The Vancouver Police Department hopes to triple the amount of Tasers, or conducted energy weapons, that they currently own.
In a June 25, 2015 report to the Vancouver Police Board, a total of nine recommendations are made by Superintendent Daryl Wiebe, including the possibility of a Taser, or a CEW, in every patrol car.
Superintendent Wiebe explained in the report:
The VPD also recognizes that the CEW provides front-line personnel with an additional tool to assist them when dealing with people in crisis. As such, at the end of 2014 a commitment was made to expand the deployment of CEWs in Patrol to achieve 200 operators by the end of 2015. This rollout is ongoing, and is coordinated with a general upgrade to the existing CEW stock, and the rollout of a newer model of CEW. A further expansion next year will bring the total CEW deployment to 300 officers, and essentially puts a CEW force option into every patrol car.
Currently, officers use the X26 single-shot model of Tasers. They plan on slowly replacing these older models with newer ones. Wiebe does not specify which new model, however he indicates that these new Tasers will feature cameras.
It is predicted that the VPD will have 300 Taser units in total in 2016.
The VPD report also provided the price tag of all the new CEWs: “The cost of a CEW is ~$2,000.00, including the device, holster, cartridges, and testing equipment. The increase of 100 new CEWs for 2015 was funded late last year. A further increase of 100 new CEWs for 2016 is estimated to cost $200,000.00.” The VDP plans on spending a total of $400,000 on new Tasers.
Below is the complete list of all nine recommendations approved by the VPD Executives as outlined in the report:
1.That the VPD develop a policy document, in consultation with mental health professionals, that openly articulates the organization’s commitment to dealing with persons living with mental illness in the least intrusive manner, focusing on de-escalation techniques when dealing with persons in crisis, and the desired outcome of a resolution without the need to use force.
2.That the VPD Planning, Research and Audit Section develop an internal process that guarantees annual review of policies and procedures identified as ‘hig hrisk’ on a proactive basis, and based on a pre-determined schedule.
3.That the VPD provide additional mental health training, and specifically the MHCC program “Mental Health First Aid,” to police officers who are more likely to come into contact with persons living with mental illness. This training should also be provided to members who fill a leadership role in mentoring and developing other officers, including front-line Patrol supervisors and recruit field trainers.
4.That the VPD provide the MHCC program “Mental Health First Aid” to all new VPD police officers who graduate from the JIBC, thereby increasing their knowledge on mental illness in the formative stages of their career when they cannot yet draw on a depth of experience.
5.That the VPD expand its deployment of CEWs to front-line personnel, achieving a total of 200 operators by the end of 2015, and a further 100 operators by the end of 2016.
6.That the VPD Recruiting Unit incorporate applicants’ past experiences dealing with persons living with mental illness as a part of their overall competitiveness in the recruiting process, and recognize its value in assessing candidates to become police officers.
7.That the VPD incorporate the importance of demonstrated skills in de-escalation techniques into employee performance appraisals, and recognize members for their proficiency in this communication competency.
8.That the VPD continue to monitor the implementation of relevant recommendations, and report back to the Executive on progress after one year.
9.That the VPD share this report with other partner agencies, and the BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police, for their review and consideration going forward.