The panacea for police shootings in Los Angeles does not appear to be equipping police officers with more tasers, according to a Los Angeles Times investigative piece. According to the article, the "effectiveness rate" of tasings by the LAPD was 53% in 2015, as compared to 60% to 65% in prior years.
Clearly the LAPD and taser-maker Taser International need to investigate why half of LAPD's tasings go awry or are ineffective. But in the meantime, the LAPD and other agencies can begin to implement a de-escalation strategy that centers around communications tactics and community policing instead of militarized policing and electroshock weaponry like tasers.
Nobody appears to know why LAPD officers were unable to "subdue" suspects with tasers in so many cases and "had to" instead shoot and kill those suspects. But possible reasons include heavy suspect clothing, uncooperative tasing victims and officer misuse of the taser weapon.
Tasers have many problems associated with them -- including the fact that tasers have been linked to hundreds of deaths. Yet even when used properly and sparingly tasers and other fancy, lethal weaponry cannot substitute for a de-escalation policy that involves communication and a de-militarized approach to dealing with communities and the individuals in them.
In the attached video, law enforcement veteran and de-escalation advocate Kevin Dillon explains that officers need to be better trained in communication and de-escalation techniques and that such sensitivity training must be integrated with combat training for maximum effectiveness. It is a theory based on the notion that "the ultimate warrior is the one who can get his opponent to concede without force."