Dan Hust | Democrat
AN ARC OF electricity is the only visible indication of the TASER X26's shocking capability. This mode of operation is called a "drive stun," whereby the TASER is directly pushed against the body. The X26 is capable of deliverying a five-second shock 200 times per fully charged battery.
Monti PD gets its Tasers
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO The Monticello Police Department has become the second Sullivan County-based law enforcement group to wield TASER® devices.
And just like his counterparts at the Fallsburg Police Department, Monticello Police Chief Doug Solomon believes they will save lives.
“With everything that goes on, I think it’s essential to give my officers every option,” he noted this week, a TASER X26 holstered on his left hip. “... Basically, I think this is long overdue.”
Thanks to a $10,000 grant via NYS Senator John Bonacic, the village purchased eight X26 models and associated supplies and training materials. The “electronic control devices,” as manufacturer Taser International calls them, are worn by Chief Solomon, two lieutenants, four sergeants and Training Officer Michael Taback.
Taback, in fact, was the first to handle one on the job and has guided the other officers through the 8-hour training, part of the village’s new policy on TASER use.
Taback was also the first Monticello police officer to deploy his TASER twice, in fact.
“One was a fight between two people,” Solomon noted. “The other was an altercation in the police station.”
Both times, said the chief, Taback was able to subdue the highly agitated residents without injury to them or Taback. Now that the other officers have been similarly equipped for the past week, Solomon expects an increasing trend of fewer injuries and safer arrests.
“With this thing, they’re just down,” he observed, demonstrating the snapping electrical arc for which TASER devices have become famous.
But such devices have also become famous for injuring and even allegedly killing those hit by its dual prongs, discharging 50,000 volts of electricity for up to five seconds.
Human rights groups have denounced TASER use, and politicians have drafted laws strictly regulating and sometimes prohibiting their operation.
Solomon said he understands concerns but points out that all uses of the TASER X26 will be electronically logged, handled by a staff of officers who never got more than one question wrong on the written test required to be certified.
Plus, he said, the device can often be a better option than an officer’s alternatives of pepper spray, baton, pistol or hand-to-hand combat.
He recalled a recent complaint by a woman held hostage for a whole weekend by her husband in their home. When she escaped and told the police, officers were warned that the man was known to have a collection of weapons.
Chief Solomon arrived to find the man walking toward him down a hallway. He pointed the TASER and its red laser sight at the suspect.
“I put that dot on his chest, and he stopped right there,” Solomon related.
Officers were able to calmly handcuff the man and take him away the TASER wasn’t even used.
“This thing just paid for itself,” said the chief.
But money remains tight, so for now only senior staff are equipped with the X26. Solomon hopes to one day outfit all 24 officers with one.
“We’re dealing with gangs, gun violence and narcotics,” he explained. “What it boils down to is safety for our officers and suspects.”