Eastern Michigan University police to be equipped with Tasers
Starting in January, every officer in the Eastern Michigan University Police Department will be equipped with a Taser for the first time, according to the university's police chief.
EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes said the department purchased 33 Tasers for use by campus officers. Heighes said the Tasers will enhance the safety of both police and students by reducing the number of violent interactions with police.
Courtesy of Eastern Michigan University
Heighes said the Tasers will have cameras that record both video and audio once they’re activated, allowing for a record of the situation when the Taser was used. He said the purchase of Tasers has been on his radar for some time.
“The purchase was made for the safety of our officers,” he said. “Any time an officer gets involved in hands-on contact, there’s potential for the suspect or officer being hurt. Tasers are a less-than-lethal tool we can use.”
The total cost for the 33 Tasers was $55,000, Heighes said. The department got the approval of the university’s Board of Regents while also seeking out the opinions of President Susan Martin, the student government and faculty senate.
Officers will be required to complete a one-day program teaching them about operating the weapon safely and scenarios on when they might be used. After completing the program, the officers will be issued their Tasers, according to university officials.
Heighes said three officers are currently going through instructor school and will then train officers before the end of the month.
The EMU police join a list of Washtenaw County law enforcement agencies that use Tasers. All of the police officers in the county carry Tasers, except for those with the Saline and University of Michigan police departments.
Campus police at Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Lansing Community College and Schoolcraft Community College also carry Tasers, according to EMU officials.
It is illegal for anyone other than a police officer to carry a Taser on campus, even if they have a concealed weapons permit, EMU said.