As an additional measure to maintaining safety on the Ann Arbor campus, University of Michigan Police Department officers will now carry electronic control devices (ECDs), also known as Tasers, effective July 1.
The devices, commonly carried by police officers nationwide, will address a gap between the tools currently available to UMPD officers: chemical spray or baton and a firearm.
U-M Police officers also will be equipped with body-worn cameras in the coming months. The cameras are supplemental to dashboard cameras, already in use, and aid in conducting thorough, impartial investigations.
“The safety and protection of our faculty, staff and students is our No. 1 priority,” says U-M Police Chief Robert Neumann. “We believe these new tools are an important investment in the safety of our community members while enhancing the protection we provide our officers.”
UMPD is the latest among public four-year university law enforcement agencies in the state of Michigan to equip officers with ECDs and joins the 75 percent of university police agencies in the state using the devices. With UMPD now equipped with Tasers, all local law enforcement agencies in Washtenaw County have Tasers.
The Division of Public Safety and Security and UMPD leadership collaborated to develop a comprehensive policy on Taser use. Officers are authorized to only use a Taser on subjects who are resisting arrest or are threatening serious harm to themselves or others.
“Our officers strive to gain voluntary compliance whenever possible. However, if physical control techniques are necessary, the new option of Tasers provides a safety benefit for both the subject and the officer.”
All UMPD officers must complete extensive training before being issued a Taser, including the initial certification training course and a required annual refresher training. Training includes practical, hands-on instruction and classroom sessions as well as a passing a written test and demonstrating proficiency with the device.
The decision to add Tasers as an option for University of Michigan police officers was made after years of research and discussion by police and university leadership. A recommendation from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was among this research and suggested the development and implementation of less-lethal technology.
For more information on UMPD Taser deployment, please see the Taser FAQ.