A gradual trend toward the use of Tasers by Atlanta-area police could dramatically surge soon with a plan to give the controversial stun guns to more than 1,000 DeKalb County police officers, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Three suburban city police departments have issued Tasers to patrol officers, but the area's largest departments have either not used the devices or limited them to special squads. Now, DeKalb County Police Chief Terrell Bolton hopes to issue Tasers to every cop on the street. Bolton will ask county commissioners Tuesday to use $1 million from a fund of confiscated drug assets to give Tasers to 1,011 patrol officers, detectives and sergeants.
Bolton had resisted using money confiscated from drug dealers because that revenue source won't necessarily pay for the cartridges that serve as ammunition for Tasers or for replacement weapons. With the county budget tightening and recent drug seizures adding to the confiscation fund, Bolton changed his mind after he attended a ceremony recently naming a county park for two slain officers, each of whom left behind four children. “I don't want any more children on my watch without a father,” he said. He fears an officer trying to avoid using a gun could be killed by a knife-wielding suspect who might have been stopped by a Taser.