Brandon Police to add Tasers to duty belts
February 26. 2014 9:36AM
Brandon police officers are gaining another tool to use on the job: An electronic weapon more commonly referred to as a Taser.
The local department received the go ahead to purchase the electronic weapons by the City Council last week.
Brandon Police Chief Dave Kull said the Taser proposal was prompted by recent events in Sioux Falls, where officers from that department were injured while trying to take a subject into custody.
“That prompted us to take a look at our use of force options,” Kull said. “(Tasers) is a crackling electricity, and the whole idea is to gain voluntary compliance.” The electrical current disrupts voluntary control of a person’s muscles causing “neuromuscular incapacitation.”
Presently, Brandon Police officer duty belts are equipped with pepper spray and a baton. Kull said the Tasers would likely take the place of pepper spray on the duty belts. The Taser would also be equipped with a camera, which can record what transpired before the Taser was used, Kill said.
“Taser is considered on the same level as pepper spray,” Kull explained. “This would probably replace the pepper spray because it gets to the point where you have too much stuff on your belt.”
Kull said the trio of weapons is considered to be less lethal, and officers should be equipped with at least two of three.
According to a 2009 Police Executive Research Forum study, officer injuries dropped by 76 percent when a Taser is used.
Sergeant Wayne Ellingson will undergo extensive training on the device, and he in turn will train the local officers.
The local department is not the first to have Tasers in the state. Departments in Mitchell, Aberdeen, Vermillion and Huron have Tasers, according to Kull. Sioux Falls officers do not.
“They are a good tool, and hopefully with that they would reduce the risk to officers and the people they’re taking into custody,” Kull said.
Alderman Blaine Jones, a former police officer himself, fully supports the Taser purchase.
“I know the three officers that were involved, and they were hurt quite badly,” Jones said. “I’d like to think that we’re being proactive in dealing with this.”