Taser Cams – stun guns equipped with video cameras – will soon hit the streets with police in Loveland, Oh., and Butler County’s Fairfield Township, both near Cincinnati, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Officers hope the equipment will help silence some of the controversy over Taser use. Some studies have suggested Tasers could cause or contribute to deaths of suspects in custody, and use of the weapons on children has been hotly debated.
Taser supporters say the devices save lives of suspects and officers. Advocates hope that having an objective record of incidents will protect officers from exaggerated complaints and protect the public by documenting whether police misuse the weapon. The manufacturer, Taser International of Scottsdale, Az., says more than 11,000 law enforcement agencies deploy Tasers to “temporarily incapacitate subjects from zero to 35 feet away.” The new Taser Cams and camera units cost just over $21,000 – about 90 percent of which will be paid by a federal grant.