The San Francisco Police Commission voted Wednesday night to approve a policy for the use of Taser stun guns by police officers, a move that could possibly see officers armed with the less-lethal weapons as soon as the end of the year.
In November, the commission voted in favor of arming police officers with Tasers, but before their use could be implemented the commission first had to approve a policy governing their use.
Along with laying out specifications for the use of Tasers, the policy advises officers to make special considerations on whether to use the device if a person is pregnant, elderly, a child, or has some other heightened risk of an adverse reaction.
"We need to provide officers with every tool and resource available to keep our communities safe. Having less-lethal options such as CEDs [Conducted Electronic Devices] will allow the SFPD to carry out their mission of protecting the sanctity of life above else," Mayor Mark Farrell said in a statement following the vote.
Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association said in a statement that the police union was pleased with the vote but wants to review the policy itself and determine what can be changed or improved.
The union has also placed a measure, Proposition H, on the upcoming June ballot that outlines a policy for the use of Tasers. If passed, it would allow the Police Department to request funding for the devices as soon as 45 days after it is enacted.
The commission's November vote approving Tasers included an amendment postponing implementation to this December, when the department's recently revised use of force policy will have been in effect a full two years.
"The POA has long sought less-lethal options for SFPD officers. This is a major victory for public safety, common sense and for our members. Undoubtedly, Proposition H, on the June Ballot, and the weight of public support behind it, pushed the commission towards approval."
The approval of Tasers has long proved to be a controversial move in San Francisco and has been marked by protests and outcry from various community groups in light of several high-profile officer-involved shootings in recent years.
However, in 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice called for San Francisco to consider the use of Tasers as part of a set of 272 recommendations for reform within the Police Department.