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BART to redistribute TASERs to police force

The use of stun guns was halted nearly two months ago for officer training

Contra Costa Times

San Francisco — The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Department will start redistributing Tasers to its force this week, nearly two months after the use of stun guns was halted so that officers could be retrained and updated on new department policies.

"Beginning this week and hopefully completed by next Monday or Tuesday, we will redeploy Tasers to all police zones," police Cmdr. Dan Hartwig said Monday night, adding that officers will be able to choose whether or not to use them.

BART issued a memo in mid-April letting officers know of the temporary suspension of Taser use.

BART Acting Police Chief Daschel Butler said at the time the department had been in the process of updating its Taser policy, and that the new policy incorporates best practices of other agencies and findings of a report conducted by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The comprehensive report by NOBLE was conducted following the New Year's Day 2009 killing of BART passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle.

The use of Tasers by BART police officers has been controversial since Grant was killed at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.

Hartwig said officers who choose to use Tasers will now be required to wear the stun gun on their "weak" side, where as officers previously had three options of where to wear the Taser.

Copyright 2010 Contra Costa Newspapers

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