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New Taser Law Takes Effect in Connecticut

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The reform is the first of its kind in the nation, and it works like this: every time police fire a Taser, they'll have to file a "use of force report."

"It's a very thorough report," said David McGuire with the ACLU of Connecticut. "It goes through the person's race, their age, their height, their weight; how the Taser was used; what mode it was used in; how many times it was fired; whether the person had an injury; whether medical assistance was provided."

Police also need to attach electronic data that's uploaded directly from the Taser.

McGuire said that for some Connecticut police departments, the new mandate won't change much. He pointed to East Haven, which -- due to a 2012 consent decree from the Department of Justice -- has restructured its policing policies. 

McGuire said that department now provides a model for how other departments should log Taser use.

"In our case," said Brent Larrabee, East Haven's Police Chief, "they had a policy dating back to 2009, which was probably -- at the time -- just as good as it could be. But because of the circumstances here, we've certainly gone much farther and much more in depth, particularly about supervisory review, capturing all of the electronic data, storage of the electronic data, [and] mandating officers to make sure any time they use force, that a supervisor is there to investigate."

Starting next year, all Taser use data will also be posted online through the state Office of Policy and Management.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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