‘I wouldn’t do this job without a gun’

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

High Prairie’s peace officers may soon have another weapon to use at its discretion.

Council is supporting a request from the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers to allow its officers to use tasers, also known as conductive energy weapons.

“It’s a tool,” says the town’s senior peace officer, Alan Bloom.

“Batons can break bones, your pepper spray is a very, very unpleasant tool so to speak.

“The taser is an effective deterrent. In my opinion, it’s a definite need for our safety.”

Bloom’s comments came at council’s June 25 meeting.

The suggestion came at the AACPO’s annual general meeting Feb. 7. Back in 2012, an AACPO member was killed in the line of duty while investigating a dog complaint in Foothills County. A fatality inquiry took place in 2017 and the report released in 2018 which cited concerns for peace officers’ safety.

The AACPO says peace officers face the same danger as RCMP officers and need similar tools and protection. The organization presented a report citing the use of tasers results in up to 70 per cent less likelihood of injury to peace officers compared to a baton or pepper spray.

The offender also has a 50 per cent less chance of injury.

Councillor Arlen Quartly summed up council’s stand.

“I am for this. I wouldn’t do this job without a gun. This is something I think you need.”

The next step is for the AACPO to lobby the Alberta government to allow the use of tasers for peace officers.

Support from other municipal councils in Alberta is also being sought.

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