The BART Police Department will return Tasers to its officers, two months after suspending use of the stun guns to update department policies and retrain officers.

"The policy was revised so there's only one way to carry a Taser, versus three," said BART spokesman Linton Johnson.

Officers now must carry the stun guns on their "weak" — nondominant — side, or they can choose not to carry one altogether. This has always been an option, but all officers have been trained on how to use them, according to Johnson.

The temporary suspension of Tasers went into effect in mid-April following two court rulings limiting use of the stun guns to defensive purposes. While the suspension was originally expected to last two weeks, it was delayed due to a back order on the holsters, Johnson said.

It's "hard to say" if most officers will opt to carry one, Johnson added. There are about 90 Tasers available for them to use and return at the end of their shifts.

One activist thinks officers should be required to carry Tasers and to carry them on their dominant side.

"If it can do what a regular weapon can do, they should use their Taser first," said Lorrain Taylor, founder of the Bay Area organization 1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence. "I'm neither for nor against Tasers, but I am for officers who are responsible whether using Tasers or other weapons when carrying out their responsibility."

She emphasized that officers carrying Tasers on their weak side might actually lead to more accidents.


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Taylor has been actively involved in protests following the death of Oscar Grant and has helped provide support for his family. Grant was an unarmed BART passenger who was shot and killed by former BART officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1, 2009.

Controversy surrounding the use of Tasers escalated after Grant's death. Mehserle's defense team has said he thought he had fired his Taser instead of his gun.

Contact Kimberly Chua at 925-977-8418.