Northborough selectmen approve police taser policy

By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer

Northborough-large-web-iconNorthborough – The Board of Selectmen June 23 cleared the way for the town’s police department to become the latest local force equipped with tasers.

On the recommendation of Police Chief Mark Leahy, selectmen unanimously approved a policy on the use of electronic control weapons, commonly known by the brand name of Taser.

Leahy said tasers will be “another tool in the toolbox” of officers, and one that could be potentially life-saving for both officers and suspects, reducing the likelihood that deadly force must be used.

“Sometimes, all that is required to subdue a suspect is to show these weapons,” Leahy said. “People know what they are capable of doing.”

Nearby communities such as Marlborough and Hudson already equip their officers with tasers, which use a pulse of electricity to temporarily immobilize a suspect, and 42 of 60 communities in Worcester County have approved use of the technology.

Leahy said his department has seen several incidents in recent years that have exposed officers to dangerous or deadly situations, including one incident where a suspect lunged for an officer’s weapon and several involving violent suspects who were armed with a knife.

“We’re dealing more and more with transient elements who are not known to us and because we don’t know them, we don’t know what they’re going to do,” he said, adding that taser use has been extensively studied and have been approved for use in Massachusetts since 2005.

Selectman William Pantazis expressed mixed feelings about the move, citing concerns about increasing the town’s exposure to liability.

“We are not a city,” he said.

Overall, however, the board agreed the move could improve officer safety and make it less likely that officers will have to use their firearms.

“It gets us out of those all-or-nothing situations,” said Selectman Leslie Rutan.

All 21 active members of the department will receive tasers and will carry them at all times, Leahy said. Two officers are scheduled to become certified instructors early next month, he added.

Town Meeting approved about $36,000 in funding for the taser program earlier this year as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=50979

Posted by on Jun 24 2014. Filed under Byline Stories, Northborough, Police & Fire, This Just In. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

- 4 = two

Support local businesses!

Recently Commented

  • georgesedares: I find it hilarious that Shrewsbury is about to allow a growing center under the morning shadows of...
  • Community Advocate Staff: Gloria, pls contact me at 508-366-5500, ext 14 or news@communityadvocate.com. Bonnie Adams,...
  • Ben Chang: This happened two years ago. I wonder if there was any casualty or if the families affected by this...
  • Gloria gray: Hi please this case has been dismissed so I would appreciate it if you get it off your site it is...
  • Kathi Knox: To Deb’s family, I spent several years volunteering in the Littleton Schools with Deb at various...