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Grand Traverse sheriff asks for 61 Taser stun guns

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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 03:52 AM
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Grand Traverse sheriff asks for 61 Taser stun guns
Sergeants already carry the non-lethal weapon

TRAVERSE CITY -- Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies could soon start packing 50,000 volts.

The sheriff's department asked the county board for approval to purchase 61 Taser stun guns and equipment at a cost of $58,000. Sergeants already pack Tasers, but Sheriff Tom Bensley wants all patrol and correction officers to carry them, too.

"It's for officer safety, even the bad guys' safety," Bensley said. "Bottom line, when we have them deployed, they prevent injuries."

- snip -

A recent decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may set new guidelines for Taser use. The court ruled that desire by police to resolve quickly a "potentially dangerous situation" does not justify the use of force that may cause serious injury.

"The objective facts must indicate that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public," the court wrote.

Bensley said he hasn't seen the opinion, but said the sheriff's department already requires Taser use be limited to a threat of immediate harm to a citizen, officer, or offender themselves.

"It depends on the situation, but typically they are used with people who are combative towards the officer, noncompliant, resisting arrest, struggling, that's when people get hurt, in the fights," Bensley said.

There have been no injuries stemming from Grand Traverse sergeants' use of Tasers. Sergeants have had access to Tasers since 2004.

Deputies weren't given Tasers based on a 2004 recommendation from the county's insurance carrier over liability concerns. That same insurance carrier, the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, in 2005 began providing grant money to its members to purchase Tasers.

MMRMA said in a letter to the county that costs to defend lawsuits over the use of excessive force dropped from over $7 million in 2003 to $366,600 in 2008, a reduction it attributes to Taser use.

The county board will consider the request during a committee meeting that begins Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. in the Governmental Center.

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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 08:24 PM
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1. Nevermind the tasers, fix the damn roads!
Unless there's a big rash of crime here I am unaware of. There is no end to the stupidity up here sometimes. *sigh*

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