance (in feet, if multiple deployments list in order)

Probe deployment duration (in seconds; if multiple deployments list in order)

[__ __]
[__]
1st [__ __]
2nd [__ __]
3rd [__ __]
1st [__ __]
2nd [__ __]
3rd [__ __]

Location on subject’s body (specify; if multiple deployments list in order)
[__________________________________]
[__________________________________]
[__________________________________]
Subject in vulnerable position (e.g., roof, tree, open window) 1=yes 2=no 3=uk [__]
Probe – Effective?
1=yes 2=no 3=ultimately 4=temporarily 5=uk
[__]
If ineffective, why?
1=miss 2=technical problem 3=poor conduction 4=uk[__]
If probe darts embedded in skin, who removed them?
1=police 2=PAS 3=hospital physician 4=uk 5=N/A 6=subject [__]
If CEW was used in any mode, what model of CEW was used?
1=Taser M26 2=TaserX26 3=Unknown

[__]

Was CEW used in stun or probe mode against bare skin?
1=yes

[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

OC/Pepper spray use:

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

Baton use:

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

USE OF OTHER FORCE OPTIONS
Verbal intervention:
(dialogue)

“Soft” physical control:
(arm & wrist locks, hands
on force to pressure points)

“Hard” physical control:
(open & empty hand strikes,
punches, kicks to target areas)

OC/Pepper spray warning:
(presence, display)

(ASP)

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APPENDIX G

Bean bag shotgun use:

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

ARWEN gun use:

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

before CEW use
during CEW use
after CEW use

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

[__]
[__]
[__]

(flexible baton)

Dog Warning
(presence)

Dogs:

Firearm warning:
(display; “lethal overwatch”)

Firearm use:

Restraints:

before CEW use
1=yes
[__]
(handcuffs, zip straps,
during CEW use
1=yes
[__]
hobble, hogtie)
after CEW use (includes “taken into custody”) 1=yes [__]
[______________________]
Highest level of restraint applied (specify)

INJURIES
Injuries to police
1=yes
2=no
3=unknown
[__]
If yes, note severity
1=minor 2=serious 3=unknown
[__]
If yes, specify nature of injury [_______________________________________]
Injuries to subject (related to CEW use) 1=yes
2=no
3=unknown
[__]
If yes, note severity
1=minor 2=serious 3=unknown
[__]
If yes, specify nature of injury [_______________________________________]
Injuries to subject (unrelated to CEW use) 1=yes
2=no
3=unknown
If yes, note severity
1=minor 2=serious 3=unknown
If yes, note:
1=injuries present prior to police arrival
2=injuries self-inflicted during incident
3=injuries sustained during arrest
4=unknown when injuries sustained
(before or during arrest)

502

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

[__]
[__]

[__]

APPENDIX G

Subject examined by paramedics (PAS) on scene
Subject transported to hospital
Subject given medical attention in cells
Subject transported to hospital after booked into cells
Fatality

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

2=no

3=refused

[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]
[__]

ARREST
Suspect arrested – Criminal Code
Suspect arrested – Mental Health Act
Suspect charged

1=yes
1=yes
1=yes

2=no
2=no
2=no

3=unknown
3=unknown
3=unknown

[__]
[__]
[__]

Was suspect charged with resisting arrest? 1=yes

2=no

3=unknown

[__]

(new charges related to incident )
(includes obstruction)

POLICY CONSIDERATIONS (Reference departmental use-of-force policy to complete this section)
(code

3=unknown

4=Not applicable

5=No policy

6=Borderline/discretion)

Was the CEW deployed in accordance with use-of-force policy? (i.e., subject actions
1=yes
2=no
warranted use of CEW)
If not, explain:

[__]

Were policy prescribed steps taken before deployment of the CEW? (eg., was a
1=yes
2=no
warning/challenge issued?)
If not, explain:

[__]

Were policy prescribed steps taken while discharging the CEW? (eg., was the CEW aimed at
1=yes
2=no
[__]
an allowable part of the subject’s body?)
If not, explain:
Was the CEW deployed (stun or probe) in the presence of flammable vapors or liquids?
1=yes
2=no
[__]
Was policy relating to multiple CEW deployments followed?
If not, explain:

1=yes

2=no

[__]

Was policy relating to duration of CEW deployment followed?
If not, explain:

1=yes

2=no

[__]

Were policy prescribed steps to be taken after deployment of the CEW followed? (eg.,
1=yes
2=no
[__]
removal of probes, attendance of PAS, prevention of positional asphyxia)
If not, explain:
Was photographic evidence collected (e.g., of injuries)?

