Less lethal force necessary for policeThe Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), Dec. 3
New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, one of the more proactive attorney generals in recent years, created an advisory group this summer to study whether police should be equipped with less lethal weapons such as Tasers. New Jersey currently does not allow police to use Tasers to incapacitate suspects. Nor are New Jersey police equipped with or trained in the use of rubber ammunition and similar alternatives.
The advisory panel - which is comprised of both law-enforcement officials and mental- health experts - held its first public hearing last week.
"Less lethal" weapons are not without controversy. Note that they are not called "non-lethal." Even rubber bullets can kill and maim. And, the humans-right group Amnesty International says more than 150 people in the United States have died after being stunned with a Taser.
There's nothing wrong with the study process now under way in New Jersey; seeking testimony and weighing pros and cons in a deliberate manner is always wise. But don't drag this out too long. Police need less lethal alternatives now - before the next incident in which an emotionally distressed or mentally ill individual leaves a police officer no choice but to shoot to kill.