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Police change Taser policy

Ashland police officers will no longer be required to write a report if they unholster their Taser stun guns after Chief Terry Holderness voiced concerns that the reporting requirement might cause officers to feel inhibited about having the weapons at the ready.

Officers will still write reports if they actually use the stun guns, which deliver an electric shock.

The Ashland Police Department purchased the guns for all officers and issued the weapons in April 2008. Back then, the City Council asked that the department track the number of times the guns were unholstered in a field situation and when they were used.

Officers have unholstered their stun guns eight times since April 2008 but have not used them, Holderness reported to the City Council last week.

Holderness said research consistently shows the stun guns are one of the safest ways that officers can use physical force. He said they are safer than other non-lethal weapons such as batons.

City Council members agreed to leave it to Holderness to decide whether Ashland officers will have to write a report for unholstering a Taser. Holderness said his choice will be to not require such reports.