Salisbury Police Officers To Begin Using Tasers

SALISBURY – The Salisbury City Council approved the use of limited Electronic Control Devices (ECDs), also known as Tasers, to improve the safety of both police officers and citizens alike.

Before the City Council on Monday evening was an ordinance approving a budget amendment of the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) General Fund to appropriate funds received from the current year surplus funds to be transferred to the Police Services operating account for the purchase of nine ECDs.

According to the ordinance, “the equipment will be deployed within the police department’s patrol squads and become part of the use of force continuum as part of a less than deadly force option to subdue non-compliant or combative offenders. The benefit of this technology is such that police officers will have a use of force tool to achieve offender compliance without have having to put hands on the offender, lessening the risk of injury to the police officer as well as reducing workman workers’ compensation claims.”

Without discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve.

“I wanted to take a minute to say thank you … this is a positive step forward in protecting our officers’ safety and the citizens of Salisbury,” said Council President Jake Day.

Also on the docket that evening was an ordinance to approve a budget amendment of the FY14 General Fund Budget to appropriate funds received from the Speed Camera Account to aid in the purchase of one new vehicle for the police fleet.

According to SPD Major David Meienschein, a Ford Crown Victoria on the police fleet has operated 141,349 miles from diagnostics performed by Ford’s dealership, Sherwood of Salisbury, and the vehicle is need of repairs costing close to $5,000. The present condition of the vehicle places a trade value of $300 to $400.

“We would like to replace the vehicle with a smaller more fuel efficient vehicle such as a Ford Fusion, similar class vehicle at a cost of approximately $27,300,” Meienschein said. “This figure includes installation of equipment such as emergency lights, siren, and communication equipment. This vehicle would be incorporated into the fleet, at the direction of the chief, to maximize both the life and fuel efficiency.”

Meienschein furthered SPD has three similar vehicles, two 2012 Chevrolet Impalas and one 2013 Ford Fusion. All three of these vehicles are not as durable and capable of rugged daily use as a full-size police package cruiser, such as a Chevrolet Caprice. However, they are much more fuel efficient and practical if deployed in areas of the police department where a full-size vehicle is not needed.

The council voted unanimously to approve the budget amendment to purchase the new police vehicle.