Members of the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department will soon be upgrading their equipment with the addition of Tasers.
Approval was given to Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver for the purchase by the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors during their Tuesday, June 25 meeting. The estimated cost would be approximately $15,000 to outfit the department.
Beaver said county officers currently employ two other non-lethal methods of aiding them in subduing and apprehending perpetrators, a chemical agent and an Asp, an expandable baton carried in sheaths. The Asps are a less offensive looking replacement of the 30-inch long batons officers carried prior to the mid-90s, an unwieldy item that was often times left in their vehicles.
“Impact weapons are a thing of the past,” Beaver said.
Beaver cited an increase of confrontations between his officers and volatile individuals as the reason he wished to pursue the Tasers.
“I found research supports its use and its ability to help end officer and suspect confrontations,” said Mitchell County Supervisor Barb Francis. “In sixty-five percent of instances, the Taser ended the confrontation on the first application. Research suggests early use is more likely than other less-lethal means to end confrontation quickly and help lower rates of injury.”
Beaver added the use of Tasers was policy driven and the officers would have to go through extensive training before they would be allowed to use them. In addition, the Tasers have a lifespan dependent on the usage, with batteries and the prongs being the only things needing to be replaced.
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“We will be able to get eight to ten years easily out of them,” Beaver said. He stated it would cost $15,207 to outfit his deputies with the necessary equipment. “It’s all designed to keep our guys safe. The last thing I want is guys going hands on with people.”
With 59 officer deaths so far this year in the United States, the importance of officer safety is the forerunning reason for the request for Taser, Beaver said.
“In the past, when people were told to put their hands up, they complied,” said Mitchell County Supervisor Smolik. “Now it’s cut and run. I don’t know why people are so combative but there are more hot tempers out there now, which leads to issues.”
A motion was made by Supervisor Walk, seconded by supervisor Francis, to allow the purchase of tasers and training for the Mitchell County Sheriff’s department. It was unanimously approved.
On Wednesday, June 26, the board of supervisors held a special meeting, during which approval was given to construction incentives to the projects previously approved by the Mitchell County Economic Development board.
Five projects were approved by supervisors, with three located three in Osage, one in St. Ansgar and one in Riceville. Three of the projects were new construction spec projects, with the applicants being the purchasers, one was commercial, and the fifth was a rehab/reconstruction project.