Portland police should consider further restraints on when officers can use the TASER stun gun to stop a threat, and make it clear in its written policy that officers should fire a minimum number of stun cycles against a suspect, according to a city audit released Wednesday.
A review of 50 random Portland police firings of the TASER in 2009 showed they're mostly effective in resolving incidents, although police fired multiple cycles in about one-fifth of those cases. Officers often used more than one TASER cycle to gain a suspect's compliance; they used four or more cycles in slightly more than 20 percent of the cases examined.
"The safety of multiple cycles has not yet been studied to the satisfaction of some researchers, and although the rate of resolution might rise with each cycle of the Taser, so does the potential for injury caused by the Taser," the audit says.
City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade had the Audit Services Division conduct the review to determine how the bureau's policies compare with national models and if officers are following directives that are in place.