The use of Tasers, guns and physical force by Ottawa police dropped to the lowest level in years in 2007 — the year after the service introduced a special premium for officers who regularly retake a course on the proper use of force.
Tasers were used only a dozen times by officers last year, said the police service's 2007 use of force annual report, which was to be discussed at the Police Services Board meeting Monday night.
That was the lowest number of uses in five years, even though 34 tactical officers were authorized to use the devices, and 61 front-line supervisors became authorized in November 2007.
Physical control was used 45 times — an eight-year low.
Officers pointed their firearms 212 times, the lowest level since 2002, the report shows. They were fired 51 times, in all cases to destroy animals.
Pepper spray was used 54 times, up slightly from the year before, but still one of the lowest levels since 2000.
Improved training lauded
Chief Vern White credits better training for the decline in the use of force.
"I went through use of force training two weeks ago," he said, "and I have to say I was totally impressed with the use of force training itself, the instructors."
I like this bit [my bolds]:
You're not suggesting the police now need to be bribed to take this type of training? Do the police want a pat of the back for this? I wonder how many people have been injured or worse because the police couldn't be bothered to keep their training up to date.
He added that the instructors encouraged officers to talk to the people they deal with before doing anything else.
Since May 2006, officers have been eligible for a special salary premium called responsibility pay if they take the use of force training course every 11 months.