Officers of the Palo Alto (Calif.) Police Department are now completing a TASER training program and should be fielding the non-lethal stun weapons by the end of the month, according to Chief Lynne Johnson.

The department bought 100 TASERs back in July but decided not to deploy the weapons until all sworn personnel was trained in their use. The 16-hour training program covers how and when to use the weapons. As part of the training officers may volunteer to be shot with a TASER, but exposure is not mandatory.

In May the Palo Alto City Council barely approved purchase and deployment of the weapons. They also discussed limiting the TASER to use as a substitute for deadly force. However, that idiotic idea was dismissed and the Palo Alto police will be authorized to use the TASER in situations where they now use batons and other non-lethal weapons.

Palo Alto resident and former deputy public defender Aram James has waged a vocal campaign against the TASER. He says they are “unsafe” and has asked the council to reconsider its position.

Final wording of the department’s TASER policy must be approved by the council.

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