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By Grant Welker
GateHouse News Service
Posted Aug 26, 2008 @ 09:53 PM

Westport -
Police officers will soon use Taser guns to subdue uncooperative suspects, the second area town to start using the devices this summer. The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved an electronic weapons policy Tuesday that allows officers to use the stun guns.
The Police Department already bought 25 Tasers using money left over from an unfilled position but needed selectmen approval to use the Tasers, which fire an electrical charge to cause involuntary muscle contractions, shocking the target. Police Chief Keith Pelletier said there have been many instances when officers instead have had to use batons or physical force.
Officers will begin mandatory eight-hour training sessions and will receive the guns once they are certified. The department had been considering adding Tasers for about three years, Pelletier said, but waited to see how well they worked in nearby communities.
Somerset approved Tasers for its officers at Town Meeting in May, and 32 guns were delivered to the department this month. As in Westport, every officer will have their own gun, which shoots up to 25 feet.
In other Police Department news, Pelletier will meet with selectmen at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 in Town Hall to discuss union contracts. Detective Jeff Majewski said he wanted town bylaws that require police details at road construction sites to be included in the contracts. Last fall, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed replacing paid details with civilian flaggers to save the state money.
Majewski has been an outspoken supporter of police details. When a Highway Department worker was hit by a car in July, the police spokesman and public safety officer said an officer should have been on site. "As a general rule, the responsibility lies with the construction entity to request an officer while working on town roads and highways," he said.
There were no cones, barriers or signs indicating work being done, and the worker struck was not wearing a reflective vest, Majewski said. The driver was not cited in the accident.
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