By MARY GRZEBIENIAK
MERCER, Pa. -- The Mercer County Prison Board authorized purchase Monday of three Taser electronic stun guns for the Community Corrections Department.
District Attorney James Epstein, who is prison board president, said the board agreed officers need the weapons. That's because they go to homes to install ankle monitors and respond when there is a systems failure or alert from one of the devices.
Epstein said the officers go into high crime neighborhoods where there is some risk of violence. Though there have been no problems to date, he said, the officers need to be able to protect themselves.
Community Corrections includes house arrest, day reporting, accelerated rehabilitative disposition and Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime programs.
Also Monday, the board agreed to pay the final 15,000 of the contract with L. Robert Kimball and Associates of Pittsburgh, architects for the new county jail.
In a reorganization meeting, also Monday, board officers were re-elected for 2007. Epstein remains president, county Controller Thomas Amundsen vice president, and Sheriff William Romine is secretary.