1=yes

2=no

[__]

Note any other comments or observations on the reverse of this page.

Braidwood Commission on Conducted Energy Weapon Use

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APPENDIX G

504

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APPENDIX H

Use of Conducted Energy
Weapons by the Sheriff
Services in British Columbia,
2001–2007
___________________________________
This review of 127 reported incidents of conducted energy weapon
(CEW) usage by sheriffs and sheriff deputies in British Columbia includes
descriptions of subject characteristics and behaviours, incident type and
location, mode of CEW deployment, use of other force options, injuries,
and policy compliance.

Prepared for the Thomas R. Braidwood, Q.C., Commissions of Inquiry
by Karen A. Ryan
November 5, 2008

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APPENDIX H

Table of Contents
LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................. 507 
INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 508 
METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................ 508 
CONTEXT....................................................................................................................... 509 
RESULTS......................................................................................................................... 509 
Subject Characteristics..................................................................................................................... 509 
Incident Characteristics.................................................................................................................... 510 
Subject Behaviours/Actions............................................................................................................. 512 
Weapons ........................................................................................................................................... 513 
Nature of CEW Deployment.......................................................................................................... 513 
Use of the CEW in Display Mode .............................................................................................. 513 
Use of the CEW in Stun Mode .................................................................................................... 514 
Use of the CEW in Probe Mode ................................................................................................. 514 
Use of the CEW in Stun and Probe Modes .............................................................................. 515 
Subject Behaviour and the Use of Conducted Energy Weapons............................................ 515 
Use of Other Force Options ........................................................................................................... 516 
Injuries and Medical Attention ....................................................................................................... 517 
Policy Compliance ............................................................................................................................ 517 
Conclusions......................................................................................................................................... 517 
APPENDIX 1: CEW INCIDENT FILE REVIEW (SHERIFFS) CODING FORM ........................ 518 

506

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APPENDIX H

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Number of CEW Incidents by Year....................................................................................509 
Table 2: Number of CEW Incidents by Originating Office ...........................................................511 
Table 3: Subject Behaviours/Actions .................................................................................................512 
Table 4: Method of CEW Use by Highest Level of Subject Resistance.........................................516 
Table 5: Use of Other Intervention Methods or Use-of-Force Options in Conjunction
with CEW Use........................................................................................................................................516 

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APPENDIX H

INTRODUCTION
Phase One (the “Study Commission”) of the Braidwood, Q.C., Commissions of Inquiry was
mandated to “inquire into and report on the use of conducted energy weapons” by sheriffs in
the performance of their duties and the exercise of their powers under the Sheriff Act. In
partial fulfillment of this mandate the Commission undertook a review of all CEW incidents
involving Sheriff Services Division officers in British Columbia.296

METHODOLOGY
In May 2008 a request was made to the Ministry of the Attorney General, asking for “CEW
incident reports,” including any video records of CEW incidents, dating from 2001 to the end
of 2007.
In order to facilitate and expedite access to documents and videos, Sharon Samuels, Research
Counsel, negotiated and signed a confidentiality agreement with the Ministry of the Attorney
General (and approved by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office) that
ensured that the privacy of individuals involved in CEW incidents (both staff and subjects)
would be safeguarded by the Commission.
A coding form (see Appendix 1) was developed to capture information about subject
characteristics and behaviours, incident type and location, mode of CEW deployment, use of
other force options, injuries, and policy compliance. File coding was completed in September
2008.297
For the purposes of this research, the unit of analysis was defined as “the discharge of a CEW
on an individual during a single event.” If the CEW was used in stun or probe mode on more
than one subject during a single event, a “CEW Incident File Review Coding Form” was
completed for each subject and would be counted as multiple instances of CEW use. If the
CEW was used as a display only/compliance tool on multiple subjects, a single coding form
was completed for the incident.
Commission researchers met with a senior member of Sheriff Services in August 2008 to view
video records of CEW incidents. In total 16 video records (including CCTV images) were
viewed, including 14 probe deployment incidents and two display compliance incidents.
“TASER Deployment Reports” and/or “Court Services Incident Reports” were reviewed in
Ministry of the Attorney General offices as per the above noted confidentiality agreement.
Incidents reports relating to 127 CEW use incidents were provided to researchers for
review.298
The period covered by this review is from 2001 (when sheriffs and sheriff’s deputies were first
equipped with CEWs) through to the end of 2007.
296 Sheriff Services (Court Services Branch) is responsible for court security, escort of prisoners, detention of

