Springfield police aiming for $100K Taser grant

The Springfield Police Division is seeking $100,000 in state grant money to replace its Taser inventory, which is about 10 years old.

If the grant application is awarded later this year, the division could purchase more than 50 new Tasers in 2017, according to legislation. City commissioners approved the grant application earlier this month.

The Tasers currently used by the police division are in need of replacement, said Sgt. Brian Peabody of the crimes against property unit.

“Our current Tasers have got some wear and tear on them,” he said. “We’re having to change the batteries quite often, and we’re having some reliability issues with them.”

The new Tasers would include updated technology, he said.

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“They’re more reliable, and it’s a quicker reload, newer technology,” Peabody said.

The newer models also include a warning arc, which makes a noise but doesn’t deploy a cartridge.

“It’ll de-escalate a situation where someone will maybe stand down and comply with our orders,” Peabody said.

The older models also have one laser displaying where the Taser will fire, he said. The newer models have two lasers that will allow for better aim.

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“That’s an ideal situation,” Peabody said.

The division has used the Tasers about 100 times over the past five years, according to police records. Last year, the division used the Tasers 15 times. The numbers are down recently because people have seen the Tasers in action, he said.

“The people we deal with kind of realize or have been involved where they’ve seen the Taser used and realizes how good of a tool it is for us to have,” Peabody said.

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Tasers are used by more than 15,000 law enforcement and military agencies across the country. A 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice showed using Tasers or conducted electrical devices, reduced the rate of suspects and officers by nearly 60 percent.

Tasers are safer to use than handguns, but they’re used in different situations, he said.

“It cuts down on injuries to the officers and to suspects,” Peabody said. “It’s a safer tool we have to get somebody down and get them to comply.”

While each situation is different, police officers typically use their handgun when deadly force is present, he said.

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program is expected to release its latest round of grants in March. The money can be used for vehicles, equipment, facilities, or systems needed to enhance safety.

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