NJ law enforcement slowly taking on tasers
Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey, for years, have had the green light to purchase taser guns and give officers an alternative to deadly force when handling suspects, but the rollout of these devices has been rather slow in the Garden State.
In New Jersey, the final state to approve the use of tasers by police, 168 law enforcement agencies have the weapons on hand, according to Taser International, the state's sole manufacturer.
Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle said the state took years to eventually clear the way for police departments to purchase the devices, which can send an electrical current up to 25 feet away and immobilize a subject.
Still, tight rules and budgets in New Jersey may be stymieing progress.
"They have to purchase a taser camera with that, so that's an added cost," Tuttle said, naming the Union County Prosecutor's Office, Camden County police, and the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office as a few of the company's customers.
According to the undersheriff for Middlesex County, tasers have been deployed in their courthouses for about two years, but no officer has yet been forced to use the device.
Tracking since October 2011 through April 2015, Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, said tasers have been used by officers a total of 42 times throughout the state.
"The intention is to give (police) an alternative to lethal force in certain situations where they can safely use stun guns instead of their regular guns," Aseltine said. "That's what it's all about - trying to save lives."