Vail has used Tasers used six times
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail police have used Tasers on six people since they started carrying the weapons last December.
All of the people who were shocked were trying to fight or aggressively resist police officers, Vail police said.
Vail Police Cmdr. Susan Douglas said the Tasers have provided the police force with a way to use “less than lethal force” when dealing with unruly suspects.
None of the six people was injured by the model X26 Tasers, Douglas said.
A 295-pound man was shocked at the Red Lion last February after he refused to leave the bar, police say.
“You better gather all your guys because I’m not leaving without being physically removed!” the man told the staff at the Red Lion, according to the police report.
The man was resisting three Vail police officers and tried to hit an officer, according to the report. The officer used her Taser on the man, and then Tased him two more times as he continued to fight, police said.
Other Taser incidents include:
– A mental health patient who was being transported in July from the Vail Valley Medical Center was shocked in the parking lot of the hospital after he fought with officers, Douglas said.
– A man who was being held in “protective custody” at the Vail Police jail was shocked in August after he was assaulting police officers, Douglas said.
– Also in August, a man at Dobson Arena during a Hispanic dance was arrested for allegedly having cocaine, Douglas said. The man resisted arrest and was shocked, she said.
– Again in August, a man was caught trespassing at the Vail Mountainview Residences construction site, Douglas said. He tried to fight a police officer, who tried to subdue the suspect by striking his chest with the palm of his hand, Douglas said. When that was unsuccessful, another officer shocked him with the Taser device, she said.
The effect of the Taser, which causes muscles to be temporarily incapacitated, allows officers to move in and handcuff a suspect, Douglas said.
None of the Vail incidents resulted in injury, but questions have arisen nationwide about Tasers because of deaths tied to the devices.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has asked police departments to re-examine their use of Tasers in light of at least six alleged Taser deaths in Colorado since 2002.
In 2006, ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein called for Tasers to be only used in situations that “present a substantial threat of death or serious bodily injury.”
“Police department have continued using and acquiring Tasers, and people have continued dying,” Silverstein said Wednesday.
“Using a Taser is better than using a firearm,” he said. “It could save lives.”
Douglas said, in Vail, Tasers are very high up on the department’s “continuum of force,” right below “deadly force.”
“It’s really high up there,” Douglas said. “We don’t use it until all of the other levels are not effective.”
Besides Tasers and guns, Vail officers also carry a collapsible batons and pepper spray, Douglas said. Each officer who carries one of the department’s 15 Tasers took eight-hour training classes, Douglas said.
The Vail Town Council voted last October to allow the police to carry the Tasers.
Eagle County Sheriff deputies and Avon Police officers already carry electro-shock devices.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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