Howard County Prepares For New Taser Policy

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - The controversy over what defines 'excessive force' with a taser or stun gun made headlines last year after a 72-year-old woman was tased on the side of a Texas highway.

Now, a federal court ruling requires all law enforcement agencies to change the way they use stun-guns.

"It's stating that it should be used under one level under what is deadly force, and we're changing our policy to make sure it's met. Instead of using it on passive aggressive people, they have to be active aggressive to be justified," Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker, said.

Howard County officials say these changes also apply to where on a person's body can a taser can be shot.

"In the lower abdomen, we try to avoid the chest area and pelvic region as well," Chief Lonnie Smith, with the Big Spring Police Department, said.

Howard County law enforcement agencies say the departments taser policy already meets the federal courts requirements.

"We went through training in December, and we are prepared for it, because that's what our policies were before all this, we're just applying it again," Parker said.

"Whenever our officers use their tasers, they have to fill out a report," Smith said.