Marin County approves purchase of Tasers


Proponents of Tasers say they give law enforcement officers a less-lethal option than guns in the event of a dangerous confrontation.

"We're definitely moving forward with having that tool, just like many other law enforcement agencies in California and nationwide," sheriff's Sgt. Debra Barry said.

The devices project darts that become embedded in the skin and can subdue combative or high-risk subjects.

Marin County Undersheriff Timothy Little said earlier this week that Sheriff Robert Doyle has been reluctant to use the devices over the past 10 years but that the technology has improved over time.

Little said the sheriff's office is now convinced the devices "drastically decrease injuries to violent subjects and are effective and efficient tools."

Just displaying a Taser has defused confrontations, Little said. Critics of Tasers say they can trigger cardiac arrest and other problems, particularly in people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Amnesty International has expressed concerns about the use of stun devices and the potential for abuse "by unscrupulous officials."

Craig Tackabery, Marin County assistant public works director, said Tasers save lives and reduce injury rates for officers.

The department will purchase the devices for $166,070 from ProForce Law Enforcement of Prescott, Ariz.

Taser guns are already used by police in Novato, San Rafael, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Santa Rosa, Oakland and San Jose, as well as by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and other agencies.

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