EAST CHICAGO | Patrol officers here should soon have an additional — and nonlethal — law enforcement tool on their duty belts, thanks to police colleagues in Hammond.
A deal approved this week will put 50 gently used Taser units in the hands of East Chicago officers, and at a bargain price.
"When we started here, we asked the officers what they needed, and what they wanted," said East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker, who was sworn in in February.
"They said they would really like to have Tasers," Becker said.
Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said his department was in the process of upgrading its complement of five-year-old Taser units when the matter came up in conversation with Becker.
"Tasers have saved many a suspect's life," since Hammond police first deployed the devices in 2003, Miller said, "and prevented potential injuries to officers."
Miller said he was glad to be able to be of assistance to his counterparts in the neighboring city.
For $12,500, East Chicago will receive 50 X26 Taser units, 200 live and practice cartridges, and hands-on training, under terms of the agreement.
The X26 Tasers deliver 50,000 volts of attitude adjustment from as far away as 17 feet, and have an on-board digital video and audio recorder to preserve the situations in which they are actually used.
With East Chicago's budget still in the red for the year, Becker said his department couldn't afford new Tasers, which would cost more than $1,000 each.
"I'm happy to put a piece of equipment in the hands of our officers that they want," Becker said, "and at an affordable price."
East Chicago officials are expected to finalize the deal later this month, and Becker said his officers should be trained and on the streets with their Tasers early in July.