Massachusetts State Police Arming Troopers With Tasers
Massachusetts State Police has purchased nearly 900 Tasers, once carried only by tactical operations teams, and will begin arming its troopers with the non-lethal, electric stun weapon for the first time.
The new Tasers, purchased for nearly $1 million, “are a tool that will help resolve hostile confrontations before they escalate into situations requiring lethal force,” Col. Richard McKeon told the Associated Press.
Tasers emit an electric charge capable of temporarily incapacitating a suspect. Police officers in Massachusetts have used Tasers since 2004, and according to Dana Pullman, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, troopers have been pushing for them for years.
“None of us want to shoot anybody,” superintendent Col. Richard McKeon told the Globe Thursday. “It provides for more safety, less injury, and it’s a less-than-lethal force tool. It can also be a deterrent.”
The latest 158 graduates of the State Police Academy have been trained to use the weapons, and State Police says a rigorous policy will govern their use, with every instance recorded.
But how readily this information will be available to the public remains to be seen. State Police, which lobbied against the latest public records law reform, received the Golden Padlock Award last year, given by the Investigative Reporters and Editors to the most secretive public agency in America.
“The Massachusetts State Police habitually go to extraordinary lengths to thwart public records requests, protect law enforcement officers and public officials who violate the law and block efforts to scrutinize how the department performs its duties,” IRE wrote. “It normally takes months or longer to respond to news media FOI requests. Requests for basic documents routinely produce refusals, large portions of blacked out documents or demands for tens of thousands of dollars in unjustified fees.”