PSA chairman uncertain initiative will reduce police-involved shootings
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the government explores adding tasers to the police force’s crime-fighting arsenal, Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman Sonny Miller said yesterday less-lethal force weapons are a welcomed resource.
However, when asked if the introduction of tasers could see fewer fatal police-involved shootings, Miller said he was uncertain, noting that many of those incidents occurred as a result of very serious matters.
“Most of the police involved shootings were very serious incidents,” he told Eyewitness News.
“Based on the information that I get, if fellows are going to pull guns on my members, I can’t pull out a taser for you, so I won’t say that it may decrease or it may or it may not, but in almost every case I would say that my members are very cautious and well versed [and] justified in almost [every situation] when they decide to use their weapon.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames announced Sunday that senior officials are preparing to meet with Arizona-based Axon Enterprise, formerly TASER International, an industry leader in weapons and technology development for law enforcement and civilians, to determine the viability of their use.
On its homepage, Axon notes: “Officers aren’t trained to shoot to kill. They are trained to stop a threat. They use tools they are given, and often have less than a second to make life or death decisions.
“Let’s give them better tools and out the toughest decisions in the hands of the courts.
Yesterday, Miller said the initiative will be useful to the police force.
However, he said the introduction of tasers must be coupled with new legislation and the appropriate training.
“It is a very good initiative and it’ll be very helpful to us, but one of the things I will encourage amd what we will do from the association is ensure that the government lives up to its end and puts the legislation in place for us to be able to carry this stuff and use this stuff,” he said.
“… I don’t want none of my members; I would encourage my members not to use them if the legislation is not in place. Outside of that, once the legislation is in place, then of course I know as it’s stated, I’m sure the commissioner will assist in having the officers trained in the use of them because we don’t just give people stuff and send them out on the road.
“As long as legislation is in place and training is there, we welcome it. I can tell you members have been calling about it and we support the initiative as long as those two things come hand in hand with it.”