Detroit Police Department considering using tasers

Adding a new crime-fighting tool for Detroit police officers is sparking debate in Detroit.

Should police officers carry tasers? Many police departments already do, but there are still a lot of opinions on both sides of this issue.

The use of tasers by Detroit police is a topic long debated but now the chief's office is taking steps to prepare for their use to become reality.

According to Assistant Chief James White, the chief's office is drafting a list of preliminary department policies for officers to obey, if tasers are introduced.

"What we are asking for is a weapon to lessen the injury to the officers lessen the injury to the community and show this community as we have in the past many years that we are partners with them and it is not us against them," White said.

A board of five experts with backgrounds in medical, civil rights and law enforcement, were invited by the board of commissioners to offer input.

"When we look at what is actually delivered to the tissue, it is about 1,900 volts delivered to the tissue in a series of pulses," said Robert Dunne, MD St. John's Hospital & DMC.

Some say tasers have been used to force those under arrest into compliance

"The darts are removed from the taser device, and it can be used in what's called a dry stun, and so what you do is place the device directly on the person and administer the shock in that way," said Mark Fancher, attorney for the ACLU.

Others say, there's a way to make tasers affective as an alternative to gun fire, if we as a community plan ahead.

"We have to do as much as we can to train, retrain, and educate," said Isaiah McKinnon, former Detroit police chief and deputy mayor.

Sgt. Mark Young of the Detroit police said while tasers are not the total solution, they're a good start.

"You have an obligation to these men and women that go out here every day, to serve your community, to give them every tool that you can possibly give them," Young said.

Members of the board of commissioners say they still have to gather more information before they approve the use of tasers, then city council will also have to give their approval, but do to financial reasons, tasers likely won't be approved and utilized until after body cameras.