Stun Gun Standards

stun gunsVERMONT - The Vermont House has given preliminary approval to bill H.225 that would create statewide standards on electronic stun gun use by police. Yesterday, News7 reporter John Kazar spoke with a St. Johnsbury senior officer who has used his stun gun while on patrol.

"When it gets to that point... hopefully the officer is able to revert to their training and they're able to make a snap decision at that particular moment what's necessary or appropriate to take that person into custody," Said Senior Officer Lester Cleary.

The use of Tasers and stun guns has been an issue at hand since Thetford resident MacAdam Mason lost his life in June of 2012. Trooper David Shaffer fired his Taser at Mason, in fear of "serious bodily injury," striking Mason in the chest, leading to his fatal cardiac arrest.

Mason's surviving family felt Shaffer used excessive force leading to an unlawful death, prompting the House to order additional training when it comes to the use of Tasers.

"The bill is saying that there is a distinct possibility, however small, that someone could die as a result of the use of a Taser," Says Cleary. Mason's mother, Rhonda Taylor, says the bill is still not specific enough, and gives police officers too much leeway when it comes to the use of weapons.

The bill was amended Tuesday, dealing with the de-escalation of incidents in an effort to avoid the use of force. Bill H.225 was amended again on Wednesday, mandating officers to get mental health training.

After passing through the House, the bill is now moving to the Senate.