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Montgomery police temporarily pull Tasers

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CINCINNATI - Safety concerns have prompted another Tri-State police agency to pull its Tasers from use, but this time the Tasers are shelved for a different reason.

The 9 News I-Team has learned the Montgomery Police Department has pulled Tasers off officers' belts pending tests to make sure the weapons are operating properly.

"The chief indicated it would be a short-term situation, until we get them checked and make sure they fall within manufacturer's specifications," said Sergeant John Crowell.

The I-Team first reported a year ago that the weapons, which send electricity into the body to incapacitate a subject, are not required to be tested for their electrical output, unlike radar guns, breathalyzers or automatic defibrillators.

The I-Team revealed tests done in Canada showed many Tasers were under or overpowered.

A study by the National Institute of Justice in 2011 said, "The safety margin of (Taser) CEDs is subject to the variability in the output of the devices." (Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption, May 2011)

In August, local civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein led a group calling for Taser reform in the interest of protecting officers and subjects, and he called for, among other things, regular measuring of the devices.

"We don't know how much power each individual unit is putting out," he said.

Sometime this coming week Gerhardstein is expected to release his review of Taser policies for each police agency in Hamilton County.

This past week, Cincinnati police announced stricter limits on the use of Tasers because of growing concerns the weapon can cause cardiac arrest.  The department policy now states, "frontal shots are prohibited except in situations of self defense or defense of another."

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