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Weston Police Test Taser Option

Weston police officers may soon have another defense option. The police commission met last week to discuss the possibility of introducing Tasers into the arsenal. Danbury Police Sgt. Michael Georgoulis presented the commission with an overview of the electronic weapon, which temporarily paralyzes a person's muscles by interrupting nerve signals from the brain.

Georgoulis said the Taser is a safe and effective way of restraining an individual and that 99 percent of people shot are uninjured. The Taser allows police to avoid an altercation, minimizing risk of injury to an officer or a suspect, Georgoulis said.

Critics say people with health conditions or pacemakers are at risk. But Dr. Mark Kroll, the inventor of the pacemaker, is also a spokesperson for Taser International and says there are no recorded deaths attributed to the Taser.

"No decision was made, but the presentation was well received," said Weston Chief John Troxell. "We're definitely moving forward to initiating the program."

But cost is an issue, Troxell added. A basic Taser costs $600, but advanced models with built-in cameras and multiple-projectiles sell for upward of $1,700. Given the zero-increase budget tasked to all Weston employees, Troxell said that if the Tasers were approved for use, the police would probably solicit funds from the Weston Gun Club Community Foundation.

"They've donated numerous times for us," he said. "They gave us funding for a forensic computer, our tactical rifles and also bulletproof vests."

If approved, the police would need to purchase Tasers for all 13 members of the department, excluding himself, Troxell said. Each officer would go through training, and the department would develop a detailed protocol for discharging the weapon.

Currently, Weston police carry a sidearm and pepper spray. More than 70 Connecticut police departments have Tasers, including Easton. According to Taser International data, the Connecticut department with the most Tasers is Waterbury with 190, followed by Meriden with 64 and Norwalk with 59. The State Police Department has five.

What do you think? Should the police department be issued Tasers? Lets us know in the comment box below.

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