BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A five-member Public Safety Board for the city of Bloomington has announced the Bloomington police will begin a multi-month pilot program of deploying electronic control weapons.
The press release by the department stated that ECWs are commonly referred to as Tasers. The program will provide the devices to some officers as an additional less-lethal option to study their effectiveness in reducing the number of injuries to both suspects and officers.
The devices would typically be used when officers encounter an individual who “physically resists arrest.”
The proposed pilot program was presented to the Board of Public Safety in two public meetings in July and August.
The board had earlier asked the police department to review all recommendations from former President Obama’s “Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.”
Equipping officers with ECWs was the sole remaining action item that the department was able to implement but hadn’t completed.
The Board of Public Safety is a civilian oversight board for the police department with members appointed by the mayor. In their review, members provided suggestions regarding the program and requests for data to be shared publicly while underway.
All uses of ECWs would be reviewed and studied to determine the circumstances for use and whether the less-lethal option helped reach pre-determined goals in reducing injury and potential death of officers and suspects.
Officials said the program will continue into 2024 when a recommendation will be made as to whether to continue the use of ECWs and whether all officers should be equipped with the technology.
Currently, all other law enforcement agencies in Monroe County equip their officers with ECWs.