07/20/11 — Goldsboro police would like to have Tasers as backups

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Goldsboro police would like to have Tasers as backups

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 20, 2011 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro Police Department is applying for a grant that would allow the purchase of more than two dozen Tasers.

At present, the department has no such stun weapons, unlike the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

But if the grant is approved, that will change, and it will give police officers another weapon with which to deal with violent suspects, said Maj. Mike West, who made the request at the Monday night meeting of the City Council.

He said officials understand the Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant has been awarded, but is waiting final approval.

The grant for $51,818 from the U.S. Department of Justice will be split between the police and the Sheriff's Office. The latter is expected to use its portion to buy spare mobile radios.

To date, police have used pepper spray to control unruly suspects. The Tasers will give officers more control in such situations, West said.

"The main reason that we're getting it is officer safety," West said. "It will reduce the amount of injuries of officers and eliminate injuries of suspects during an arrest."

West said some repeat offenders refuse to comply until they are threatened with pepper spray.

Those who have been sprayed before usually comply at that point, he said.

"It's the same thing. People who have experienced the Taser, if they don't comply, we'll mention that we're calling the county and bringing a deputy with a Taser and they'll choose to comply. People don't necessarily fear a one-on-one with an officer, but if they've experienced (the Taser) once, they won't want to experience it again."

West said there was one individual the officers have dealt with on a number of occasions who refuses to comply when approached by officers, although when a deputy is called in, he gives up readily.

West said the department is putting together a Taser policy and that officers who carry the devices will be Tased before being allowed to use them on patrol.