About two years ago the Department of Public Safety decided they needed up upgrade their Tasers, but they went about it all wrong and it could cost taxpayers big bucks.
"The Taser gives us a non-lethal way of dealing with some very dangerous situations," said Cpt. Victor McCraw.
Part McCraw's job is to test equipment to make sure it's the right fit for the men and women out on the streets. so naturally he was approached to scope out the department's latest choice in Tasers, the X3.
"It has more features and it had a greater capacity to deploy multiple cartridges," McCraw said.
Sounds good right? But at $1,600 a pop they should probably be tested out before buying a boatload. A spokesperson with DPS said Former Highway Patrol Chief Jack Hegarty scrapped that plan and decided to scoop up 1,000 of them, at a total of $1.6 million taxpayer dollars. It wasn't until after the big purchase that McCraw was asked to test them out.
"We did not recommend that the X3 be deployed department wide and statewide to all uniformed patrol officers for regular patrol duties," he said.
McCraw said the X3 was way too big.
"So much so that it interfered with their ability to get in and out of their vehicles, put their safety belts on, get their safety belts off in a hurry and some of the motor officers said it impaired their ability to get on and off their motorcycles," he said.
He also said it was way too hard to use under pressure.
"Sixty-five percent of the officers were less than confident that they could deploy the Taser in a stressful situation," McCraw said.
So the fancy new Tasers had to go, blowing big bucks at a time when the DPS budget was getting slashed and DPS was down officers.
McCraw said the department is testing a different Taser model now that's working much better and a DPS spokesperson said the department is working out a deal to trade in the old ones for the new ones, but it probably won't be an exact swap. No one will say how much taxpayer money could be wasted.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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