Hudson, N.H., is one of the latest towns to embrace the Taser as an effective way to subdue suspects, reports the Lowell (Ma.) Sun. “Where Taser weapons are deployed, police departments have found that the number of people resisting arrests goes down,” said police Chief Richard Gendron. “They don’t want to be shot.”
Hudson won a $10,000 federal grant to purchase 10 of the newest Tasers. Gendron said that Tasers are safer than pepper spray, shotgun-fired beanbags, or the old-fashioned police baton.
Human-rights and civil-liberties groups say the use of Tasers ought not be permitted on either animals or people. In Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union last month asked Denver’s police chief to restrict use of Tasers to situtations when there is no other alternative. The ACLU said that more than 30 people have died in police custody since 2001 after incidents in which a Taser was used.
Taser company spokesman Steve Tuttle denies that the device’s 50,000-watt jolts can cause a heart attack. Taser International is at work on innovations like as a shoulder-mounted Taser that could extend the range to up to 300 feet. The company’s Web site boasts that 4,000 police departments worldwide have acquired Tasers. The number is rising almost as fast as Taser’s stock price, which is up 2,000 percent in a year.