MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today that as much as $72,500 will be made available for the purchase of as many as 29 conducted energy devices, commonly known as Tasers, one for each municipal police department and law enforcement agency in Middlesex County.
The announcement came after Attorney General Paula T. Dow approved use of the devices by police officers who successfully complete training offered by Taser International, the manufacturer of the X2 and X26 models, which have been shown to meet the criteria established in the Attorney General’s Revised Policy on Conduced Energy Devices.
In addition to training by the manufacturer, police officers will be required to undergo approved training through the New Jersey Police Training Commission. Use of the devices must be in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines.
Following the Attorney General’s announcement, Prosecutor Kaplan offered to provide one device to any police department in Middlesex County that sends officers for training. Prosecutor Kaplan previously served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Group to Study Less Lethal Ammunition.
“Properly trained police officers will now have another tool to protect the citizens of Middlesex County,” Kaplan said.
Prosecutor Kaplan said he hoped that by offering money for an initial purchase by each police department, authorities will realize the potential benefits of the devices, and will train additional officers and purchase additional devices.
Officers who have undergone instructor training would then be certified to train other officers in their departments on the proper use of the devices.
“New equipment and training are two very important ways that we can help our local police departments enhance their efforts,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios. “As the chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee, I would like to thank Prosecutor Kaplan and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for making this opportunity available to all of our municipalities.”
The devices cost as much as $2,500 each and will be purchased with funds that were seized by court order from criminal activities, such as illicit drug sales.
“On behalf of my freeholder colleagues, I wish to thank the prosecutor’s office for finding fiscally responsible ways to provide our law enforcement officers with the tools they need to protect and serve the residents of Middlesex County,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano.
Kaplan gained support of the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police, which voted on Oct. 18, to approve his offer to provide one device to each department that meets the training requirements.
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, a former president of the Middlesex County Chiefs Association and first vice-president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, supported the plan.
The last thing a police officer wants to do is to use deadly force. Not every situation may involve going to a Taser, but having that option is a benefit to the officer, the department and the public,’’ the chief said.
The offer is being made to each of the 25 municipal police departments in the county, and to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, the Rutgers University Police Department, the Middlesex County College Police Department and the Middlesex County Department of Adult Corrections.
Training sessions are being planned by the manufacturer and the State Police, but training dates have yet to be established. Training could begin early next year.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!