prisoners, jury management, service of court-related documents, execution of court orders and warrants, and
coroner’s court assistance.
297 Significant research assistance was provided by Jennifer B. Morgan, who completed the file coding and
provided general research support.
298 A “TASER Deployment Report Summary” provided by Sheriff Services indicates that between October
2001 and the end of 2007, 128 incidents had been reported; however, one report (involving a probe
deployment) was not included in the package of reports provided to the Braidwood Commission. The
summary also included reports of 53 “accidental discharges” of a CEW; however, as no subject was
involved these incidents are not included in the review.
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CONTEXT
The following information provides background for the use of CEWs by BC Sheriff Services.
Sheriff and deputy sheriff officers were given access to CEWs beginning in 2001 when the
service obtained 80 units. In 2005, 24 units were added to inventory for a total of 104. In
2006, 95 units were available for use, and in 2007, sheriffs and sheriff’s deputies had access
to 91 units. CEWs are issued to officers on an as-needed basis and are not carried routinely.
The number of regular deputy sheriffs employed province-wide has grown slightly over this
time period from 438 in 2001 to 457 in 2007.299
Ministry of Attorney General operational volume statistics indicate that Sheriff Services were
responsible for escorting 125,000 prisoners in 2005/2006 and 124,600 prisoners in
2006/2007.300 During the same period officers provided courthouse security to 44
courthouses in the province.

RESULTS
Incident reports relating to 127 CEW use events dating from October 2001 through to the
end of 2007 were reviewed. Table 1 below lists the number of incidents per year.
Table 1: Number of CEW Incidents by Year
Year
Number of CEW Percentage of
Incidents
Total
2001

10

7.9

2002

18

14.2

2003

19

15.0

2004

14

11.0

2005

22

17.3

2006

21

16.5

2007

23

18.1

Total

127

100.0

Subject Characteristics
Nearly all of the 127 reported incidents involved male subjects (92.1%). Eight incidents
(6.3%) involved female subjects. In two instances the gender of the subject was not indicated.
Most of the subjects of the CEW incidents were adult prisoners (112, or 88.2%). Most of
these prisoners were male (105). Four incidents (3.1%) involved youth prisoners (three males
299 Throughout this time period Sheriff Services also included an estimated 30 managers. All figures

provided by Sheriff Policy and Projects, Court Services Branch.

300 www.ag.gov.bc.ca/public/ministry_operational_volumes.pdf
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and one female) and seven incidents (5.5%) involved members of the public (five males and
two females). In four cases the type of subject was not indicated.
The subject’s age at the time of the CEW incident was rarely recorded in the reports
reviewed. In 103 cases the subject’s age was unknown. In relation to the 24 cases where age
was known, the average age was 31 years, with a minimum age of 19, a maximum age of
44, and a median age of 29.5.
The race or ethnicity of the subject was not recorded in the incident reports reviewed.
A history of mental illness was noted for 38 (29.9%) subjects.
Nearly two-thirds (64.6%) of incident reports noted that the subject had a history of violence.

Incident Characteristics
In the majority of cases the primary type of duty being performed by sheriffs or deputy
sheriffs when the CEW incident occurred was jail/holding cell security (91 cases, or 71.7%).301
Eighteen incidents (14.2%) occurred during the performance of escort duties. Sixteen (12.6%)
incidents occurred during the provision of criminal court security and one (0.8%) was related
to civil court security. The remaining case concerned “other” duties.302
The primary type of event occasioning the use of a CEW was often extraction or placement of
a prisoner in a cell (53 cases, or 41.7%). Twenty-two incidents involved prisoner transfer
(17.3%), while the primary event was a cell search in 11 cases (8.7%) and a prisoner search
in 11 (8.7%) cases. The remaining 30 incidents involved a variety of event types, including
maintaining cell order, maintaining courtroom order, taking remanded prisoners into custody,
and serving court orders or warrants.
With respect to the location of the CEW incident, just over half (67 cases, or 52.8%) occurred
in courthouse/sheriff’s cells. Nineteen incidents (15%) took place in police cells, 17 (13.4%)
happened in a courtroom or in public areas of a courthouse, and seven (5.5%) occurred in
prison cells (pretrial centre). Six incidents (4.7%) occurred in a motor vehicle during transport
and five incidents (3.9%) took place in a loading area or transfer point. One incident (0.8%)
took place in each of the following locations: prison cell of a regional correctional centre, jail
interview room, and hospital. In three cases, the location of the incident was not indicated.
Table 2 below lists the number of CEW incidents by the location (or type) of the sheriff’s
office providing service. The largest proportion of incidents (26%) originated with the Surrey
office, which provides services to the Surrey Pretrial Centre.

