It’s official…..We are living in the Twilight Zone.
Well, at least the City of San Francisco is.
In a late night 4-3 vote, the San Francisco Police Commission authorized Tasers as use of force for the San Francisco Police Department.
A group of protesters did not take the news well and shouted “Shame!” inside City Hall.
Protesters refused to leave the chambers after the San Francisco Police Commission president ordered the room cleared when a woman giving her comment apparently refused to stop speaking.
Protesters outside the room could be heard chanting, “let us in!”
We spoke to use of force experts across the country and they were overwhelmingly supportive of the implementation of Taser’s with some questioning how any agency in 2017 doesn’t have them.
San Francisco Police Commander Pete Walsh told reporters after the vote that San Francisco and Boston are the only two major police departments that don’t have Tasers.
Major Travis Yates leads the Courageous Leadership Institute and develops training for agencies across the country and he calls the opposition of Tasers one of the silliest and dangerous ideas he has ever heard of.
“You have this technology (Taser) that has supported less injuries to suspects and police officers and has no doubt brought some of the least amount of deadly force toward violent and combative suspects that our profession has ever seen and there is this small group of citizens (approximately 40) that protest, yell and scream about it……I really have to wonder what those citizens want when they fight giving law enforcement a tool that is so basic and necessary, that virtually every police officer in America has one,” Yates told us.
A recent poll by KPIX said that just 10% of San Francisco citizens did not want law enforcement to carry Tasers with 83% saying they wanted officers to carry them.
“These protests consist of not only misinformed individuals but they do not speak for the City of San Francisco,” Yates said and that is the reason he tells leaders that they have to do what is right despite the vocal few.
Indeed, five people with a bullhorn have, in the past, been successful at changing the decisions and directions of our police leaders, and that can hurt the profession when research, common sense and officer safety demand a different approach and in San Francisco on this day, I hope that the leaders do what is right rather than what those that scream demand.
Robert Johnson is a 20 year veteran law enforcement officer currently working at a large metropolitan agency. His assignments have included narcotics, gangs and training. He joined Law Officer in 2017 as an Associate Editor.