LYNDHURST, N.J. — An agitated man who recently confronted a Lyndhurst police officer didn't seem about to back off, so the officer unholstered his Taser, Police Chief James O'Connor told Daily Voice.
“Once the individual saw that, he immediately became non-aggressive,” the chief said, emphasizing the value of the electronic device.
His officers began carrying Tasers a little over two weeks ago to be better able to deal with emotionally disturbed, intoxicated or aggressive people, O'Connor said.
The device's incapacitating pluses keep those types of people from being dangers to police, themselves or others, he said. They also provide a non-lethal response when time and circumstance allow.
Tasers became a topic in Bergen County this summer following three police shooting in under a month.
One was in Lyndhurst in late May when a local man wanted by authorities was shot and killed after assaulting two officers with a knife who followed him into the local library.
New Jersey was the final state in the U.S. to approve stun gun use. Local police have been slow in getting them because of what they say is a lengthy wait for required one-on-one training and a hefty price tag caused by the cameras that state law says they must include.
About a third of all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey have issued Tasers to their officers. More than two dozen of them are in Bergen County.
The devices, which propel two small probes at the target's body -- delivering a five-second signal that temporarily disables neuro-muscular control -- are effective up to 25 feet, Taser International says.
Others with Tasers in Bergen County include police departments in Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Edgewater, Englewood Cliffs, Englewood, Fairview, Fort Lee, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hillsdale, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Maywood, Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgefield Park, Ridgefield, Ridgewood, South Hackensack, Teaneck, and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
“In the force continuum," O'Connor said. "Rather than have an officer go hands on with someone, they can now employ a Taser. It creates less of a risk of physical injury to the individual and to the officer.”
All Lyndhurst police are fully trained in Taser use before receiving them, he said.
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