301 In 15 of these cases, Sheriff Services officers were also tasked with escort duties. In another case, jail

security duties were combined with criminal court security duties.

302 As the case specifics could potentially identify the case, no other details are provided here.
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Table 2: Number of CEW Incidents by Originating Office
Office
Number of Percentage
CEW
of Total
Incidents
Abbotsford

15

11.8

Chilliwack

6

4.7

Courtenay

2

1.6

Cranbrook

1

0.8

Fort St. John

1

0.8

Lower Mainland Regional Escorts

7

5.5

12

9.4

Nanaimo

3

2.4

New Westminster

2

1.6

North Vancouver

2

1.6

Port Coquitlam

8

6.3

Powell River

2

1.6

Prince George

5

3.9

Richmond

3

2.4

Salmon Arm

1

0.8

Sechelt

2

1.6

Smithers

1

0.8

Surrey

33

26.0

Victoria

21

16.5

127

100.0

Vancouver

Total

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Subject Behaviours/Actions
Incident descriptions, narratives, and synopses of events recorded in the reports completed by
Sheriff Services staff were used to extract the characteristics of subject behaviours or actions
as observed by staff members on the scene of the CEW use incident. Levels of resistance as
outlined in the National Use of Force Framework were supplemented with other descriptors of
subject behaviour as noted in the reports. Table 3 below lists the frequency that these
behaviours or actions were observed and noted by Sheriff Services staff.
Table 3: Subject Behaviours/Actions
Frequency
(N=127)

Subject Behaviours/Actions

Percentage

Cooperative/compliant to directions

3

2.4

Passive resistance303

1

0.8

21

16.5

Pacing

1

0.8

Yelling

20

15.7

Disturbance

13

10.2

Smashing/damaging property

17

13.4

Verbally abusive/verbal threats/verbal aggression

58

45.7

Active resistance304

76

59.8

Assaultive305

53

41.7

Violence/threatened violence to staff

16

12.6

Violence/threatened violence to self

5

3.9

28

22.0

Escape/escape attempt

2

1.6

Grievous bodily harm or death306

0

0.0

Staff member assaulted

4

3.1

Agitated

Violence/threatened violence to others

Note: Each incident may contain multiple (not mutually exclusive) descriptors of subject
behaviour/actions (including levels of resistance).

303 Passive resistance is defined as refusal, with little or no physical action, to cooperate; refusal to show

hands.

304 Active resistance is defined as non-assaultive physical action to resist; e.g., pulling away.
305 Assaultive is defined as attempts to apply or application of force to any person; kicking, punching,

threatening acts or gestures, aggressive body language, “pre-assault cues.”

306 Grievous bodily harm or death is defined as actions intended to or likely to cause grievous bodily harm

or death; assault with weapon; actions that would result in serious injury to any person; actions that warrant
use of deadly force.
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Weapons
In three incidents (2.4%) the subject of the CEW use incident was armed with some type of
weapon. In two instances the subject was armed with a blunt weapon and one instance
involved a pointed weapon.

Nature of CEW Deployment
In 89 (70.1%) of the 127 CEW incidents the subject was warned that a CEW might be used if
he or she failed to comply with direction. In almost one-quarter (23.6%) of these cases, the
subject was warned more than once. In none of the 89 incidents was a warning alone
sufficient to gain the subject’s compliance. In 66 cases (74.2%) the warning was followed or
used in conjunction with a display of the CEW in an attempt to gain compliance with no further
use of the CEW.
In relation to the remaining 23 of 89 cases where the subject was warned that the CEW might
be used:
•

The CEW was displayed and then used in probe mode in 10 cases (11.2%).

