Cost to equip Waterloo Police with Tasers will top $155K
The cost of equipping all front line officers in the Waterloo Regional Police service with stun guns would cost $155,000 for the hardware alone and doesn't include the cost of training officers to use the weapons.
"It would be $155,000 for the hardware," Waterloo Regional Police Service Insp. Kevin Thaler told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Wednesday.
The provincial government changed the rules Tuesday, allowing frontline officers to carry stun guns if their respective agencies would allow. The decision came exactly a month after the controversial shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, who was shot by Toronto police eight times before being hit by a stun gun on a deserted streetcar.
Thaler said while the cost to equip every frontline officer with a stun gun would be $155,000, the price tag doesn't include training costs and additional equipment.
Stun guns cost $1,300 apiece
"The devices cost about $1,300 dollars apiece," he said. "Plus, there is a training component and there are cartridges that go with them that also have to be purchased."
"Every officer that's equipped [with] it needs to take the eight-hour course and then subsequently has to have a four-hour refresher every year."
Thaler gave no timeline for when all front line officers in Waterloo Region could start carrying stun guns, saying the announcement by the provincial government on Tuesday came as a surprise. The details of equipping ever front line officer with the controversial weapons still need to be worked out between the police force and its civilian overseers, he said.
"This wasn't a budget line for the Waterloo Regional Police," he said. "I mean there would have to be some discussions between our chief and the police services board as to what our next steps are here."
'Less lethal option'
"It provides officers with a less lethal option," said Thaler.
"If the option presents itself, [officers] can deploy the conductive energy weapon without having to fire a gunshot."
"This saves lives," he said.
Thaler said police officers in Waterloo Region drew their firearms 147 times last year, and stun guns were drawn by officers 83 times.
Thaler said in those instances, the energy weapons were only actually used by officers 27 times.
"It was displayed 56 other times where the officer drew the Taser, but the subject recognizing what it was and its potential, surrendered," he said.
As for the times the stun gun was actually used, Thaler said the suspect wasn't badly hurt.
"In those 27 instances, we did not have any injuries," he said. "When the probes are launched, they go beneath the skin and we call EMS to remove the probes."