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City approves Taser purchase

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council approved the purchase of another Taser for the Cedar Springs Police Department, at its regular meeting January 14. According to Police Chief Roger Parent, this electronic stun gun will be for the reserve officers that police school sports events and other activities.

“The reserves volunteer for free, but they carry the same duty weapons, and get the same training with Tasers that our regular officers do,” explained Parent. He said they’ve never been able to carry a Taser before because there weren’t enough available. The new Taser will cost $827.

Councilor Ronny Merlington questioned the use of Tasers as he has done before, citing the number of cases where individuals have died after being shot with one. But Parent noted that none of those deaths were caused by the Taser itself.

“It has proven to save a lot of officers from injury, and suspects as well,” said Parent.

He had no qualms about the reserves using it. “They handle themselves well, and it will come out of their own funds,” he said. When they are not using it, regular officers will carry the Taser, so that it gets used 365 days a year.

The vote passed 7-1, with Merlington voting no.

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