Tasers may not be only option of non-lethal weapons for San Francisco police.

The Police Department might finally equip its officers with Tasers,…

The Police Department might finally equip its officers with Tasers, but one major obstacle still exists: The police chief has to prove it is the best option available.

The Police Commission voted 6-1 last week to allow the department to study the use of Tasers. But the commission wants the SFPD to look into other so-called less-lethal alternatives.

San Francisco police officers already use less-lethal weapons in crime fighting. Batons have been at the side of an officer’s belt since the days of the Barbary Coast. Also, officers shoot pepper spray — a once-controversial option — to subdue people resisting arrest. Cops already have access to guns that shoot beanbag projectiles, and even K-9 officers are used in dangerous situations.

But in three fatal officer-involved shootings in 2010, police say those options were either not immediately available or ­ineffective.

Studies, such as a 2008 Florida Gulf Coast University report for the National Institute of Justice, show that among less-lethal options commonly used by many departments in the nation, Tasers are the most effective in stopping a potentially deadly criminal.

Source: Brent Begin for San Francisco Examiner.

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