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By Marc Munroe Dion
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Aug 13, 2008 @ 08:25 PM

Somerset -
Thirty-two brand new Tasers have arrived at the police department and training in their use can begin immediately, said Police Chief Joseph C. Ferreira.
The Tasers were approved at Town Meeting this May, and officers on patrol will carry the Tasers as soon as possible, Ferreira said.
The department received the money for the weapons on July 1 and purchased the Tasers from a dealer in Maine.
A Taser is an electric gun used by an increasing number of police departments. It fires two darts attached to wires into a suspect's body. The darts then release a massive electrical charge that incapacitates the suspect for a few minutes, usually long enough to get the person in handcuffs.
Ferreira spoke in favor of buying one Taster per officer at April budget meetings with the Board of Selectmen and before Town Meeting, defending the $41,000 price tag for 32 Tasers and training. On a voice vote, Town Meeting Moderator Lucia Casey declared the warrant item requesting the Tasers to be a "nearly unanimous" pass.
Ferreira said statistics he's seen show that Tasers are cost-effective.
"They reduce the use of lethal force," Ferreira said. "They reduce workers compensation claims and injuries to officers and they reduce the amount of lethal force litigation."
Ferreira said he favors one Taser per officer because it provides better accountability when one of the weapons is used.
"We don't trade our handguns back and forth," Ferreira said.
Ferreira said when a Taser is used, it records the incident but not who fired the Taser, making it better in terms of accountability if one Taser is assigned to every officer.
Ferreira said he's spoken to chiefs in neighboring towns such as Raynham and Swansea and discovered that one Taser per officer is standard, though that isn't the case in Fall River and New Bedford.
"The larger cities can't afford to buy 300 or 400 Tasers," Ferreira said, explaining why suburbs and towns are more likely than cities to have one Taser per officer.
Ferreira said the possession of a Taser by officers working traffic or construction details can have positive results, since officers assigned to those details often find themselves involved in other law enforcement matters.
"We have had occasions when detail officers have solved significant crimes, including an officer who stopped a car driven by a bank robbery suspect and a recent case in which a detail officer recovered a stolen car, several of whose occupants were wanted," Ferreira said.
As for training in the use of Tasers. Ferreira said that's covered.
Somerset Police Sgt. Jay Borges and Patrolman Jared Linhares have been trained in the use of Tasers, he said, and are qualified to train other officers.

http://www.heraldnews.com/police_and_fire/x33720592/Somersets-finest-now-armed-with-Tasers
 

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Ferreira said the possession of a Taser by officers working traffic or construction details can have positive results, since officers assigned to those details often find themselves involved in other law enforcement matters.
"We have had occasions when detail officers have solved significant crimes, including an officer who stopped a car driven by a bank robbery suspect and a recent case in which a detail officer recovered a stolen car, several of whose occupants were wanted," Ferreira said.
Will flagmen be issued Tazer's along with thier vests? You know, just in case they come across a wanted criminal, not that such things really happen according to the Legislature and media.
 
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