On the issue of tasers for police, City Council’s ‘let’s take our time’ attitude is probably the best way to go, although they may be doing it for the wrong reason.
Council’s concern seems to be centred around the cost, possibly as much as a million dollars, and who should foot the bill for the program.
But instead of asking who’s going to pay, shouldn’t we be asking if tasers are even part of the solution ?
The Attorney General’s announcment to allow tasers for front line officers was a reaction to the tragic deaths of Sammy Yatim and Steve Mesic this past summer.
But amid the public outcry over those deaths, the plea I heard was that, on the issue of dealing with people with mental health issues, there must be a better method.
I don’t think we were saying there must be a better weapon.
Police training is intense and ongoing, but front line police need more assistance in identifying and dealing with ever increasing issues of mental health .
I fully support giving police every tool they need to carry out their difficult job, and that may include tasers.
But, as we have witnessed , a better knowledge of the growing problem of mental health issues is not only a priority, it can be a matter of life and death.