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Posted on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University police to be equipped with Tasers

By Kyle Feldscher

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.


Bob Heighes

Courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

The department will be holding two informational sessions to answer questions about the Tasers at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday in Room 352 of the EMU Student Center. All members of the university community are encouraged to attend.

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.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

RE:"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." - A legitimate question, I believe, is: what is the stance of EMU and their student body on the matter of improving self defense capability for students there (or anywhere, for that matter)? There are many non-lethal and safe methods, strategies and "tools" available, including classes on anti-crime measures for apartments, dorms and homes. Focusing on what's forbidden in the way of self defense measures leaves people ignorant, unprepared and vulnerable. I say this because one prime example of safer life on campus is summed up in the phrase: "Don't open that door." This is professional advice and the SAFER ALTERNATIVE to opening one's door to strangers or to little-known associates IS given. "College Student Culture" provides no such security or privacy. Should that be allowed by universities and parents or should reasonable, rational alternatives be insisted upon? The general attitude is: "Let 'er rip! There's nothing we can do about it." Somehow, I don't think that's working out very well.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

RE: "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." Meaning that EMU-PD exercised due diligence in deciding whether to arm its officers with seldom-lethal tasers. Meanwhile, we have comments criticizing this decision,even though proper procedures were followed and are being followed (additional mandatory training, etc.) Anyone criticizing the use of tasers (in the context of actual police operations around the country) would do better to FIRST gain some practical experience and knowledge in the area of using deadly vs non-deadly force. Are tasers totally safe and always non-lethal? No - and there's NEVER been that claim made. But are tasers proven to be safer than firearms and in most cases non-lethal? Yes, yes, YES!! Tasers have caused some fatalities. That's reality, get over it. The circumstances in which they are used by police are almost always a justifiable action. In cases when they are used without demonstrable necessity: the officer(s) involved are investigated and punished. Bottom line: it's a bad decision for someone to behave belligerently toward a police officer. Doing so: PROVIDES the officer with the justification to use a taser on the aggressor.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

"Heighes said the Tasers will enhance the safety of both police and students by reducing the number of violent interactions with police." I'd like to know how many violent interactions with police occur on the EMU campus. The crime incident map shows one incidence of aggravated assault in one of the dorms in the past two months. That's the only crime shown that might have involved a violent confrontation with police; no way to know whether it actually did. Was it necessary to spend $55,000 on Tasers at a time when state funds for education are falling off?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

A great LE tool commonly refered to among criminals as " the chair " which I say to them " have a seat " ...


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:18 a.m.

Good News to my ears!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

Tasers? Blah. We give the AAPD AR-15s, complete with Picatinny rails and all attachments necessary for an intence CQB house-to-house battle. Plus, we let the AAPD display them prominently in the front seat of their cruisers. If it were up to me, I'd give the police fragmentation grenades and recoilless rifles - 'cause we want our public safety officers equipped with "whatever they need." Poor EMU police - how are they going to deal with the "firepower" all the criminals of Ypsilanti have?


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

You seem to be forgetting: use of deadly force is a last resort for law enforcement, too. You do understand what "LAST resort" means, don't you? As for the "firepower" in the hands of Ypsi criminals: not all of them have "firepower" of any kind - and only a few represent a deadly threat to police. Your statement would be true IF it were true of all criminals in that municipality. Just FYI: this isn't a 007 movie, it's real life. Neither is the situation one which necessitates Navy Seal level firepower in the hands of police. Suggesting You: Get better acquainted with the meaning of "appropriate", lay off the coffee and violent video games for a while. :-)


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

too bad they are zero-ed for 15yards, yes, 15 yards! and with all those rails they still dont have optics because "they can fail...' riiiiight, just why SF, Marines, etc. all use them bec they can fail when jumping out of choppers etc...eyes rolling...


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:34 a.m.


Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

Don't taze me bro!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Ah....fond memories of a 2010 DEVO song...."Don't shoot, I'm a Man"...which was poking fun at that don't taze me bro guy!!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:57 a.m.

Ha ha, I still watch that video from time to time when I need a good laugh.

Honest Abe

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Brian, the problem with that is that because Tasers are percieved as "safe", police are often quicker to use them than they are with guns.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

So, if the cops didn't have Tazers and had to shoot him would you still make the same point?

Honest Abe

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

There are still a lot of unknown effects regarding the use of Tasers. Tasers have caused deaths in situations where a Police officer is trying to control an individual/situation, but not requiring deadly force. Police were able to do their jobs long before the Taser came along. I just don't see the need for a method to be used that can possibly be fatal. I fully support the safety and well being of LEO, however I also support the safety and well being of citizens too, even if they are having an encounter with the Police. And obviously a situation that possibly warrants deadly force, the officer will have a gun in their hand, not the Taser.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

So how about using the Tazer and hopefully not killing the person instead of using a gun and most likely killing the person? Police are trained to kill if they need to shoot someone, I know this.

Honest Abe

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

@Fred- I admit, I've never had to physically apprehend any uncooperative suspects, unless you want to count the uncooperative, pesky ole members of the NVA I 'apprehended' between 67-69.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

>>And obviously a situation that possibly warrants deadly force, the officer will have a gun in their hand, not the Taser And without access to a taser, a drawn gun will be required far more often. Come back with some more opinions after you have had the actual experience to physically apprehend a few dozen uncooperative suspects.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

How about spitballs?

Honest Abe

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

I'm sure with the technology and input from LEO's, something can be designed that is safer than a conducted energy weapon.

Tim Hornton

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

In real news the AAnews is slow as usual to get to "EMU to pay $75,000 to social work student Julea Ward who refused to counsel gay client" Thanks Free Press, the Free Press is super liberal too but they at least let people post their thoughts without the a comment police and actually allow free think ideas to stay posted.

Tim Hornton

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

"Honest" Abe, doesn't get much more honest than that.

Honest Abe

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

You're absolutely right Tim. Regardless if it is foul language, insults or whatever, if does not like what you's outta here! Other media sites let you say what you want, period. But there again, that's your normal left wing, liberal media outlet for you. And believe me, A2.Com is as far to the left as you can get.

Julie Baker

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Hi Tim. You can read our coverage of the Julea Ward resolution here:


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Uh oh Dading!