Columbus police get tasers, bulletproof vests

Published 5:43 pm Monday, April 13, 2009

Columbus Police officers recently added new equipment to their stock of tools, which will make their jobs more efficient and safer for the public and for officers. On-duty police officers will now have upgraded Taser units and new bullet proof vests.

Two new Tasers&bsp; equipped with Taser CAMS are now in service. Taser CAMS are cameras, which can be used with any Taser unit. When the unit is discharged, a video recording with sound is activated, which will produce a video record of the entire event. The recording provides a record of any use of the Taser, which can be referenced should any questions or concerns be raised about its use.

Lt. Chris Beddingfield has trained each Columbus Police officer in the proper use of the Taser units. Each officer on duty will carry a Taser and Taser CAM. &bsp;

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

&dquo;In my 19 years of law enforcement, I would say that the Taser system is one of the best defense systems available to police officers,&dquo; states Beddingfield. &dquo;With proper use, the unit is very effective and offers an increased level of safety for the officer and the suspect.&dquo;

&dquo;The Taser offers an additional tool to use when guns or pepper spray are not an option,&dquo; continues Beddingfield. &dquo;It is especially effective when the suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We can get that person under control without having to use a gun.&dquo;

Tasers have been in use by the Columbus Police Department since 2005. A Taser discharges a 50,000-volt shock to a suspect. The majority of people are rendered totally incapacitated for five seconds, while the discharge lasts. The unit requires two probes to complete an electrical circuit, which makes the shock effective. Tasers can be used up to 21 feet from the suspect.

The cost for the new Tasers and Taser CAMS is $2,471.41, which was budgeted by the Town Council.

Each police officer will also receive a new bullet proof (ballistic) vest. Officers currently use their own vests or outdated departmental vests, which are beyond their five-year warranty period.

According to Lt. Beddingfield, the new state-of-the-art vests are classified as Level III-A vests, which provide the highest level of personal protection and are effective against most commonly used weapons. The vests have been outfitted with a KAP plate, which upgrades the vests to be effective against knife and spike attacks, in addition to ballistic protection. The vests will be lighter, less bulky and more comfortable to wear.

The vests have been acquired by the Town of Columbus at no cost to taxpayers. Fifty percent of the $3,120.00 cost was paid with funds received through the United States Department of Justice. The remainder has been pre-approved to be funded by a grant from the League of Municipalities.

Lt. Beddingfield called the vests &dquo;&ellip; a good product at a good price.&dquo;

‐ article submitted