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Lebanon eyes Tasers

Sara McManamy-Johnson • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:19 PM

Lebanon police may soon adopt Tasers.

City council will consider an ordinance Tuesday to authorize a purchase contract with Taser, Inc. for 50 Taser to equip all of Lebanon’s patrol officers.

“We’ve been talking about [adopting Tasers] for a while,” said Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen.

He noted an incident recently in which a suspect used a knife to threaten an officer. Police ultimately used a beanbag shotgun – a shotgun converted to shoot bean bags instead of bullets – to stop the suspect.

“If we wouldn’t have had that less lethal stuff there…the only other option would have been to use deadly force,” said Bowen.

But he said the department’s existing less-lethal options are not always practical.

Beanbag shotguns are cumbersome to carry so they are stored in the patrol cars, but officers aren’t always right at their patrol cars when the need arises. Also, the department only issues them to a limited number of officers.

Batons require officers to be within striking range, which can be dangerous and impractical when an assailant is wielding a weapon such as a knife.

Oleoresin capsicum, or OC spray, commonly known as pepper spray, can’t be used in enclosed areas and wind can push it back on the officer.

Bowen said Tasers can be used in many more situations and would be readily available when needed.

He said most departments already use Tasers.

“Once they go with Tasers, they see a decrease in officer injuries and suspect injuries,” said Bowen.

He said the department hopes to buy 50 Tasers and accompanying accessories using drug fund money.

The total contract price is $61,213.38.

In other business, council will consider on second reading an ordinance to give $10,000 from the reserve fund to help with costs for Pickett Chapel and the Roy Bailey African American History Center and Museum.

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