Thetford Incident Exposes Local Concerns About Tasers

07/31/12 2:20PM

A state trooper's use of a stun gun on a Thetford man last month has renewed concerns about the weapons' use in local police departments.

Macadam Mason died after police used a stun gun on him. Police say they were responding to a report that Mason was threatening to harm himself and others.

They say Mason was struck in the chest after he went after the trooper. Mason was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where he later died.

Now, town officials in Randolph are considering whether to require that a person who has been shot with a stun gun get a medical clearance before they're released or jailed.

And some residents in Berlin raised concerns about excessive force after the town's Select Board agreed to buy four Tasers for its seven-person police force.

In Hardwick, police follow a policy on Taser use developed by state police. But the town manager says a plan proposed by residents that's tighter than the state police policy is being considered.

Most Vermont communities that issue stun guns to their police follow a policy issued by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, which was created by an insurance company to protect towns against lawsuits.

Since Macadam Mason's death, Vermont mental health advocates have called for a moratorium on the use of stun guns.

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public_post randolph berlin hardwick police tasers stun_gun public_safety politics cities
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