Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G03-02-04
Taser Use Incidents
Issue Date:16 October 2017Effective Date:16 October 2017
Rescinds:30 October 2014 Version of G03-02-07
Index Category:Field Operations
I.Purpose
This directive outlines the policy governing the field deployment of Department Taser devices.
II.Policy
  • A.Sanctity of Human Life. All incidents will be resolved with the foremost regard for the preservation of human life and the safety of all persons involved. A member's decision to utilize a Taser will be made in accordance with G03-02, "Use of Force."
  • B.De-Escalation. Members will use de-escalation techniques to prevent or reduce the need for force when it is safe and feasible to do so based on the totality of the circumstances. This includes continually assessing the situation and modifying the use of force as circumstances change and in ways that are consistent with officer safety.
  • C.When Use is Authorized. Department members' use of a Taser must be objectively reasonable, necessary under the circumstances, and proportional to the threat, actions, and level of resistance offered by a subject. Consistent with G03-02-01, "Force Options," Department members are authorized to use a Taser only for an active resister or assailant, and only for the purpose of gaining control of and restraining the subject.
  • D.Prohibitions. Although Tasers are considered less-lethal weapons, they can cause serious injury or death. For the safety of everyone involved, the following additional restrictions apply:
    • 1.Explosion Hazards. Tasers will not be used in any environment that contains potentially flammable, volatile, or explosive material.
    • 2.Removing Barbs. Members will not remove Taser barbs embedded in the subject's flesh.
    • 3.Multiple Tasers on One Subject. Members will not use multiple Tasers against the same subject, unless a member already attempted to use a Taser against the subject but the probes did not make contact with the subject.
    • 4.No Drive Stuns. Drive stunning is prohibited unless the subject is defined as an assailant and other force options are not readily available or would otherwise be ineffective.
    • 5.Persons Vulnerable to Injury from Tasers. Tasers will not be used on a subject who is at a greater risk of serious injury or death from taser use, unless the subject is defined as an assailant and other force options are not readily available or would otherwise be ineffective. People who are at a greater risk of serious injury or death from Taser use include, but are not limited to, children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
  • E.Increased Deployment Risk. Department members will balance the risks and benefits of a Taser deployment based on several factors, including, but not limited to: threat to the officer, threat to the subject and the public as well as the availability of other force options, and the likely outcome of their use. Before Taser use, Department members should consider the seriousness of the offense and whether Taser deployment is immediately necessary. When practicable, Department members should avoid the use of a Taser on subjects who:
    • 1.are elevated above the ground or are in an unstable position (e.g., tree, roof, ladder, ledge, balcony, porch, bridge, or stair);
    • 2.could fall and suffer an impact injury to the head or other area;
    • 3.could fall on a sharp object or surface (e.g., holding a knife, falling on glass);
    • 4.may be less able to catch or protect themselves in a fall (e.g., restrained, handcuffed, incapacitated, or immobilized);
    • 5.may have impaired reflexes (e.g., from alcohol, drugs, or certain medications);
    • 6.are running, or are otherwise in motion;
    • 7.are operating or riding any mode of transportation (e.g., vehicle, bus, bicycle, motorcycle, or train); or
    • 8.are located in water, mud, or marsh environment if the ability to move is restricted.
  • F.Justify Separate Uses of Force. An initial Taser application and each subsequent application of Taser energy (either re-energizing a discharged cartridge with the ARC switch or discharging a second cartridge) must be individually justified and documented on the Tactical Response Report (TRR) as a separate use of force.
  • G.Department members will refer to the Department directive entitled "Taser Devices" for specific procedures on Taser device protocols including training, maintenance, assignment, and accountability.
III.Conditions on the Field Deployment of a Taser
  • A.Field Deployment of a Taser. A field deployment of a Taser is:
    • 1.any probe discharged, including accidental discharges;
    • 2.any initiation of the ARC switch to re-energize the subject;
    • 3.the use of a spark display during a use of force incident; or
    • 4.the use of the device by physical contact to drive stun a subject.
    NOTE:
    It is not considered a field deployment of a Taser if the Taser and/or laser pointers were merely displayed but no electricity was displayed (warning arc) or discharged.
  • B.Authorized Manner of Use. A member who is discharging a Taser device will, when possible:
    • 1.give verbal commands and warnings prior to, during, and after deployment of the Taser, including informing other Department members on the scene of the deployment of the Taser.
    • 2.aim for subject’s back below the neck area. When frontal shots are necessary, aim for lower center mass (below chest or area of the heart) and legs.
      NOTE:
      It is recommended that Department members deploy the Taser to the subject's back whenever possible.
    • 3.discharge probes when the member is within 18 feet of the subject (and ideally when the member is within 7 to 15 feet of the subject).
    • 4.use only one five-second energy cycle (the default length of an energy cycle when the Taser trigger is pressed and released) and reassess the situation before any additional cycles are given or cartridges are discharged.
    • 5.if the subject is incapacitated, immediately attempt to restrain the subject while he or she is incapacitated.
