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Columbus police tout success with tasers; Asking for more

Wednesday, the Columbus Division of Police relayed its findings on its first full year of taser use in the city. The department offered positive results and hope the city council will allow them to order more tasers.

24 lives saved, a decline in the use of excessive force, fewer injuries to people arrested. Those are some of the reasons why the Columbus Division of Police wants to order 110 more tasers. 2005 was the first full year tasers were used in Columbus. And law enforcement officials are touting success.

Sergeant Brian Bruce said reducing deadly force is the most important component of the taser.

"We classified 24 incidents as being saved lives. 24 incidents where deadly force would have been justified, and where the taser was used. Anytime that we're able to save and protect life that is our goal. And that's what we're looking for," Bruce said.

The department said tasers have reduced the use of Chemical Mace, there have been fewer injuries to officers, and 16 suicides were prevented.

Bruce said every time a taser is used the department's chain of command reviews the incident. He said there have been no unreasonable uses of the device.

Councilwoman Charleta Tavares expressed concern about the lasting effects of taser use on people predisposed health conditions, particularly minorities who have a higher rate of heart disease. Councilman Mike Mental said he would like to see more studies about that as well.

"We certainly want to make sure that we continue with that. And that will certainly be from my standpoint a condition or a factor as we move forward with any discussion or dialogue on additional purchase of tasers," Mental said.

Mental said the council could receive the legislation as early as next Monday and vote on it at the following meeting.

Right now Columbus police have access to about 200 tasers. If the additional purchases are permitted, almost every officer will be equipped with a taser. A cost for the 110 tasers was not immediately available.