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Study: Stun guns protect cops, save suspects

By Ford Fox, MD
Reuters Health

NEW YORK — Police departments that use "stun" devices like the TASER and other "less lethal weapons" such as pepper spray can expect to see rates of injury among suspects and officers drop dramatically, according to the first federal government-backed analysis of multiple police department arrest records.

As less lethal weapons rose in popularity and availability during this decade, local police departments tended to develop their own internal policies governing them, the study's authors note in their report in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The Department of Justice funded the study, one of several it says it will use to determine which "use of force" policies allow police to work most safely.

One concern of Amnesty International and other TASER critics is that police are more likely to use TASERs in situations that would not have called for physical force. That could mean that even if the injuries sustained by suspects are less severe than those they would have sustained during the use of other physical force, there are more injuries overall.

Read full story: TASERs protect police and save suspects, study says

Read Medical panel issues interim findings on stun gun safety

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