    • 6.if the subject has been exposed to three, five-second energy cycles (or has been exposed to a cumulative 15 total seconds of energy) and the member has not gained control of the subject, switch to other force options unless the member can reasonably justify that continued Taser use was necessary to ensure the safety of the member or another person.
  • C.Request Supervisor. As soon as practical, a member who has used or anticipates using a Taser will request that a supervisor respond to the scene.
IV.Post-Discharge Responsibilities
  • A.Deploying Member. Immediately upon gaining control and restraining the subject, deploying member will:
    • 1.avoid placing additional stress on the subject (for instance, avoid kneeling on the subject);
    • 2.notify the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) of the Taser deployment;
    • 3.request the appropriate medical aid, including contacting emergency medical services (EMS) from the Chicago Fire Department, if:
      • a.the subject was exposed to electricity;
      • b.probes penetrated the subject’s skin; or
      • c.the subject appears to be in any physical distress or complains of injury.
    • 4.complete a Tactical Response Report (TRR) (CPD-11.377) for all field deployments of a Taser consistent with the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled "Incidents Requiring the Completion of a Tactical Response Report."
    • 5.complete the appropriate case report and other required reports and submit the reports to their immediate supervisor for review and approval.
  • B.Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). OEMC will immediately notify the:
    • 1.involved member(s) immediate supervisor.
    • 2.field supervisor and the watch operations lieutenant from the district of occurrence.
    • 3.Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC).
  • C.Responding Supervisor. The assigned responding supervisor will:
    • 1.respond immediately to the scene and assume command and oversight of the scene unless relieved by a higher-ranked responding supervisor.
    • 2.ensure the scene is protected and processed in accordance with the Department directive entitled "Crime Scene Protection and Processing."
    • 3.determine whether to request an evidence technician to process the scene. An evidence technician will be requested if:
      • a.the Taser deployment occurred in a residence;
      • b.the Taser deployment occurred in an area other than a residence, whether indoors or outdoors, and the responding supervisor determines an evidence technician is required; or
      • c.probes penetrated the subject’s skin and any other injuries incurred as a result of the Taser deployment. In this situation, an evidence technician must be requested to photograph the location of injury or probe penetration.
    • 4.take control of the Taser device and deliver it to the assigned investigating supervisor.
    • 5.request the Street Deputy to respond to all Taser deployments that result in serious injury or death.
    • 6.if a death has occurred as a result of a Taser deployment, ensure the Mobile Crime Lab and Bureau of Detectives personnel are requested.
    • 7.review the deploying member’s TRR and complete the appropriate section of the TRR consistent with the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled "Incidents Requiring the Completion of a Tactical Response Report."
      NOTE:
      The responding supervisor will attach a copy of the Taser deployment data sheet to the TRR.
  • D.Investigating Supervisor. The watch operations lieutenant, or assigned investigating supervisor the rank of lieutenant or above, from the district of occurrence, will:
    • 1.ensure that a supervisor at least one rank higher than the deploying member responds to the scene of the Taser deployment when such a supervisor is available.
    • 2.notify the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) (or CPIC when COPA is not available) and ensure that a log number is obtained.
    • 3.investigate the incident and document the investigation on the Tactical Response Report (TRR).
    • 4.download the deployment data from the Taser and print a copy of the deployment information.
      • a.If unable to download the Taser deployment data (required equipment is inoperable or not installed), the investigating supervisor will designate a Department member, preferably a supervisor, to report to an adjacent district with the involved Taser to await the download and printing of the Taser deployment data sheet and return the untampered Taser and data sheet to the investigating supervisor.
      • b.When alternate locations are unable to download the Taser deployment data, the investigating supervisor will ensure that 2nd watch personnel hand-carry the Taser device to the Taser Repair Center to download the deployment data and print a copy of the deployment information.
    • 5.ensure all evidence from the scene of the Taser deployment is inventoried, including:
      • a.the discharged probes, which will be detached from the wires and inserted, pointed ends first, back into the cartridge;
      • b.the used cartridge(s), which will be wrapped with tape to secure the probes inside the cartridge; and
      • c.a copy of the Taser deployment data sheet.
    • 6.for incidents which do not require the presence of the Street Deputy, review the deploying member’s TRR and complete the appropriate section of the TRR consistent with the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled "Incidents Requiring the Completion of a Tactical Response Report."
      NOTE:
      The investigating supervisor will ensure all the attachments are included in the TRR, including the Taser deployment data.
    • 7.ensure the expended cartridge is replaced from the district/unit supply. When needed, replacement cartridges may be requested from the Taser Repair Center.
      NOTE:
      A copy of the TRR will be presented to the Taser Repair Center for replacement cartridges.
  • E.Street Deputy. In all cases in which a subject has been seriously injured or a death has occurred in conjunction with a Taser deployment, the Street Deputy will:
    • 1.proceed to the scene, assume command of the scene, and personally conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the incident.
    • 2.ensure that all tasks delineated for subordinate personnel are performed.
    • 3.review the deploying member’s TRR and complete the appropriate section of the TRR consistent with the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled "Incidents Requiring the Completion of a Tactical Response Report."
Kevin B. Navarro
Acting Superintendent of Police
16-021 TSS/MWK/RCL