Tasers for Springfield

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

About eight months ago, Springfield Police Chief David Barnes told city commissioners he wanted to arm his officers with tasers.

The stun guns are supposed to be a non-lethal weapon that will immobilize someone who is a potential threat to themselves of the public. The weapons are coming in the form of a gift from a local couple.

The Springfield Police Department's four road supervisors will soon be carrying these. The department will be able to buy the new weapons through a donation made by a Springfield couple. Shawn and Laura Burns are donating 3,900 to the tasers.

Shawn Burns, who used to work with the city, is now a paramedic. He feels it will give Springfield officers another option besides their guns.

Shawn Burns said, "I don't wanna have them make that decision. With the tasers, they can control somebody and stop them without having to make that ultimate decision of shooting somebody."

Chief David Barnes said, "The last thing you wanna do as a police officer is use your firearm. So, anything less than your fire arm is very positive."

Before any supervisor will be allowed to carry the non-lethal weapon, they'll have to go through some pretty shocking training.

Sgt. Anita Suttles will be one of the officers to carry the new tasers.

"My understanding is that we have to be hooked up to the taser. We have to feel what it feels like before we can use it,’ she said.

Suttles says she's gone through pepper spray training, and doesn't expect the taser to be any different. After she and the other supervisors use the tasers in the field for a year, the department will review their usefulness.

"We'll come back and see exactly how they've been utilized. If it was a good practice and we'll look at purchasing them for the rest of the police department."

Springfield city commissioners will discuss buying the four tasers at Monday night’s city commission, which starts at 6:30.


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