Official says state officers will get stun guns

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa will begin arming state law enforcement officers with stun guns, a public safety official has told lawmakers.

Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble said that after an extensive review, officials have decided to equip state officers with the devices, according to the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/L9wSm6).

Noble told lawmakers Tuesday that officers would receive at least eight hours of initial training followed by four hours of annual training.

“I think what it amounts to, it’s another tool. If the person you’re trying to subdue and arrest can go without injury, that’s what it’s all about,” Noble said.

It’s unclear how many officers will be equipped with stun guns. State law enforcement officers include those working in the Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Stun guns are used by more than 250 Iowa law enforcement agencies. Lawmakers are reviewing how officers are trained to use the devices following several allegations of misuse, including one case last fall in Muscatine County where a mentally ill woman was shocked four times in an effort to force her to change her clothes.

In that case, the sheriff found no rules were broken, but he declined to say how he came to that determination.

Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington, said he supports instituting statewide training standards for stun guns.

“I hope that we can standardize training … that the Legislature will feel comfortable (and) that everybody is being trained the same,” Courtney said. “And that they’re not just being trained how to use the device but when to use the device and when not to use the device.”

Noble said the state is taking bids from manufacturers and hopes to buy the devices by July 1.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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