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The Sacramento Police Department will update its Taser arsenal if an ordinance banning purchases from Arizona doesn’t stop the six-figure deal.
Taser International, based in Arizona, has supplied the department with the less-lethal weaponry for nearly a decade, according to Capt. Scott LaCosse.
“They’re old, they’ve been through a lot of use, and the manufacturer is not supporting them anymore with training or updates or ability to get them serviced,” LaCosse said. “We’ve experienced some situations where they’re not working. They’re electronic devices.”
Police are asking the council to authorize not more than $440,000 to purchase 360 new Tasers, holsters and Taser cartridges, though the actual cost will be closer to $360,000, LaCosse said.
He explained that asking for the larger amount allows the department to account for unanticipated incidental costs such as variations in shipping without returning to the council for adjustments. In this case, he added, the amount to be authorized is higher due to anticipated prices coming in lower than expected.
The funding comes from “seized asset funds” – money generally collected from the sale of items confiscated during narcotics raids.
A city ordinance passed on June 15 orders that "where practicable and where there is no significant additional cost to the City, the City of Sacramento shall not enter into any new, amended, extended, or supplemental contracts to purchase or procure goods or services from any business or entity that is headquartered in Arizona," according to the staff report.
City spokeswoman Linda Tucker said police told her it would “involve a huge expense to replace (the Tasers) with a different vendor.”
LaCosse said there aren’t any other vendors who can supply products of the same type and quality.
Neither Tucker nor LaCosse speculated on what the City Council will decide Tuesday, but the item is on the consent agenda, which is typically passed in one motion without discussion.
In addition to being outdated – LaCosse said the manufacturer recommends a service life of five years – older-model Tasers are bulky and not practical for officers to wear at all times.
Sgt. Norm Leong said the older M26 Tasers are often left in vehicles, while the newer X26 models are smaller and can be worn on an officer’s belt at all times.
The department currently has both models, but pending City Council approval Tuesday night, it will turn in its 288 M26 models and replace them with 360 X26 Tasers.
“Right now, the manufacturer is offering a trade-in of $75 per unit toward a new device,” LaCosse said.
La Cosse said the 360 Tasers will be bought for $810 each, and 360 holsters will be purchased at $20 each. Belt clips for the holsters come in at $9 apiece, and the department will buy 1,800 cartridges for $37,600, and sales tax will come in at almost $30,000.
He added that all sworn officers will have access to the newer Tasers, and that access serves the public by ensuring officers have the less-lethal option of stopping someone at all times.
LaCosse said Tasers have been shown to reduce injuries by stopping violent suspects without officers “getting into wrestling matches that lead to a lot of injuries.”
Photos of the X26 Taser courtesy Taser International, Inc.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.