Tasers Not an Option for Bridgeville Police
Police chief said his department would need additional funding and training to purchase Tasers.
The Taser is quickly becoming a popular tool in the law enforcement community to stop suspects who are resisting arrest.
But without the proper training–and more importantly, funding–Bridgeville police Chief Chad King doesn’t expect his department will be getting Tasers any time soon.
“If I can’t do it right, then I’m not going to do it,” King said. “I’m not 100 percent against Tasers, but I don’t have the funds and can’t provide adequate training for them.”
He pointed to a tight budget proposal in which he expects his department will lose about $21,000 in funding.
“They’re costly,” King said. “The training, Tasers and cartridges are very costly.”
Councilman Michael Chiodo brought up the issue during the borough’s Monday night meeting and asked whether the police department should consider purchasing them after an officer was injured last month while trying to make an arrest. Officer James Lancia tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 10 while officers tried to subdue a suspect wanted on drug charges, and he will not return to work for several months.
“The cost of a Taser is a lot cheaper than the cost of Jimmy to be on worker’s comp for the next few months,” Chiodo said during the council meeting.
King questioned the assertion that a Taser might have prevented the injury because he’s unsure when exactly Lancia was hurt. He said they had to use multiple means of force, including pepper spray, before they were able to subdue the man.
“In that situation, it went down so quickly, we don’t know when his Achilles tore,” King said.
King said proper training is crucial because officers are conditioned to reach for their guns. He pointed to a few cases in which officers have accidentally pulled their service weapon rather than the Taser, leading to tragic outcomes.
“You can pretty much guess how that is going to end,” King said.
He said they’ve never discussed purchasing Tasers, and he doesn’t think that one incident should prompt hasty decisions. King added officer have other non-lethal tools, such as pepper spray and batons to bring a suspect under arrest.
“If I’m going to do it, I want to do it right,” he said. “ If we do get them, I want to sufficiently train (the officers) and put it in the policy.”