Hundreds of police officers are also on payrolls of companies that supply weapons, riot gear, and other equipment to the officers’ departments, creating possible conflicts of interest, USA Today reports. The arrangements have involved officers who advise their departments on what equipment to buy, a survey of at least a half-dozen companies showed.
Taser International, the nation’s leading maker of stun guns, says it pays at least 270 officers to conduct training seminars for other police. It also sends money to the survivors of police who are killed while on duty. Several other private companies that supply equipment to police – including Armor Holdings, which makes bullet-resistant clothing; ASP, a police baton manufacturer; and PepperBall Technologies, a maker of pepper-spray repellent – said they also pay officers to train other police to use the companies’ products. Arrangements between equipment providers and police have generated no formal allegations of wrongdoing. Taser International President Tom Smith says police are paid about $600 plus travel expenses to oversee a two-day training session on their days off. “We bring in officers for their expertise,” he says. “You don’t have nurses train pilots.”