Should taser guns be returned to Waveland police officers?

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland's police chief would like to see tasers back on the streets. You may recall Mayor David Garcia took tasers away from the department shortly after taking office.

The chief says the stun guns would be beneficial for his officers in keeping them safe and preventing deadly force.

"It's probably one of the better tools that's ever come out for law enforcement," Waveland Police Chief Kenny Hurt said. "And if used properly, it's probably the best tool made."

But some say the Waveland police force hasn't always used those tools properly. Under the previous administration, the city and the police department faced 14 lawsuits involving the use of tasers, most alleged the abuse of the stun guns. Ten of those lawsuits have been settled or resolved.

"I have no plans what so ever putting them back on the police officers at this time," Waveland Mayor David Garcia said. "Nothing against the police officers, we have some very fine policemen. Chief Hurt is doing a good job. But it's just I have as mayor so much on my plate that I don't have time to deal with that issue at this time."

"Tasers, they have their place and they have their use in law enforcement. That's the purpose, it's a tool. But it's a tool that the citizens of Waveland is paying for today, and we want to be careful. I want to be careful that when the day comes when I sit down and evaluate the situation, that I'm comfortable and feel good about the policies and procedures that are in place," explained Garcia.

The police chief said there have been several incidences over the past year where a taser could have been helpful. Specifically a situation caught on tape where a mentally ill man threatened his family with a knife.

"He's totally out of control, he's got a knife and it took four officers about 25 minutes to subdue him," Hurt recalled. "And if we had a taser, it would have been just a matter of minutes and it would have been over with and nobody hurt."

"Policemen can still do their job. They do them every day without tasers all over the United States," Garcia said. "Every department throughout the United States do not automatically issue tasers."

The mayor said right now he has more pressing issues to tackle in the city than putting tasers back in the hands of officers. Chief Hurt would like to see at least one officer per shift to be allowed to carry a taser.

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