SARASOTA - Police in Sarasota are spending more than $213,000 for a new set of tasers for the department's 171 officers.
That included Officer Jamie Delcos, who tells ABC 7 that in the 8 years since SPD has had tasers, she's used it 3 times and hasn't use her handgun once. "It's a good option; it prevents officers from getting hurt and it makes situations de-escalate a lot quicker if you didn't have a taser," she said.
Officer Jeffrey Dunn is in charge of training the force on the new tasers; ones that he says are twice as good as the current ones they're been using since 2005 in at least one way. "The taser has an immediate back-up shot, where before it had one cartridge in," he said.
But even with one cartridge, opponents say tasers aren't harmless. Amnesty International says since 2001, 540 people have died by the after effect of a police taser.
Medically speaking, Tasers interrupt the brain's message to the large muscle groups. Officer Dunn says that in the big picture, tasers are safer for everyone.
"Before the taser we had to use other techniques that were more dangerous to the officer and the suspects," he said.
The current Tasers will be traded in.
Training should last 2-3 more weeks.