04/30/2015 – As the public continues to question law enforcement’s use of force, one non-profit is handing out Tasers instead of guns.
Their hope is that it provides a safe shock to how police enforce public safety.
You might think all officers have Tasers, but that’s not the case.
Tasers are expensive, and not all officers have one. Right now, only about 100 out of 750 Tulsa police officers have them and about one-in-four Tulsa police patrol officers have Tasers.
The officer that crossed paths with a naked man on the Tisdale Expressway got his Taser the day before the incident.
Police weren’t sure if the naked burglary suspect was on drugs, or mentally ill; and because of the Taser, the officer was able to stop the man from hurting himself or someone else.
Tulsa Police Foundation President, Roger Chasteen was happy the officer had the Taser.
“He got back up and ran and he was able to tase him a second time because the new Tasers actually have two cartridges in each Taser,” he said.
Chasteen is leading the initiative to donate 400 top-of-the-line Taser X2s to Tulsa police.
“A lot of the officers are ecstatic about getting a Taser. Some have waited two years to get a Taser. It just hasn’t been in the budget until now,” Chasteen said.
At Thursday’s city council meeting, 200 Tasers were donated. Those 200 cost more than a $250,000, and the officers still need Taser training.
Chasteen is excited and hopes the donation will cut down on the number of times an officer has to draw a gun.
One study says Tasers reduce suspect injuries by up to 86 percent, and reduce officer injuries by up to 72 percent.
“It’s another option for an officer to de-escalate a situation if need be, and it doesn’t replace a gun, but it does give the officer another option,” Chasteen said.
The TPD Foundation hopes to give all 400 Tasers to TPD by the end of the year.
The TPD Foundation is a group of businessmen and involved community members. You can learn more about the foundation on their website.
Chasteen said this donation isn’t because of protests being held across the country. He said it is so people are not injured as often and that there aren’t as many workers’ comp claims filed with the city.
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