The fatal police shooting AlainMagloire, 41, who was shot and killed by Montreal police this week after he threatened officers with a hammer, has renewed a debate about whether all officers should be equipped with stun guns.
The victim's brother Pierre Magloire is calling for all police officers who work downtown to be equipped with stun guns or Tasers.
“In case of an emergency, this is an alternative resource. Instead of shooting people, they're going to use the Taser gun first,” Magloire said, adding that police officers should also get more training on how to deal with the mentally ill.
“We have to send more resources. We have to give police more [training] so they can deal with people with mental health problems.”
A police source confirmed to CBC that a Taser gun was en route to the scene of the police intervention involving Alain Magloire, but it arrived too late.
Magloire says if the officers had been equipped with a stun gun, things might have ended differently for his brother.
“It's unacceptable that a policeman who's doing the first intervention has to call another policeman to come help with a Taser gun. This is ridiculous,” Magloire said.
‘A valuable tool’
Montreal police currently have 58 Tasers for 4,500 officers. Of those, 160 officers are trained to use them.
In most U.S. police forces, all officers are equipped with stun guns.
Nir Maman, the managing director of the Canadian Tactical Officers Association, recommends the use of stun guns in high-risk interventions.
"I do believe that stun guns are a very valuable tool, and that every officer should be equipped with one," said Maman, who has trained thousands of police officers in tactical interventions.
But Maman admits stun guns can be expensive — and controversial.
The use of stun guns by police has been linked to deaths.
A study last fall by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences concluded that negative health effects from stun guns were "extremely rare", but the study acknowledged that more research was necessary.