Ticonderoga PD to get Tasers

TICONDEROGA The Ticonderoga Police Department will get Tasers. Ti trustees voted, 3-2, to purchase the electric stun guns following a lengthy, passionate debate June 12. Voting for the purchase of two Tasers were trustees Wayne Taylor, Dorcey Crammond and Steve Whitford. Opposing the Tasers were Supervisor Bob Dedrick and trustee Bob Thatcher. Taylor, chairman of the town emergency services committee, said police had approached him with the idea of employing Tasers. He said he respects their position. I have trust in these individuals, Taylor said of the Ti PD. We hire the best people we can find, we give them the best training possible. The police came to me with this idea and I respect their opinion. Theyre the trained professionals. Taylor said Ticonderoga is changing and police must change, too. Its not the same world, we have to acknowledge that, he said. I dont like the idea (of Tasers), but Id be derelict in my duty if I didnt give the police the tools they need to succeed. Im not a cold-hearted person who wants to go around shocking people, Taylor added. But how would you feel if you vote no and someday it could have saved a life? Crammond agreed that police need more tools to deal with todays crime. She pointed to Rutland, Vt., as an example of a city with a crime problem, calling it the armpit of the United States. Tasers act as a deterrent and will send a message that Ticonderoga is tough on crime, she said. Whitford, a retired police officer, offered no comment. Dedrick expressed support for the Ti PD, but said he just cant support the purchase and possible use of Tasers. When I first heard about Tasers I was absolutely opposed, he said. When I saw the demonstration I was swayed, but Im sorry I cant support it. My heart, my gut just doesnt say yes. I want to support the police department, I want to be loyal to the police department, but I have to say no. Dedrick said the Ti PD has made great strides in gaining public trust in recent years. He fears use of a Taser will undo much of that trust. Our police department has come so far; Im really, really proud of our police department, Dedrick said. But the first time they use that Taser itll be in the press and the actions of the police will be questioned. We have such a positive image now, Id hate to see that change. Thatcher expressed mixed feelings about the Tasers. He said he had to oppose them because of concerns of lawsuits. Following the vote, Dedrick addressed Ti PD Sgt. Mark Johns, asking him to understand the supervisors position and to believe Dedrick supports the department. Johns said he respected Dedricks position and appreciated the supervisors backing. Each Taser costs $700. Many law enforcement agencies are crediting the use of Tasers with helping reduce the number of fatal shootings by police. But some citizens groups and human rights activists have called for a moratorium on the use of Tasers until more is known about whether they contributed to several recent deaths. According to the manufacturer, Tasers are already being used by 5,200 of an estimated 16,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Tasers are handheld devices that shoot two probes attached to wires that can extend up to 21 feet. They emit a peak of 50,000 volts of electricity. The electrical current can penetrate clothing 6 inches thick. The electrical current overwhelms the central nervous system for five seconds, incapacitating the target.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment