Salisbury Police Department Proposes Taser Cams for Officers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Police Department Proposes Taser Cams for Officers

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SALISBURY, Md.- Across the country, and even on Delmarva, the weapon of choice for many officers has become the Taser. Now the Salisbury Police Department is proposing to have its officers carry Tasers on their belts.

Police Chief Barbara Duncan said that the department is the only one on the Eastern Shore that does not have Tasers in its arsenal.

If approved, then the police department would be buying nine Taser Cams. The Taser Cam is built as a non-lethal weapon with video capabilities that Capt. Scott Kolb with the department said the agency is looking to buy.

"For example, an in car camera in police cars are being utilized to capture the events in a traffic stop. This is just another tool that will capture the actions or events when these are deployed," Kolb said.

Those actions could include situations like the one earlier this year in Rehoboth Beach where a cellphone video showed a Rehoboth Beach police officer using a Taser on a person several times. After an extensive review it was determined that the officer's actions were justified.

"We have seen the benefits of that to reduce the amount of injury to police officers with whom they are having a physical confrontation," Kolb added.

Some people like Mary Ashanti with the Wicomico County NAACP said that if the proposal is approved then she hopes that city police will allow and work with plenty of public input.

"The community must be in dialogue, talk with people, find out what their concerns are about the use of this weapon," Ashanti said.

William Hall, who is a defense attorney in Salisbury, said that it concerns him anytime there is an increase in the use of force.

"There have been injuries from Tasers, even some cases of death and you have to make sure you are very clear what the continuum of force is with the Tasers," Hall said. "It opens you up to a lot of different lawsuits if you are using a Taser versus other means." 

Ron Wilkins said that even though the department is looking at investing in these Taser Cams there should be an even bigger investment in how well the officers are trained to use them.

"Anytime a person has to make a decision as to how far they should go enforcing, a decision has to be made," he said, "you have to use the best judgement."

Carmelo Guerrero of Salisbury however had a different opinion.

"I believe they tend to overuse their power, so I believe what they are doing right now is just fine"

City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell said that if approved, the Taser cams would be paid for with money generated from speed cameras seen around school zones within the city.

She said, the topic is up for discussion at Monday night's work session. 

 

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