Advertisement

Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Troopers will carry Tasers

April 10, 2006

Advertisement

The Kansas Highway Patrol months ago showed interest in its troopers using Tasers as a less deadly alternative when they need to use force against an unruly suspect.

Highway Patrol authorities at the time said they would ask Kansas residents for their thoughts and gauge responses before handing out the electronic stun guns.

"By working and sharing ideas and concerns, we can better serve you," the patrol told residents in its introduction to an online Taser safety survey.

But public opinion might not stop troopers from using the weapons.

According to procurement records on file with the Kansas Department of Administration, the Highway Patrol began asking for the Tasers months before the deadline for public reaction.

According to a Highway Patrol timeline for implementing the electronic weapons, the public had 60 days to comment on the patrol's possible use of Tasers. The deadline for surveys is Tuesday.

But the patrol issued a request for bids for 40 model X26 weapons - produced exclusively by Taser International Inc. - on Feb. 24, 14 days after the survey period began, Department of Administration records show.

The bidding closed March 10, with the Highway Patrol agreeing to pay for the Tasers and other equipment.

Chris Howe, director of the Kansas Division of Purchases, said the state received two bids for the weapons, with the Highway Patrol agreeing to pay Taser International close to $41,700 for the stun guns and equipment.

Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. John A. Eichkorn said the request for the weapons was part of the agency's plan for implementing the Tasers, and that public input never was required to order the weapons.

"All of this is a phased deployment," Eichkorn said, adding that the Highway Patrol anticipated "that the public is going to support this equipment."

The Tasers will be used in the field and then, depending on the results, the patrol will arm more troopers with the weapons or review their use further, Eichkorn said.

The Highway Patrol's plan for implementing the Tasers included steps to identify the department's responsibilities when using force, evaluate the surveys and create a comprehensive training program - all before officers begin testing the weapons in the field.

County use on hold

The Douglas County Sheriff's Department has received Tasers but has not yet allowed officers to use them in the field, department spokeswoman Keri Wempe said.

The department is reviewing policy and procedures for how and when the Tasers will be used, but Wempe said the Tasers would not be placed at a specific point on the use-of-force scale - meaning they won't be designated as a last resort or a first option.

"The situation is going to dictate how use of force is going to be done," Wempe said.

The Lawrence Police Department does not use Tasers. Wichita and Kansas City, Mo., police officers have used the weapons as an alternative to other less-deadly weapons such as batons or pepper spray.

Some controversy

The electronic weapons have created controversy in recent years after a string of deaths were attributed, at least in part, to Taser use, according to an Amnesty International report released last week.

The human rights advocacy group cited the death of Indiana inmate James Borden as a specific example. According to the report, medical examiners said Borden died after police stunned him with a Taser several times in November 2003.

The group also cited several broader problems with law enforcement agencies' use of Tasers. For example, Tasers are often used first when force is deemed necessary and have been used excessively, including reports of police shocking people four or five times even while in handcuffs, the report said.

Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle said the company agreed with Amnesty International's position that law enforcement agencies should develop policies that dictate when and how Tasers can or should be used.

However, Tuttle said that field data have shown that when the weapons are used first when force becomes necessary, they prevent many incidents from escalating to a situation where deadly force is needed.

Tuttle also said that tests prove the weapons are a viable alternative when using force.

"Taser International has taken it upon itself to implement numerous measures to ensure that its weapon system is among the safest and most accountable use of force alternatives in the world," Tuttle said.

Comments

billyflay 8 years ago

lawrence should move to an all female police force, forget the tazers and icky guns,

sensible conversation with the bad guys is the only way to go,

0

rousseau108 8 years ago

yes, i'm sure the LPD is real enthusiastic about having to "wrestle" with the mentally ill. i bet nothing makes their day like getting called by the owner of Weaver's to pick up Robert Gilmore yet again for his free ride to the jail while he craps his pants and then gets a free meal and bath. woo hoo, let the good times roll.

