Shore Area Police Departments Are Charged About Using Tasers
Police departments in Toms River, Lacey, Seaside Heights and Belmar are looking into setting up policies and procedures for using tasers.
Toms Police Chief Mike Mastronardy says New Jersey is the last state in the Union to incorporate the use of tasers. He says they've set up a committee to come up with policies and procedures so they can get approval to use the weapons.
"I think that down the road you'll see that this tool will make officers safe, the public safe and result in less incidents where unfortunately lethal force is necessary to neutralize someone."
Mastronardy says he knows there's controversy regarding the use of tasers but he says the weapons are proving time and time again to be a tool that law enforcement have used that has kept either the officer safe or the suspect they're trying to apprehend safe. "If you have the correct training, the correct policies and procedures we believe they'll be an asset to not only our department but all the other departments in the area that will be utilizing them."
Mastronardy says the Attorney General will only allow Police Departments to use two types of tasers. He says the tasers are equipped with a camera and a recording device and cost around $2,000 each. Ammunition cost $35 with each shot. He also says officers would not only have to get an initial training but go for retraining twice a year.
He says the Toms Rive Police Department is hoping to get six tasers and allow at least one to be used during each shift. However, he doesn't see tasers being a part of every officer's arsenal just yet. He says "that would be expensive and its use should be controlled but just like the use of pepper spray he see the use in Police Departments through out the state becoming more and more prevalent."
Other than Pepper Spray, the Toms River Police Department uses another weapon they call a "Less Than Lethal". "Basically it's almost like a type of bean bag that we shoot at somebody and we discharge it and the suspect becomes less resistant."
Mastronardy says the weapons will be paid out through capital set aside for weapons and from narcotics seizure money.