A Stunning New Tool in Lancaster Police Arsenal
LANCASTER -- In the few days since the Lancaster Police Department has been issued Tasers, local officers have yet to stun any criminal suspects.
Police Chief Ed Burgwinkel hopes it will stay that way.
“Every muscle in your body constricts. You go right up on your tippy-toes and you fall right over,” he said. “It was the most intense five seconds of my life.”
Burgwinkel and four other members of the department volunteered to get stunned by one of the department’s new Tasers, which were distributed to officers on Sunday. The entire department has been trained to use them and they will now be carried by every Lancaster officer while out on patrol.
Acquiring the Tasers had been a year in the making for Lancaster police and came after several years of having to rely on the departments of neighboring communities when a Taser was needed to make an arrest. Police in Clinton and Bolton were frequently called in the last two to three years to assist Lancaster officers.
“Any time we’ve had combative suspects, we’ve had to call another town in. You’re bringing in people from the outside and you’re passing liability onto other communities when we should be the people having that,” said Burgwinkel. “It’s been needed.”
With the help of confiscated drug money, enough funding was found in the department’s budget to make the purchase of 10 Tasers this year.
Each Taser is capable of shocking a suspect with up to 50,000 volts of electricity. Burwinkel said he hopes word will eventually spread of the department now having them and that just the appearance of one during and arrest will become a deterrent to violence.
“When Clinton first got them, they had to use them several times,” he said. “Then word got out about what they’re like. Now they hardly deploy them at all anymore.”
Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53.