•

The CEW was displayed and then used in stun mode in 10 cases (11.2%).

•

The CEW was displayed and then used in both stun and probe modes in three cases
(3.4%).

In total, display mode usage of the CEW occurred in 126 of the 127 cases (99.2%). The
CEW was used in display mode only (with no stun or probe mode usage) in over threequarters of the 127 incidents (101 cases, or 79.5%).
In total, use of the CEW in stun mode occurred in 14 of the 127 cases (11%). The CEW was
never used in stun mode only (with no display or probe mode usage).
In total, the CEW was used in probe mode in 15 of the 127 cases (11.8%). In one case, only
probe mode was used (with no display or stun mode usage).
The deployment of the CEW in both stun and probe mode (following display of the weapon)
occurred in three incidents (2.4%).
In all incidents the CEW used was the TASER M26, the CEW used exclusively by the Sheriff
Services.
The following four sections will review the more detailed results relating to display mode, stun
mode, probe mode, and combined stun and probe mode usage.
Use of the CEW in Display Mode
As previously reported, display of the CEW in the attempt to gain subject compliance was
present in 126, or 99.2 per cent, of the 127 CEW incidents. This type of use of the CEW
includes simple display of the weapon, “sparking” of the weapon, and targeting of the laser
sight on the subject. This method was often used (70.6%) in conjunction with one or more
verbal warnings.

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In most cases (122 cases, or 96.8%) one attempt to gain the subject’s compliance through the
display of the CEW occurred. In four cases (3.2%) two attempts were made to gain
compliance via this method.
In over three-quarters of incidents (102 of 126, or 81%) in which display compliance was
attempted the method was effective (or ultimately effective, where multiple attempts were
made) in gaining the subject’s compliance. This method was ineffective in 23 (18.3%) cases
and only temporarily effective in one (0.8%) case.
Where display compliance was ineffective the CEW was subsequently used in probe mode in
10 cases (43.5%), stun mode in 10 cases (43.5%), and both stun and probe modes in three
cases (13%). In the single case where display compliance was only temporarily effective, no
other CEW use was recorded.
Use of the CEW in Stun Mode
As previously reported, use of the CEW in stun mode occurred in 14 of the 127 cases (11%).
In all cases, use of stun mode was preceded by an attempt to gain compliance through
display of the weapon. In three cases (21.4%) use of the CEW in probe mode also preceded
the stun mode deployment of the CEW.
In over three-quarters of the 14 incidents (11 cases, or 78.6%) in which the CEW was used in
stun mode the subject was exposed to one stun deployment. In three cases (21.4%) the
subject was exposed to two stun deployments.
The single or first stun deployment most commonly targeted the subject’s back (five cases, or
35.7%), followed by the subject’s buttocks (three cases, or 21.4%), ribs (two cases, or 14.3%),
abdomen (one case, or 7.1%), and thigh (one cases, or 7.1%). In two cases, the location on
the subject’s body targeted by the stun deployment was not noted in the incident report. In
the three cases where there was a second stun deployment, the targeted area was the back,
the buttocks, and unknown.
Use of the CEW in stun mode was effective (or ultimately effective in the case of multiple
stuns) in controlling the subject in all cases.
Use of the CEW in Probe Mode
As previously reported, the CEW was used in probe mode in 15 of the 127 cases (11.8%).
In most probe mode incidents (14, or 93.3%) deployment followed display of the weapon.
The CEW was used in probe mode without a prior attempt to gain compliance through either
display of the weapon or a verbal warning in only one case.
Most probe mode incidents (12 of 15, or 80%) involved a single probe deployment cycle.
Three subjects (20%) were exposed to two probe cycles.
Information about the distance the officer was from the subject when the CEW probes were
fired was not recorded in three incident reports. The deployment distance was between one
foot (three cases) and 10 feet (three cases) where this information had been recorded
(average distance: 5.5 feet).
The duration of the probe cycles was recorded in 14 cases. In all of these cases the duration
of the probe cycles was listed as five seconds (the default duration) or less.
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In one-third of probe use incidents (five cases, or 33.3%) the location on the subject’s body hit
by the probe darts was not recorded in the incident report. Among the 10 cases where the
body location was known the most common location was the subject’s chest (50%), followed by
the back (20%), torso (10%), arm (10%), and leg (10%).
In one case (10%) the probe darts hit the subject’s bare skin.
Use of the CEW