RI News
8:54 am
Mon October 14, 2013

State Police To Be Outfitted With Tasers

Rhode Island state police have a new weapon in their war on crime.

Rhode Island state police have purchased Tasers for all troopers and are training them in their proper use. 

State police commander Colonel Steven O’Donnell said the aim is to prevent the use of firearms where possible.

"The feedback is great. It’s another tool to protect them and to protect other people. And they’re a great tool on the street. People know what a taser does so when you deploy a taser you get a lot more compliance instead of just verbal commands," said O'Donnell.

Seven years ago the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged police chiefs across the state to stop using Tasers after a Woonsocket man died after being shot twice with one. But the ACLU’s Steve Brown has softened his position since then.

"If it’s offered as an alternative to using a gun that certainly is an appropriate way for police to make use of this but we are concerned that absent proper training and absent proper policies on the use of force it can end up instead being used for other reasons when that type of force isn’t appropriate," said Brown.

Authorities say all Rhode Island troopers should be equipped with Tasers within the month.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  news@ripr.org