DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa law enforcement officers would have to receive standardized training on the use of stun guns before being allowed to use the devices under a bill approved Monday by the Iowa Senate.
The Senate unanimously approved a bill to regulate usage of the devices across the state. The legislation now goes to the House.
The bill would require the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy to establish rules for the use of stun guns and develop a safety course. The course would include situational training so that officers would be able to identify circumstances when stun guns are appropriate as well as determine instances where people can be severely injured when the devices are used against them.
This training would need to be completed before an officer could be equipped with the weapon. It also would require agencies to conduct an annual review of stun gun use.
There currently is no uniform training for the devices, though hundreds of Iowa law enforcement agencies use them. Several cases have led to accusations that officers misused the devices, sparking lawmakers' interest in the issue.
Sen. Thomas Courtney, D-Burlington, who sponsored the bill, said the measure is not intended to take stun guns away from law enforcement officers, but rather to ensure that they are being used safely.
"I want everyone to remember we're not taking anyone's Tasers away," he said. "We're just trying to see that they're trained in the use of these weapons."
Agencies now rely on manufacturers for limited training, and no follow-up training is required.