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Raynham police want to buy tasers

By Sharon Holliday, Enterprise correspondent
RAYNHAM — Voters will be asked at the Feb. 15 special town meeting to approve the purchase of 10 non-lethal Taser weapons for the town's Police Department.

Selectmen Tuesday approved an article for the request of $10,000 for the stun guns.

Deputy Police Chief Louis Pacheco said after the meeting that the electrical stun guns cost about $1,000 each and will be used in addition to conventional weapons.

Pacheco also noted that until recently, Massachusetts had been the only state in which police departments have not been allowed to use the weapons.

Gov. Mitt Romney signed legislation July 15 that allows law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts to use Taser technology.

"Basically, they'll be used instead of using deadly force," Pacheco said.

The weapons, which are about the size and configuration of a handgun, shoot small, electrically-charged darts that temporarily stun and disable a suspect.

"In towns where they've been used, officer injuries have been reduced by 80 percent," Pacheco said.

"If a man has a knife and is going to hurt himself, an officer or someone else, then a stun gun could be used on him and he wouldn't have to be shot," he said.

Pacheco said two officers in Raynham were forced to retire about 14 years ago as a result of injuries sustained during struggles with suspects.

Pacheco said an officer on the force recently had to disarm two suspects with knives.

"There's a lot more drugs and guns around. The stun guns just give us another tool and a non-lethal option. And they leave marks that have to be justified in police reports," he said.

Pacheco said each officer trained in the use of the guns is also required to be shot by one.

"It paralyzes you. It's a lot like an electrical fence," he said. "You stiffen up like a string on a bow and then you collapse. But as soon as the effect stops, there's no after-effects."
 

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Garbage!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I am not looking forward to being zapped anytime soon but if the department you are with chooses to issue them do the officers HAVE to be zapped or can they say NAY? I didn't mind the OC but I have a weird feeling that getting a hit from the taser will suck big.
 

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Last month a sgt from my dept went to taser instructor school and was hit with it. He said it sucked but it was not as bad as oc because it is over with in 6 seconds.
 

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Let's review:

Taser makes you get zapped, not the department. It's part of the Taser training program, not a department thing. Taser does this to get test data and to add to the numbers of people that have been tasered...nothing more.

If your department wants tasers but you don't want your folks to get shocked, there is an alternative program that Taser doesn't talk about where you do not get shocked.

Also note the way the law is written right now, every taser instuctor and the mfg reps that bring tasers into MA are violating the law.
The ONLY people that can have tasers are police, not sales people, not mfg reps, not the mfg in the state, no one EXCEPT POLICE...so please do us all a favor and write your state rep and let them know you want the best support you can get...that vendors selling Taser, high capacity magazines, patrol carbines and non AG approved but EOPS approved handguns should be allowed to do so and added to the exemption.
 

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There were alot of people calling the radio stations, including a few from Raynham. Most of the citizens or shall I say policing experts, were claiming there is no crime in their town, the police do nothing, there is no need for tazers. Thats ofcourse until their house is being robbed, someone is getting their a** kicked near them, or their significant other is knocking them around. Then ofcourse its different. Nothing like listening to that garbage after a mid shift when the clueless townspeople are tucked safely in bed...
 

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Tasers a pricey alternative to bullets

By Maureen Boyle, Enterprise staff writer
Lack of cash rather than worries about the safety of stun guns may wind up zapping some police departments' chances of getting the weapons for now.

"It comes down to the dollars," Carver Police Chief Arthur Parker said.

Police departments throughout the region said the $800 to $1,000 price tag of the Taser-brand stun guns, roughly twice the cost of a typical officer's gun — plus the cost of training officers to use them — would slow efforts to buy the weapons, despite a three-month-old law that cleared the way for police in the state to use them.

Only police officers can carry stun guns, weapons initially banned in 1986, in Massachusetts.

"It is not necessarily a priority right now," Pembroke Chief Gregory Wright said. "We are in a budget cycle now. It wouldn't be something we would do this year."

"With the budget constraints that is a big concern," West Bridgewater Police Chief Donald H. Clark said.

Raynham has one of the few police departments in the area taking steps to get the weapons in officers' holsters.

Town meeting voters next month will be asked to approve $25,000 to buy Taser guns and train the department's 25 officers on using them.

"It is a good alternative to have," Raynham Police Chief Peter King said. "You can't call a bullet back."

His deputy agreed.

"Anyone who is against them hasn't worked the street," Deputy Police Chief Louis J. Pacheco said. "It's a good tool. The departments that have used them decreased injuries 40 to 50 percent."

Mansfield Police Chief Arthur M. O'Neill said getting Tasers for his department is "under active consideration" but the weapons likely wouldn't be bought until after Jan. 1. "If we can use something to avoid death or injury to somebody we are dealng with, we will want to use it," he said.

Taser stun guns fire two dart-like probes with wires that can hit a target up to 21 feet away and deliver a 50,000-volt burst of electricity, incapacitating a suspect long enough for police to put on handcuffs.

Supporters of the weapon say it gives police a less-than-lethal alternative for subduing some suspects. Critics say police may be tempted to abuse the weapons because the guns do not leave physical injuries.

There have been a flurry of lawsuits filed across the country, including one filed in Long Island in September, alleging stun guns either caused or contributed to deaths.

Amnesty International, a human rights group, said more than 50 people died since 1999 after being shocked with stun guns, a claim denied by the Taser company and the American Civil Liberties Union has raised concerned about the weapons.

"The general concern is that the science is not all in on the safety of this technique and, number two, even if this is a lesser degree of force, there is the concern that it is a method of force that is being used when maybe no force is needed," Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney for the Massachusetts ACLU chapter.

Taser International, makers of the weapon, this week said a study by the Department of Defense and a center established by the Air Force research laboratory found Tasers are "generally without significant risk of unintended results" and it was unlikely the weapons were the cause of the deaths.

There are also worries that use of alcohol-based pepper spray with the Tasers could cause a fire. "There are sprays that are not alcohol-based," O'Neill said. "You have to be aware of what pepper gas you are using. ... You have to remember this it is a less than lethal device. It is a device you use before you go to lethal force."

Several police chiefs said they would review studies about the technology but there did not appear to be any evidence that would lead them to bar use of the stun guns.

"What I know of right now, I would not be opposed to getting them," East Bridgewater Police Chief John L. Silva Jr. said. "I don't think there is anything on the table that puts up a red flag to me."

Abington police Chief David Majenski said police departments will weigh the pluses and minuses of the technology before buying.

"There are liability issues with everything," Majenski said. "At this point, we are going to sit back and wait for others to use their expertise, to see what product is the best and the most effective."

Other departments are also taking a wait-and-see attitude.

"We have limited experience in the technology," Bridgewater Sgt. Christopher Delmonte said. "It sounds good, but let's see if it works."

Hanover Police Chief Paul Hayes said he plans to send one of his firearms instructors for training on the Taser — then wait to see what type of funding for the weapon may be available.

"We may see if any homeland security funding is available to help us," he said.

Brockton Police Chief Paul Studenski said he has no plans yet to buy the weapons.

"We are going to take it very slow," he said. "We are watching everybody who uses them and what they do. It is a big investment."

Whitman Deputy Police Chief Raymond Nelson said departments are scrutinized closely on funding and it may be tough for some to get the money to buy stun guns.

"Once we had the finance committee ask us why we needed bullets," he said
 

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Tasers are probably going to end up being more trouble than they're worth. I firmly believe they should be available, just not carried by everybody on their duty belt.
:-k
 
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