Roseville resident captures police using Taser on loose dog
Police chief says officers did ‘fine job’ for the circumstances
By Bria Brown
In efforts to keep a loose dog from running onto Gratiot Avenue, Roseville police used a Taser on it March 12. The incident took place at the intersection of Longfellow and Pinehurst streets. Roseville police successfully returned the dog to its owner.
Posted March 17, 2017
ROSEVILLE — Roseville resident Lauren Melcher Davis’ Facebook post of Roseville police tasering a loose dog at Pinehurst and Longfellow streets had been shared more than 5,000 times and had more than 200,000 views as of March 16.
Originally posted at 2:17 p.m. March 12, Davis wrote, “Roseville police tasering a non aggressive loose dog directly in front of me and the owner’s friend and continued to shock him even after the dog was on a control stick! SICK AND UNACCEPTABLE!! I understand tasering the dog initially to stop it from either getting into it with my dog or running onto Gratiot, but to shock the dog multiple times AFTER getting it on the stick is NOT OKAY!”
Davis went on to state that she supports the officers but wants proper training.
“I FULLY SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT AND AM NOT OUT FOR THE OFFICERS INVOLVED TO BE FIRED. I want TRAINING. That’s all. Proper training on the tools they’re given to use. PLEASE stop twisting this as me being anti police because I am NOT,” stated Davis.
According to Davis, who spoke to the Eastsider, the dog had run loose in the area in the past.
“This is not the first time I’ve seen the dog loose in our neighborhood. He is scared of people and did not want anything to do with humans,” she said.
Davis described what she saw Roseville police do during the incident.
“They tried to use their cars to block the dog, and the dog dodged their cars. One officer jumped out of his car with the Taser. As soon as I saw him jump out and his hand at his belt, that’s when I grabbed my phone out to start recording,” said Davis.
“I jogged down there, started recording, and the other officer was out of his cruiser at that point with the catch pole. By that time, the dog had been shot with the Taser. They eventually managed to get the catch pole on the dog,” she said.
As stated in her Facebook post, Davis made it clear that she was fine with the initial shock, but she didn’t think the officers needed to continue shocking the animal once it was on the catch pole.
“They continued to tase the dog. They continued to shock the dog as it was on the control pole as they loaded (the dog) into the car. I have no issue with the initial use of the Taser to stop the situation. My issue is with the continued use of the Taser,” she said.
Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said that once Roseville police captured the dog, they did not continue to shock the animal.
“On our Taser, there is a button on there called the ‘arc switch,’ which emits a shocking sound that is heard, but it does not emit the charge to the probes. The dog was only tased one time, and that was done strictly to prevent the dog from getting into Gratiot to save his life.”
After Berlin said that the dog was shocked only once, Davis told the Eastsider March 17 that she still has concerns about the officers needing more training.
“Anyone who watches the video can clearly see it was not one shock,” said Davis. “It doesn’t add up to me. There was more than one voltage delivered to that dog. What I saw, and now what I’m being told what I saw does not add up to me. Again, it’s about training. I’m very concerned about the level of training,” said Davis.
She noted other areas of concern besides the Taser.
“Watching the way they used the control pole, they did not know how to use it. The officer repeatedly said, ‘I don’t know how to lock this thing.’ They automatically lock,” she said. “I’ve used them several times to get dogs out of crawl spaces. They are simple tools, but if you’ve never been taught how to use one, it can be confusing.”
Davis doesn’t want the officers fired.
“I don’t want the officers fired, I don’t want them reprimanded — they did what they could with the tools and training they were given. My bottom line is they need training if they’re going to spend over half of the hours of the week being Roseville’s animal control, they need to be trained as such,” said Davis.
Berlin believes his officers did their job.
“Under the circumstances, our officers did a fine job. Their only goal in this was to safeguard that dog and the public,” said Berlin.
Berlin said the officers used the Taser to keep the dog from running onto Gratiot.
“They used the Taser as a last resort to prevent the dog from getting into Gratiot. If (the dog) would’ve gotten into Gratiot, not only would it have been a bad result, but the dog would’ve been struck by a car and/or caused a car crash. Neither result did we want to see happen,” he said.
Berlin said necessary training for animal control is “touched on in the academy, but it is an ongoing process.”
According to Berlin, Roseville police were able to get in contact with the dog’s owners.
“The dog’s owners were extremely complimentary and thanked (Roseville police) for saving their dog’s life,” said Berlin.
About the author
Staff Writer Bria Brown covers Eastpointe and Roseville as well as East Detroit Public Schools and Roseville Community Schools for the Eastsider. Bria has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2016 and graduated from Oakland University.
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