0

moderator 8 years ago

thanks bob:

A machine pistol to me is any semi-automatic such as any Beretta; a Colt .45 or even the Mustang .380ACP. They're all machine pistols to me. I'm not referring to Uzi, Tech 9 or whatever.

While I've graduated from the "six gun", I've not made the leap to the 400 shot machine pistol! Sorry for the confusion


Regarding auto or semi-auto handguns; The propensity for someone with a gun when firing is to squeeze the trigger until the clip is empty. Ask any cop, rarely is one shot fired. The concealed carry fan club claims that most often only one shot is fired to scare away the "perp", the cops will tell you that most often the shooter empties a clip possibly hitting the perp or anyone nearby.

0

cowboy 8 years ago

The city of Phoenix , and the local newspaper The AZ Republic has done an extensive review of Taser use , abuse , and the danger involved. Lots of downside , deaths , officer abuse or misuse , unknown consequences on the hopped up drug users.

Probably not so good in the city use but might be a necessary tool for the isolated trooper out on the road.

We really need those laser vaporizers though !

0

moderator 8 years ago

Tazers are great alternatives to shooting a suspect. However law enforcement tends to use them in a greater capacity than an alternative to deadly force. Elementary school children and the elderly that have not posed any danger to officers have been tazered for not following an officers orders. Like any device that sends electricity through the body or any device that incapacitates a person there is a chance of death, although remote, these devices need to be treated like the officers side arm, a last resort before deadly force. These devices do have the capacity to save lives. The incident in New Orleans where six white cops surrounded a black suspet weilding a knife. The suspect refused to drop the knife and all six cops emptied their clips into him.

0

norm 8 years ago

thanks bob:

A machine pistol to me is any semi-automatic such as any Beretta; a Colt .45 or even the Mustang .380ACP. They're all machine pistols to me. I'm not referring to Uzi, Tech 9 or whatever.

While I've graduated from the "six gun", I've not made the leap to the 400 shot machine pistol! Sorry for the confusion

0

cantWEallJUSTgetALONG 8 years ago

tasers huh? I bet my stun gun is bigger than theirs....

0

one_more_bob 8 years ago

norm, machine pistols & other firearms capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger are still illegal in Kansas. The new carry law doesn't change that.

0

norm 8 years ago

Will my soon to be obtained conceal and carry permit allow me to carry one of these or does state government prefer I carry a concealed machine pistol?

0

billyflay 8 years ago

tazers? this is a very harmful and vicious way to handle the bad guys,

the police should stick to harsh language to stop the attack of bad guys,

but don't use politcally incorrect language, because it can hurt the pussies worse than tazers or bullets,

heavens to besty,

0

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years ago

It says that tazers cause "temporary loss of muscular control". These troopers better have some Baby Wipes on board, because the bad guys are going to be pooping their pants!

What the article doesn't address is how effective the tazers are when fired at feral pigs from a helicopter.

0

Clarice_Starling 8 years ago

It too bad they can't carry firehoses, after all, an officer has to hesitate before firing. An East Coast fireman doesn't have to refrain from diffusing a situation by power washing an out of control dangerous person 20 ft down the street in a flash, without breaking the skin, giving officers time to move in safely. Some think the man with the pistol is in charge, when it's really the fireman with the charged firehose!

0

linux_chick 8 years ago

I think it's a great idea... keeping officers safe and others alive sounds good.

0

adky 8 years ago

If only LPD had Tasers. With their enthusiasm for wrestling with the mentally ill, we could have neighborhood Electric Shock Therapy. We would all live in a sunny place with bunnies and pretty flowers.....

0

Reality_Check 8 years ago

tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey tickey...

0

redfred 8 years ago

DGSO has had Taser's on the shelf for 2 years and has been looking at policy for 2 1/2 years. How long does it take to make a decision?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.