SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley Police officers will soon be armed with tasers.
The police department was awarded a $3,900 grant, which will purchase four new taser guns.
Police chief Kevin Sangston has been researching the weapons for about a year and has been looking at ways on how it will benefit officers and the community.
“They’ll gives us a less lethal tool to use for when an officer makes an arrest and will be less likelihood of an injury to the officer, community members and suspects,” he said.
Sangston admits there have been cases of workers compensation injuries during arrests, that might have been avoided if the officer had used a taser.
Looking back on a specific moment, he can think of an incident when police officers were dealing with a suspect on bath salts, who used a piece of glass as a weapon and harmed an on-duty officer.
“That’s a situation we looked at that if we had tasers, we would have used them,” he said. “Looking at studies, it does decrease the amount of injuries to the officers, and you have to use it with a good deal of discretion based upon your training.”
Each officer will have to take a day-long course with a local training unit and go through additional training provided by manufacturers of the tasers.
“We won’t start carrying them until we’ve finalized our policies, had them reviewed by the city attorney and completed the training,” Sangston said.
And while some departments require police officers to be tased before being allowed to carry the taser, Sangston said it won’t be a requirement for Spring Valley Police.
“Although it does give the officer a better understanding of what the offender is going through and how best to deploy the weapon,” he said.
The department is currently working to finalize policies for the use of the new weapons.
“They are only going to be used when they are dealing with violent armed individuals or violent individuals who are a threat to the officers and the community,” he said. “Hopefully we can use the tasers as opposed to the firearm.”
While preparations for the tasers are in full swing, Sangston confirmed it will still be about two months before citizens will start seeing officers carrying them on the streets.
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