Penn State, State College Police Add Tasers To Crime Fighting Arsenal
Penn State University and State College Police announced today they will be implementing tasers as a part of their crime fighting arsenal, according to a press release. University Police currently carry chemical spray, batons, and firearms. The hope is that the addition of the tasers will reduce the risk of injury to suspects, spectators, and officers alike.
“It is always my hope that we never have to use any of these devices,” said Steve Shelow, Assistant VP for University Police and Public Safety. “However, if our officers find themselves in a situation where someone is violent and cannot be controlled, I would much rather they have the option of a Taser, both for the safety of the officer and of the subject.”
Both police departments have undergone intense training for the tasers since January, and will be required to re-complete a certification course on an annual basis. It is illegal for anyone other than a trained and sworn officer to carry a taser on Penn State property.
The decision to utilize tasers has been 18 months in the making. Both police forces jointly conducted a study on the value of the device during that time. It has been shown that tasers can be safer alternative to other methods of force for everyone involved, reducing the number and severity of injuries to subjects and officers.
Police from both departments are only granted the authority to use the tasers on individuals who are resisting arrest or have the potential to harm themselves or others. Compliant subjects will not be threatened with the shock of a taser unless its use is justified to the officer.
50 of the devices, a X26P Advanced Taser, will be employed throughout campus at a cost of $70,000. The tasers function as small computers, offering the ability to provide detailed activation information that officers can reference after deploying the apparatus. State College Police will be implementing an additional 20 throughout the borough. With their implementation at Penn State and State College, all departments in Center County will carry the device.
For every instance involving the deployment of a taser, emergency medical personnel will be called to the scene to evaluate and assure the well-being of the subject or subjects on which the device was deployed.