BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut State Police were issued Tasers, or conducted electronic weapons, in 2006. Since then, the protocol on when to use them has gotten more strict.
“Our department command staff determined we were going to change where it fell on the use-of-force matrix,” said Trooper Matthew Allen, who trains other officers in use-of-force at the State Police Academy. “They raised it to a higher level of force.”
Now all police departments in the state follow minimum standards for when to use a taser. Trooper Allen says police can only use them when someone is actively resisting commands.
“They have to articulate based on the totality of the circumstances that that person is actively resisting,” Allen said. “I’m trying to control the person with force and he’s applying it back to me.”
Back in March, a mentally-ill man died after an altercation with Branford police. The report said David Werblow was trying to enter cars as they passed on the street. Then he entered a parked vehicle and police hit him with a Taser.
This week, the State Medical Examiner ruled that Werblow died after a physical altercation and electric shock, while suffering from a psychotic episode due to schizophrenia.
Trooper Allen explains that the use of force matrix gives a lot of weight to the perception of the officer involved.
“It all depends on the situation. Depends on totality of circumstances being presented to officer at that time and their perception of what’s occurring,” Allen said.
Branford police say the two officers most immediately involved in the incident remain on administrative leave while the investigation continues.