Moss Point police say stun guns are keeping officers safe

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Moss Point police say they have reduced the number of injuries to officers and suspects since the department began using stun guns last summer.

The Tasers shoot 50,000 volts of electricity into a person, overriding the nervous system and rendering the person immobile for a short time.

“The number of injuries to officers and to suspects has gone down tremendously, and our number of complaints have also decreased since we purchased the Tasers,” Police Chief Demetrius Drakeford said.

Only 10 officers were initially certified to use the devices, but now more than 23 have completed their training, Drakeford said.

The department bought 11 Tasers with $10,000 in seized drug money this summer, Drakeford said. Each unit, including holsters, costs about $800.

Drakeford said he drafted the department’s Taser policy from combining other Gulf Coast city policies.

Before Tasers were available, Drakeford said officers had just two options for subduing suspects — chemical spray or batons. Both options require the officer to be relatively close to the suspect and Tasers provide a much safer alternative, he said.

“The usage of the Taser guns is just another way of modernizing the department,” Drakeford said. “Tasers give my officers more confidence on the streets. Many times an officer will have to confront multiple suspects and control the situation until backup arrives. The Taser gun is a tool that helps in those instances as well as preventing injuries.”