SkyTrain officers were first armed in 2005.

TransLink will be arming about 20 Vancouver-area transitpolice with Tasers as soon as April, thanks to a large budget surplus.

The close-range, electrically charged weapons will be put in the hands of theofficers who patrol SkyTrain stations, adding to an arsenal that already includes handguns.

"We have purchased 20 Tasers and we will be deploying them on the line when our people are trained," said Insp. Dan Dureau, with the SkyTrain police,adding thatthey could be put to use by April.

A few transit police constables will receive outside training to become instructors, and then eventually prepare the rest of the 100-officer force to use the Tasers, according to the Maple Ridge News.

While the decision in March 2005 to arm rapid-transit constables with guns met controversy, transit police argued they face the same perils as municipal and RCMP officers and should be afforded the same protection and gear.

Staff Sgt. Cathy Robertson, with the SkyTrain police, said the close-range Tasers may be the best option during security incidents in crowded areas such as SkyTrain platforms.

Tasers are considered a less lethal alternative to firearms. TransLink was able to purchase the new gear after a big budget surplus last fall.

At least six people have died in Canada after being shocked by the controversial weapons.