Arlington Police Chief Pushes for 300 More Stun Guns - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Arlington Police Chief Pushes for 300 More Stun Guns



    Arlington Police Chief Pushes for 300 More Stun Guns
    In light of new warnings from the maker of Taser, local police departments are re-evaluating how they use the tool with one already updating training.

    Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman is hoping to outfit his department with an additional 300 stun guns.

    Currently, only 80 of the city's officers are certified to carry Tasers. But the department has less than 50 of the devices in use.

    "Tasers provide a nonlethal form of force that will protect officers and those who are apprehended," police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said.

    But the Rev. Kyev Tatum of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is calling for a ban of the use of stun guns.

    Taser Debate in Arlington

    [DFW] Taser Debate in Arlington
    Arlington Police want to put 300 more Tasers in officers hands, while Amnesty International reports more than 350 people have died after being shocked by police Tasers since 2001.
    (Published Thursday, May 13, 2010)

    "It’s inhumane, and it’s sinful, and we’re asking police departments to stop purchasing them and stop using them on American citizens," Tatum said.

    The weapons, which typically deliver a 50,000-volt shock to disable a person, have also come under scrutiny by Amnesty International. The organization said 351 people have died after being shocked with the stun guns and that more studies should be done on the effects of the weapons on people with medical conditions or those who may be under the influence of drugs, the Star-Telegram reported.

    Arlington currently has about 600 police officers. Officers are required to get a yearly certification to use Taser.

    Officers in Fort Worth and Dallas are all equipped with stun guns.

    Arlington officials said the stun guns will be paid for through a Justice Department grant and from the city's asset forfeiture fund.

    Use of the devices came under fire in Fort Worth last year after a 24-year-old man died when an officer used a Taser on him. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled that Michael Jacobs' death was a homicide, but a grand jury declined to indict the police officer who used the stun gun.

    The National Taser Memorial in Fort Worth was created in Jacobs' memory. The site has more than 400 crosses, each representing the life of someone who was killed by a Taser-related incident.