Bloomington Police to pilot less-lethal weapon program

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) – The Bloomington Police Department will soon begin a multi-month pilot program to use and deploy electronic control weapons (ECWs), also known as tasers.

The program was introduced to and reviewed by the Board of Public safety in July and August of this year.

In its pilot phase, a limited number of officers will receive the necessary training to be equipped with and use tasers.

The department’s use of force policies have been updated to permit the use of tasers, which states that officers may use the weapons to subdue anyone forcibly resisting arrest, using force against an officer or other person, demonstrating imminent use of force against, or when an individual is harming themselves.

The department policy clearly states restrictions on when tasers are not allowed to be used.

Aside from being used to punish a person, electronic control weapons are not permitted on handcuffed individuals, people detained in police cars, anyone driving a vehicle, as well as anyone known to have a pacemaker or known to be pregnant.

Other law enforcement agencies in Monroe County currently equip officers with electronic control weapons. Bloomington Police officers currently have impact weapons, including batons and flashlight, which have their own training guidelines and restrictions.

The pilot program will continue into the next year and be reassessed whether to continue the program and to equip all officers with electronic control weapons.