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Local police chiefs not rushing to change Taser policies

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It was just last week a Cincinnati attorney released a report critical of Taser usage by area police departments. Now those departments are forming a task force to get more information.

The 18 page report from attorney Al Gerhardstein criticized the departments for not banning upper chest shots, and not adequately warning that Tasers can lead to death. Gerhardstein's firm is representing the family of Everette Howard, one of four local Taser deaths in the past four years.

Sharonville Police Chief Michael Schappa says the Hamilton County Chiefs of Police Association is forming a task force to make sure their guidelines are in line with safety standards.

"Just review some of these issues and see what, if anything, needs to be addressed and how it needs to be addressed at this point. So until there is a more substantial conclusion, no I'm not going to make any changes to our practices at this time.

However Schappa says there are some perceived inaccuracies in Gerhardstein's report and he wants to wait for the police task force findings. The man who trains Hamilton County Sheriff deputies on the Taser, Sgt. Tony Orue says Gerhardstein's report isn't some big revelation.

"We are constantly monitoring what is happening locally, what's happening nationally and what the recommendations from the manufacturer are so to make sure we are operating within the law and suggested practice."

Orue says the department has the same concerns as the report and doesn't want to cause unnecessary harm to anyone.  

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology