Senate: DLNR Officers Don't Need Taser Training

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Critics say a bill passed Tuesday by the Hawaii Legislature would lessen training standards for conservation enforcement officers who wield Tasers and other electric guns.

A bill now headed to conference committee would exempt officers with the Department of Land and Natural Resources from accreditation and recognition standards for electric guns. Instead, DLNR could wait until 2018.

Training standards for police, sheriffs and other enforcement groups are certified by a national organization called the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

The department wants the exemption for its Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, which has full police powers and enforces all state laws and rules involving state lands, parks, historical sites, forest reserves, aquatic life and wildlife areas, coastal zones, conservation districts and state shores.

DLNR says the accreditation process is lengthy and costly. The agency didn't include a cost figure in its written testimony.

But the ACLU of Hawaii says the legislation — House Bill 2681 — is a bad idea. By lessening training and standards, the state could expose itself to liability for use of excessive force.

People could also get hurt, says the ACLU.

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