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Summary of Electronic Weapons Use in Massachusetts

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2010
6 pages
This report on Massachusetts law enforcement agencies' use of electronic weapons presents information and data on relevant legislation, regulations, the number of agencies possessing such weapons between fiscal years 2006 and 2009, the number of times the weapons have been used, and the profiles of individuals targeted by these weapons.
Since July 2004, Massachusetts law has allowed law enforcement agencies to purchase and use electronic weapons. The law requires that the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) approve a department's training program for use and collect data on the use of electronic weapons. At the end of Federal fiscal year 2009 (FFY), the training programs of 61 law enforcement agencies had been approved by EOPSS, thus permitting them to use electronic weapons. The size of law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts authorized to use electronic weapons varies considerably. They ranged in size from an average of 9 officers to 474 officers over the 4-year period. Every officer who possesses electronic weapons must first attend a required training course. All of the law enforcement agencies with electronic weapons indicated that at least one officer had attended the approved training course, enabling him/her to possess the weapon. The percentage of officers in each department who completed the training ranged from 2-100 percent. Some agencies rotate or share electronic weapons instead of assigning them to a specific officer. Of the 61 agencies approved for electronic weapons use, 38 agencies reported using electronic weapons from FFY 2006 through FFY 2009. The remaining 23 approved agencies reported no use of electronic weapons over the 4-year period. The 38 agencies that reported using electronic weapons indicated they did so in 581 incidents. During these incidents, electronic weapons were fired 1,006 times. Of the 581 persons targeted by electronic weapons, 91 percent were male. Seventy-nine percent were White, 12 percent were Black, 11 percent were Hispanic, less than 1.0 percent Middle Eastern/East Indian, and less than 1 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. 1 table and appended listing of Massachusetts law enforcement agencies approved for electronic weapon use as of September 30, 2009