Miami Beach police introduce new Taser, new policies

Officers to no longer stun suspects in chest, stun person in handcuffs

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Later this week, dozens of Miami Beach police officers will begin training with a new Taser.

The move comes after the Miami Beach Police Department announced some changes to its Taser policies and procedures on Tuesday.

Police told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden that the new Taser is bigger, brighter and ultimately safer for both police officers and suspects.

The chief of police describes the Taser as a "smart weapon" that's safer and more compassionate.

"Let's face it. There have been a handful of tragedies around the country, and we're familiar with our event as well," Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates said.

The new Taser comes two years after Israel Hernandez, 18, died after he was hit in the chest by an officer's Taser.

Prosecutors cleared the officer, but now an internal investigation is underway. Oates is limited on what he can discuss, but he did make one thing clear.

"I recognize what my responsibilities as police chief are," Oates said. "That we learn whatever we can from that matter, and what we are releasing today is part of that process."

Beginning Tuesday, the Miami Beach Police Department will begin implementing new policies and procedures for officers using their Tasers.  Some of the changes include:

-Officers can no longer hit a person in the chest.

-A person may not be stunned by a Taser more than three times.

- Tasers can't be used to intimidate a person.

-Officers will not be able to stun someone who's in handcuffs.

READ: Full policy

"If I deploy two darts and they're too close, what I would do is move this somewhere else and put it somewhere on your body," Officer William Collado, who is the department's master Taser instructor, said.

Collado said the new Tasers use less energy but still get the same results.

In April, a reserve deputy in Oklahoma made a fatal mistake thinking he was firing his Taser, but instead shot his gun, killing the suspect.

Police believe the new policies and Tasers will make the streets safer for police and the public.

Police said the new Tasers also collect data, so investigators can see how many times an officer used it.

Follow Michael Seiden on Twitter @SeidenLocal10

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