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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Beach Police Department is rolling out changes to its Taser policy and transitioning its officers to new devices.
“This is the latest and best weapon that’s out there. It’s a much safer weapon than the one that we’ve been carrying for the last number of years,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.
The changes follow a comprehensive review of its existing policy due to several high-profile police incidents, including the death of 18-year-old Israel Hernandez two years ago.
The teen’s death sparked national outrage over the use of Tasers.
Miami Beach Police demonstrated how the Taser X-2 Smart weapon works.
Some important safety features include a new aiming component which helps officers determine where the probes are likely to strike their target.
For safety reasons, the new Tasers are yellow instead of black.
“This way when this weapon is taken out, everyone, the officer, fellow officers, the suspect or the target, will all know that it’s a Taser, it’s not a handgun,” said Oates.
The department has also made what it calls modest policy changes.
One of the changes was officers cannot use the weapon unless someone is being threatened.
Another was officers should also not send the charge into the body of the person more than three times.
“If it’s not working at that point, which would be an extreme rarity, you should choose some other way of controlling the person,” said Oates.
The city has purchased nearly 350 devices at a cost of half a million dollars.
Officers are scheduled to start training on how to use the new weapon this month.
By November, the department’s entire patrol force is expected to be equipped with the new taser.