More Chicago police to carry Tasers

March 10, 2010 2:51:18 PM PST
The Chicago Police Department is expanding the use of Tasers. Now they will be placed in every squad car that works a beat in the city.

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis announced Wednesday that hundreds more Tasers will be installed in the department's cruisers.

Right now, sergeants and field officers are the only personnel that are allowed to carry Tasers, but now, with over $500,000 worth of stimulus money, the police department is expanding its use of Tasers.

The goal is to equip every beat car with a Taser. While the use of a stun gun has been controversial, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis says, if used properly, a Taser can protect the officer as well as the community from someone who poses a danger.

"You want to give the officer every opportunity to do something else rather than to use deadly force. It gives them one other option before they resort to the other level of force," said Weis.

Weis said the department will be training 3,000 officers to use the Taser.

Weis explained when it is justified to use a Taser.

"When you have a subject that is non-compliant, and we want to try and keep our officers from getting hurt and having to go hands on with that person," said Weis."

While there have been deaths associated with Tasers, including a man Tuesday night who reportedly died after being hit by the Illinois State Police during a traffic stop, Weis says his office is giving specific instructions on where someone can be Tasered.

"Stay out of chest area, from the abdomen down to the thigh, stay away from the heart area. That's what our officers are trained to do," said Weis.

Superintendent Weis says they will not be handing out Tasers just to any officer. He says training is extremely important and every officer who gets trained in Taser use will have to be recertified every year.