Shocking: Philly police get their first Tasers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - August 26, 2008 Up to a dozen officers who completed a training program are carrying the electrical stun guns.

Officials sifted through prison data on inmates who had mental health issues and decided to focus training on de-escalation techniques and tactics in three police districts in North Philadelphia.

Lt. Fran Healy says the specially trained officers will use Tasers as a less than lethal use of force during potentially violent encounters, especially with people in "mental crisis."

Healy calls the Tasers "just an additional tool." Police also carry pepper spray and batons.

Officials hope to have about 160 officers trained in the program by the end of 2008.

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