By JOE GORMAN
Police are preparing to receive a new batch of electronic stun guns.
Detective Sgt. John Rusnak said Friday that city council agreed to supplement a federal U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Grant to get the new, nonlethal weapons.
Rusnak said council agreed to allocate $15,000 for the new weapons after the department received a $5,000 grant for them.
The weapons are the Taser X2, the latest model, and the department is paying about $1,500 each for them after trading in all of its Stinger-model stun guns, Rusnak said. He said the department made the move because it wanted to upgrade to better technology.
Rusnak said the best feature of the new weapons is that it has dual cartridges, which means officers can use them in a situation with two suspects because they do not have to reload after one shot, or they have an extra shot in case they miss the first time.
“You now have the ability to control them [two suspects], or if you miss, you have the ability to fire again,” he said.
Rusnak said the guns also come with a system to track their usage, which can show how many times it was fired and who fired it.
The department is ordering 15 of the stun guns, one for each of the 14 full-time officers plus the chief, Rusnak said.
Mayor William VanSuch said he is pleased council decided to help the department out. “They’re very worthy of it,” VanSuch said.
Rusnak said council will pass the measure for the stun-gun funding in emergency session at its next meeting June 5, so the department can have them in time for summer.
The administration also is helping the department with the purchase of a new Dodge Durango SUV, VanSuch said. The city received another grant from the federal government for $36,000 for the vehicle, and the department will absorb the remaining $4,000 of the cost by using funds seized in drug cases, VanSuch said.
Rusnak said the SUV will come in handy during the winter months to navigate the hilly terrain in the lower part of the city. He said it probably will be assigned exclusively to a beat that covers that area during the winter months and during the remainder of the year, it will be assigned evenly throughout the city’s beats. He said a supervisor probably will be assigned the vehicle.
Rusnak said the department ordered a Dodge because all of its cruisers are Dodge Chargers and officials wanted to have uniformity in the vehicle fleet. He said the SUV already has been ordered and should be delivered to the department within eight to 12 weeks.