University of Chicago Police Department Taser Deployment FAQs
What is a Taser?
Taser is the brand name for a conducted electrical device used by law enforcement to incapacitate an individual without using lethal force. Click here for the UCPD Policies and Procedures, which contain additional details on how Tasers are used.
- How was the decision made to implement Tasers?
The decision to implement Tasers was made after thorough evaluation of both the use and impact of Tasers within municipalities and on college and university campuses that have deployed them, as well as best practices for their deployment.
- Why are these devices being implemented now?
A large number of law enforcement agencies nationwide have equipped officers with Tasers, and we have learned from their experiences, particularly the development of restrictive policies designed to increase safety while minimizing risk. Additionally, the Chicago Police Department, which is the primary law enforcement agency within UCPD’s off-campus patrol area, has implemented the use of Tasers, so equipping UCPD with Tasers will provide greater consistency in policing practices.
- What impact do such devices have on public safety?
Studies have concluded that with proper training and restrictive policies, the devices are effective at reducing civilian and officer injuries while reducing the use of force. While in a number of circumstances they are not a viable option, in appropriate use-of-force situations, Tasers provide officers with an additional less-lethal option.
- What are the UCPD’s policies concerning Tasers?
Under our policies, UCPD officers must complete a minimum of 8 hours of department training from a UCPD Department-approved certified Taser instructor before being issued a Taser. Taser training and certification/recertification include the user demonstrating proficiency with the Taser, as well as training on the Department’s use of force policies. Officers are authorized to use the device against assailants under a restricted set of circumstances. You can find more information on our policies on this subject here.
- What additional kinds of training have officers received?
Along with completing a basic police training academy, all UCPD officers receive additional robust training that includes:
- Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS)
- Crisis Intervention Training
- Use of Force, in which de-escalation is an integral part of the training
- Use of Less Lethal Force
- Firearms Simulation, which tests judgment
- Weaponless Control Techniques
- Procedural Justice
- Bias Prevention
- Cultural Competency
- What are some publications that support the implementation of “less-lethal” technology?
- Police Use of Force, Tasers and Other Less-Lethal Weapons, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/232215.pdf
- President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf