Patrol officers soon to be armed with tasers in D.C.
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
D.C. Police Officers armed with tasers will soon be patrolling the District.
The 7 ON YOUR SIDE I-Team broke the story on Wednesday and Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor is here with reaction.
Struggles like we saw in a 2015 video that left D.C. police officers injured as well as a suspect, has helped fuel the buzz in the District that patrol officers need tasers on the streets of D.C.
The D.C. Police Union is pro taser.
"Sure, it's frustrating. Officers on the street have a very limited number of options when it comes to the use of force," D.C. Police Union Chairman Matt Mahl said.
The I-Team reached out to police departments across the nation and discovered Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and others have been arming their patrol officers with tasers as far back as 2002.
Closer to home Arlington County, Prince William and Frederick County in Maryland have officers with tasers on the street.
"I think it should have been done years ago. The importance of it is that it gives us a buffer zone between you and going hands on with a suspect and using lethal force," Robert Underwood, also with the D.C. Police Union, said.
After several weeks of requesting an on-camera interview with Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham, the I-Team tracked down the mayor at a press conference Wednesday.
"The police chief is planning a program to implement tasers now. I expect we will have a pilot group of officials soon that will be issued tasers and we will come out and talk to you with Chief Newsham about that," Bowser said.
The police union wants tasers issued to all patrol officers.
"Do you know why it's taken so long?" Taylor asked Bowser.
"I've been the mayor for two years, so I wouldn't say it's taken long," Bowser said.
Expect training and tasers on the streets of D.C. as early as next month.