HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Two dozen officers with the Bergen County Police Department have been authorized to carry stun guns.
The county purchased 20 of the devices; half will go to patrol officers and the rest will be used by the county’s SWAT team.
Half of the county’s SWAT calls last year involved emotionally disturbed people, WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reported. Police will now have a non-lethal option to deal with such situations.
New Jersey was the last state in the nation to authorize the devices in 2006.
Even then, the devices were slow to be adopted due to training and liability issues, Adams reported. The state Attorney general’s Office clarified training requirements this year.
Alexander Shalom, with New Jersey’s American Civil Liberties Union, said stun gun incidents will be well documented to guard against misuse.
“One really positive thing about the policy in New Jersey, specifically in Bergen County, is the requirement that all Taser incidents be recorded on a high-definition video recorder that’s attached to the Taser itself,” Shalom told Adams. “That’s a great accountability tool to ensure that Tasers are being used in limited circumstances and appropriately.”
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