Tools

Police: tasers help reduce injuries and violence

By By NICOLE ESTAPHAN

UTICA - The Utica Police Department added to their arsenal in October, when tasers were introduced as an alternative use of force.

The weapons were used at least three times this past weekend to bring situations under control, and the department says tasers have been an asset to the force.

With the use of a federal grant, the Utica Police Department purchased 38 tasers last August, and by October, dozens of officers were sporting the bright yellow crime deterrents as part of their weaponry.

So we stopped by the UPD Monday afternoon to ask about there use and if they have been effective so far.

Deputy Chief Williams says they originally looked into tasers after the department found that officer injuries had jumped 50% in just three years, and the loss of man-power coupled with medical expenses raised a red-flag that there needed to be an alternative use of force.

That's when they purchased the tasers, and Williams says the effects after just 10-months of use have been remarkable.

Officer injuries are down, and community complaints over officer's use of force they too are also down .

Williams offers one explanation for that - a taser shock goes out and within seconds the situation is diffused. Now compare that to more than one officer trying to cuff an out-of-control individual. Visually it can be more disturbing.

But by far the biggest asset to officers and the public is the taser offers a less lethal option than before.

"This gives us the in-between use of force option," Deputy Chief Williams said. "We can use less lethal and we can effectively control a situation without having to shoot someone."

Police tell us that although the taser jolt can be painful, it has very little to no lasting effects and within seconds the individual is back to their normal state.

Williams says the tasers have been so successful that the department plans on expanding their training to include more members of the UPD.

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