By PoliceOne Staff
WAKE COUNTY, NC — A North Carolina sheriff’s office will no longer issue out TASERs to new deputies as it adjusts its use-of-force policies.
According to WRAL.com, several changes were rolled out on Tuesday during a deputy training session that includes phasing out TASERs and changing how police cover high-speed pursuits.
Deputies will now have to go “hands-on” with someone who doesn’t comply with commands and supervisors are now in charge of deciding when to pursue suspects.
"Are they happy about it? Of course not. Who would be?" legal adviser for the sheriff’s office Rick Brown said. "By the same token, they are willing to do their job. They don't want to hurt anybody. That's not their job."
Brown said the decision to phase out TASERs was based on a ruling that they may be seen as unconstitutionally excessive in some circumstances.
In the past, the decision to pursue a suspect was in the hands of deputies. With the new policy, Brown says a supervisor will make the call because they can more easily take into account factors like the traffic volume, weather conditions, the seriousness of the offense the fleeing driver is suspected of and pedestrians.
"There have been studies to show that you don't want somebody who has to concentrate on the driving skills that it takes to pursue somebody to be aware of all these other factors," Brown said.
The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association is reviewing the policy changes to make sure they are aligned with federal and state laws.