Police using JAG funds to buy new stun guns

FLINT TWP. — After about 13 years of carrying its current Taser model, township police officers are overdue for an upgrade.

The township Board of Trustees has authorized police officials to purchase 20 new Taser X2 models, paid for with 2015-16 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding.

Taser, the manufacturer, is offering a package price of $35,684.69, which is lower than the cost for equipment purchased through the state bid process, said Police Chief George Sippert, in his request to the board.

Taser is a reputable company whose products are an industry standard nationwide, he said. Offering the best technology on the market, benefits of the X2 model includes reduced claims of excessive exposure, no accidental discharge, reduced aiming problems and immediate reengagement capability. The new Tasers will replace current Model X26 Tasers that have outlasted their expected service life but are no longer under warranty and are no lon- ger repairable or being produced. Of those purchased in 2004, only about half remain in service, Chief Sippert said. Officers also use holsters not included in the Taser kit. So, the total purchase will include 40 holsters – one for each officer – to be purchased from Blade-Tech Industries at a cost of $1639.55. Chief Sippert explained that each officer receives his own holster which is attached to his or her belt, but Tasers are shared. The electronic control devices (ECD)are stored in the equipment room and checked out and in at the beginning and end of each shift, he said. ECDs are used to control uncooperative and combative subjects by giving them an electric shock. Studies show that the devices reduce litigation and citizen complaints of excessive force, Chief Sippert said, adding that often the mere display of the Taser often is enough to cause uncooperative subjects to comply with officers’ instructions. The total cost of the new equipment is covered by JAG funding, which the department receives each year from the United States Justice Bureau. The funds are directed towards crime reduction and improvement of the quality of life in high-crime communities. Equipment purchases is one of many ways JAG funds may be spent. The Flint Township Police Department administers an Interlocal Agreement for JAG funding awarded to Genesee County. Genesee County’s 2016 allocation of $218,602 was divided among five eligible municipalities – the townships of Flint and Mt. Morris, the cities of Burton and Flint and Genesee County. The allocations are based on crime statistics, Last year, Flint Township’s sharewas$32,151,includinga5percent administrative fee. In 2015, the township’s share was $32,637, including the administrative fee.

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