Police departments will be required to report their usage of electronic weapons to the state under a bill approved by the legislature on the final night of the session.
By 2015, departments will need to adopt rules on the use of Tasers that meet a policy developed by Police Officer Standards and Training Council.
They also will be required to submit annual reports to the state Office of Policy and Management with details on incidents when the stun guns were used. The bill calls for data on the race of the people tased, the number of times the electronic weapon was used on each person, and the injuries they suffered if there were any.
Enacting rules on the use of Tasers has been a priority of the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. They met this year with the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association to negotiate a policy, which was passed both chambers during the last week of the session.
In a press release, the Connecticut American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP lauded the passage of the bill, citing the April death of José Maldonado. Maldonado was the 14th person to die in Connecticut after being tased, according to the press release, which says 10 of those people were African American or Latino.
“This is a drastic disparity that we must address before more people die,” Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP of Connecticut, said. “Police have represented Tasers as non-lethal but we’ve learned otherwise.”
David McGuire, staff attorney for the ACLU, said the annual report also will help inform policy governing use of the stun guns.
“With that information and with policies that specifically address electronic weapons, we will move us toward safe and appropriate use of this important but potentially lethal law-enforcement tool,” he said.