improving the Minneapolis police Taser policy. Much of that work has been
as a member of the Mpls Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA).
Tomorrow's meeting, sponsored by the CRA, is an important step in bringing
the work of the CRA to the public and receiving your public comments on
the Taser policy, and on the overall question of how police policies
should be formulated and approved.
Wednesday, July 15, 6:30pm
Town Hall meeting on Taser Policy
Sponsored by the Mpls Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA)
Room 319 of City Hall, 350 S. 5th St. (use after-hours entrance: the
center doors on 4th St. - north side of building)
I encourage you to come to this - it will be very interesting, and a good
turnout and good comments would be helpful to show how important
this is to the public! There will be an opportunity for all viewpoints to be
Quick background: In 2006 the Mpls City Council passed a new Taser policy
which was adopted by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in return for
the authorization of the purchase of 160 new Tasers. It wasn't perfect,
but it incorporated many recommendations suggested by the CRA. In August,
2007, the MPD made a change to that policy, essentially removing nearly
all of it from their policy manual. They did this without consulting, or
even notifying, the City Council or the CRA. They said that they had just
moved the policy to their training manuals. When we finally were able to
look at a training manual, it was clear that almost all of the important
provisions were gone, and officers were given much greater discretion.
For instance, they removed restrictions on more than one officer Tasering
a person at a time, or intentionally using the Taser on the head, neck,
face, or genitalia.
The CRA has recommended that the previous policy be reinstated. The MPD
has recently rejected that recommendation.
The Daily Planet has published some very good background information on
the meeting and on the history of the Taser policy:
Or, if that link is too long, find it at:
There is a lot to read there, and many good links. This is part of a
larger issue: The MPD changed its entire Use of Force policy in August
2007. The Taser policy is just one section of that, but it is one that is
very controversial and easier to understand than much of the rest. We
need to eventually look at the entire Use of Force policy and the changes
made. Good policy is essential in providing clear guidance to police
officers, and in holding accountable those who violate the policy.
Here is the announcement put out by the CRA:
POLICE TASER® POLICY THE SUBJECT OF PUBLIC FORUM
Minneapolis police oversight agency will provide the public a chance to
speak before City Council debates how changes are made to Minneapolis
Police Department's policy manual
DATE: Wednesday, July 15, 2009
TIME: 6:30 - 8:30pm
LOCATION: Room 319, Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.
(use after-hours entrance: the center doors on 4th St. - north side
The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) invites the public
to attend a forum addressing the Police Department´s Taser® policy and the
question of when and how changes are made to the Minneapolis Police
Department (MPD) Policy and Procedure Manual. City Council members will
also be invited to attend and participate. Board members will explain the
history of and differences between the former and current policies for the
use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs, the generic term for Tasers).
After the presentations, the CRA will invite public comment on the current
CED policy, and when and how changes should be made to the MPD's policy
and procedure manual.
This public forum comes one week before the City Council's Public Safety
and Regulatory Services Committee will consider measures to govern how
changes are made to the MPD's Policy and Procedure Manual. The manual
provides the standard of conduct that both the MPD's Internal Affairs Unit
and the CRA look to when determining if police officers committed acts of
The City Council debate and CRA forum are in response to the MPD changing
their 2006 CED policy without notice to City Council. The police
department's adoption of the 2006 CED policy was required as part of the
City Council´s approval of MPD's purchase of 160 new Taser® CEDs. That
policy was the result of a collaboration between the CRA, City Council,
and the Police Chief. It contained specific directives, such as only one
officer should activate a Taser against a person at a time, and
restrictions on employing Tasers on passive subjects, children, visibly
frail persons, pregnant women, etc. The MPD changed that policy on August
17, 2007, apparently giving officers much greater discretion in the use of
CEDs. The CRA Board has recommended a return to the policy adopted in
The Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority investigates and makes
determinations regarding complaints brought against any Minneapolis Police
Officer. It may also review Minneapolis Police Department policies and
training procedures and make recommendations for change.
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an
interview with CRA staff, please call the CRA office at 612-673-5500 or
email the CRA at <email obscured>