The San Francisco Police Department may decide to follow the recent trend in other cities and arm its officers with Taser stun guns, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Currently, San Francisco, Detroit, and Memphis are the last remaining large cities in the United States where the police departments do not use Tasers. San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon has been pushing for Tasers, arguing that cops who carry them are less likely to have to resort to using guns. According to some studies, using Tasers may reduce police-involved shootings and save lives.
Tasers still face significant criticism in the city of San Francisco, a place known for liberal-mindedness. At a meeting of the San Francisco Police Commission, representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union voiced their concerns that Tasers are not actually non-lethal weapons. The ACLU says that more research needs to be conducted to determine exactly what role Tasers played in 400 in-custody deaths that have occurred since 2001. At the present time, all that is known is that all of those 400 deaths were associated with the use of Tasers.
A policy on Taser use by San Francisco police officers would take 90 days to develop; deployment could take at least a year.
Taser stun guns work by shooting 50,000 watts of voltage into the body, disrupting muscle control. Typically, people who are shot with a Taser fall to the ground. It is not uncommon for someone who has been tasered to incur head injuries, bruises on the face, or broken noses or teeth. Additionally, in some cases, fatalities have occurred.