Front-line officers in Toronto should be allowed to carry tasers but provincial regulations prohibit them from doing so, said Deputy Chief Michael Federico in response to questions about how police respond to mentally ill people in crisis.
On Thursday, the Toronto police held a rare demonstration of how they are trained to deal with such situations. The news conference at the police college came less than a week after a man carrying two pairs of scissors and wearing a hospital gown was fatally shot on a street during an altercation with police. The event was organized before the death and police say they aren’t permitted to discuss that incident while it is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit.
Tasers are an option all trained officers should have, Deputy Chief Federico said in an interview, but Ontario regulations set out that only supervisors and specialized units can carry them.
There’s a supervisor on the road during every shift, the Deputy Chief said. “Police officers are not completely without access to a [taser]. But again, situations may unfold too quickly for a supervisor to arrive.”