Proposal for tasers to be used by Sioux Falls Police - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Proposal for tasers to be used by Sioux Falls Police

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For the first time, tasers may be added to Sioux Falls Police Officers' belts.

When Police Chief Doug Barthel presented his department's budget to the city council Tuesday, he requested $120,000 to equip each officer with a taser.    

He says adding tasers to officers' belts is just one more line of defense for them. Not only could it protect them, but it could also protect people who are not complying.

Three Sioux Falls Police Officers were injured back in February while trying to make an arrest. Chief Barthel says this specific incident is what prompted him to look into tasers for his department.

Although he's not sure if tasers would have protected the officers from the suspect, it very well could have. Officers currently carry a firearm, a baton and pepper spray. 

Chief Barthel says if the tasers are approved, he's not sure if something on the belt would go to make room for the taser. 

"There are many situations where they have to go hands-on with somebody that may be resisting or whatever. And as a result of that, our officers get injured. So if there's things we can do to minimize that possibility, we certainly want to do that," said Chief Barthel.

Chief Barthel says he's seen the success other cities have had with tasers. The key he says is to make sure proper policies and training are in place for his officers. If the tasers are approved for the police department, he says they wouldn't be in use until around next spring.

Tea Police Chief Clark Baker says in the past year and a half, a taser hasn't been deployed once. Officers in Tea started carrying tasers in 2008 and since then, they've only been used a few times.

Tea Police Officer Jessica Quigley says the sound of a taser going off is usually enough to get a disorderly person under control.

"I took my taser out and put the red dot on him. And from that point, it took a few minutes and he was able to calm down. He was a very large man compared to both of us. It would've taken a lot for us to get him subdued and handcuffed," said Officer Quigley.

After the officer yells a command like 'get down, get down' and the subject doesn't comply, then the tazer will be deployed for five seconds to neutralize the situation.

For a year and a half, Clark Baker has been police chief for the Tea Police Department. Before that, he spent 25 years at the Sioux Falls Police Department. He went from a department that didn't have tasers to one that did.

"In Sioux Falls I undoubtedly could have used it in those days but there's also liability that goes along with tasers. So I understand their decision and you know for us, it works well," said Chief Baker.

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