Hamilton police use-of-force cases at 16-year low, reveals report

News Jun 19, 2017 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hamilton police saw a considerable drop in cases where officers used force last year.

There were 172 incidents in which officers utilized force in 2016 — the lowest in 16 years based on a report that was presented to the police services board on June 16. That’s down from 208 in 2015 and a high of 317 in 2005.

Officers are required to report all cases involving force, including when they discharge a firearm, use a weapon other than a firearm and utilize physical force that results in an injury requiring medical attention.

There were 18 incidents where an officer discharged a firearm last year. That’s down from the next lowest total of 30 in 2015. In all but one of those instances, guns were fired to euthanize injured animals. The other discharge involved the fatal shooting of Tony Divers on Sept. 30 on James Street South, which is still being investigated by the special investigations unit.

In addition to shootings being at their lowest during the recorded period, cases of officers using an aerosol and a hard impact weapon also were at their lowest.

There were seven incidents where an officer used pepper spray last year — that’s down from the next lowest total of nine in 2015 — and one incident in which an officer utilized an ASP baton to strike an “assaultive” individual in 2016 — that’s down from the next lowest total of three in 2014.

Cases of officers using Tasers dropped slightly last year.

Officers utilized Tasers — also known as conducted energy weapons — 143 times in 2016 compared to 145 times in 2015.

In 98 of the 143 cases, the weapons were used on “display mode,” meaning they weren’t discharged or fired.

They were most often utilized to “apprehend/control persons in crisis.”

Report presenter Sgt. Scott Galbraith said for officers, just having a Taser in their belt can be effective.

“Quite often that’s the best de-escalation tool that we have,” he said.

Board chair Lloyd Ferguson said he’s happy to see the numbers down.

It’s a “good news story,” he said.

“You can take what you want from the report, but clearly since we brought conductive energy weapons in, (use-of-force numbers) seem to have dropped significantly,” Ferguson said, adding even displaying Tasers is effective. “It’s an intimidation factor and generally diffuses a situation. It validates we made a good decision to put that extra tool on their belt.”

Hamilton police use-of-force cases at 16-year low, reveals report

News Jun 19, 2017 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hamilton police saw a considerable drop in cases where officers used force last year.

There were 172 incidents in which officers utilized force in 2016 — the lowest in 16 years based on a report that was presented to the police services board on June 16. That’s down from 208 in 2015 and a high of 317 in 2005.

Officers are required to report all cases involving force, including when they discharge a firearm, use a weapon other than a firearm and utilize physical force that results in an injury requiring medical attention.

There were 18 incidents where an officer discharged a firearm last year. That’s down from the next lowest total of 30 in 2015. In all but one of those instances, guns were fired to euthanize injured animals. The other discharge involved the fatal shooting of Tony Divers on Sept. 30 on James Street South, which is still being investigated by the special investigations unit.

In addition to shootings being at their lowest during the recorded period, cases of officers using an aerosol and a hard impact weapon also were at their lowest.

There were seven incidents where an officer used pepper spray last year — that’s down from the next lowest total of nine in 2015 — and one incident in which an officer utilized an ASP baton to strike an “assaultive” individual in 2016 — that’s down from the next lowest total of three in 2014.

Cases of officers using Tasers dropped slightly last year.

Officers utilized Tasers — also known as conducted energy weapons — 143 times in 2016 compared to 145 times in 2015.

In 98 of the 143 cases, the weapons were used on “display mode,” meaning they weren’t discharged or fired.

They were most often utilized to “apprehend/control persons in crisis.”

Report presenter Sgt. Scott Galbraith said for officers, just having a Taser in their belt can be effective.

“Quite often that’s the best de-escalation tool that we have,” he said.

Board chair Lloyd Ferguson said he’s happy to see the numbers down.

It’s a “good news story,” he said.

“You can take what you want from the report, but clearly since we brought conductive energy weapons in, (use-of-force numbers) seem to have dropped significantly,” Ferguson said, adding even displaying Tasers is effective. “It’s an intimidation factor and generally diffuses a situation. It validates we made a good decision to put that extra tool on their belt.”

Hamilton police use-of-force cases at 16-year low, reveals report

News Jun 19, 2017 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Hamilton police saw a considerable drop in cases where officers used force last year.

There were 172 incidents in which officers utilized force in 2016 — the lowest in 16 years based on a report that was presented to the police services board on June 16. That’s down from 208 in 2015 and a high of 317 in 2005.

Officers are required to report all cases involving force, including when they discharge a firearm, use a weapon other than a firearm and utilize physical force that results in an injury requiring medical attention.

There were 18 incidents where an officer discharged a firearm last year. That’s down from the next lowest total of 30 in 2015. In all but one of those instances, guns were fired to euthanize injured animals. The other discharge involved the fatal shooting of Tony Divers on Sept. 30 on James Street South, which is still being investigated by the special investigations unit.

In addition to shootings being at their lowest during the recorded period, cases of officers using an aerosol and a hard impact weapon also were at their lowest.

There were seven incidents where an officer used pepper spray last year — that’s down from the next lowest total of nine in 2015 — and one incident in which an officer utilized an ASP baton to strike an “assaultive” individual in 2016 — that’s down from the next lowest total of three in 2014.

Cases of officers using Tasers dropped slightly last year.

Officers utilized Tasers — also known as conducted energy weapons — 143 times in 2016 compared to 145 times in 2015.

In 98 of the 143 cases, the weapons were used on “display mode,” meaning they weren’t discharged or fired.

They were most often utilized to “apprehend/control persons in crisis.”

Report presenter Sgt. Scott Galbraith said for officers, just having a Taser in their belt can be effective.

“Quite often that’s the best de-escalation tool that we have,” he said.

Board chair Lloyd Ferguson said he’s happy to see the numbers down.

It’s a “good news story,” he said.

“You can take what you want from the report, but clearly since we brought conductive energy weapons in, (use-of-force numbers) seem to have dropped significantly,” Ferguson said, adding even displaying Tasers is effective. “It’s an intimidation factor and generally diffuses a situation. It validates we made a good decision to put that extra tool on their belt.”