Taser use safety recommendations issued by Hamilton County task force

The Hamilton County Police Chiefs Association recommended in a new report Taser use be taken more seriously because of its dangers.

The report recommends a change in policies, policies the I-Team first reported could be flawed after a Taser-related death two years ago.

Everette Howard, Jr., 18, died on Aug. 6, 2011, after a University of Cincinnati police officer fired a Taser at him. The officer, Richard Haas, had said Everette failed to obey a direct order, which led to the use of the Taser.

The Howard family filed a lawsuit last summer against UC and Haas, and was awarded $2 million by the school as part of a settlement.

Cheviot Police Chief Joe Lally led the Hamilton County Police Chiefs Association on Taser safety. Lally said the chiefs approved recommendations of his report to ensure Tasers are working properly to protect officers and citizens. His recommendations are as follows:

1. The Taser should be used only when a suspect is threatening someone, not just passively resisting.

2. Officers should avoid chest shots

3. Medics should be called to examine suspects after every Taser deployment

4. Tasers should be regularly tested for their electrical output according to an international standard

The I-Team spoke with Dr. Douglas Zipes, an electrophysiologist and one of the world's foremost authorities on electricity in the heart, and he had a warning for local police officers.

"They should not use the Taser weapon in a haphazard, freewheeling fashion," Dr. Zipes said. "It really should be done very judiciously because of the potential for sudden death."

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