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Buffalo police officers soon to be equipped with Tasers

Nick Lippa

The Buffalo Police Department plans to implement a city-wide pilot project to test Tasers early next year. BPD staff has already begun training and plans to finish sometime after Christmas.

The BPD have been involved in three shootings since July, prompting many toquestion if a Taser could act as an alternative in certain situations.

Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo said with incidents like this past week, where a man was a shot after charging police with a knife on a rooftop, a Taser probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

“Comissioner Lockwood is committed to exploring the technology. Testing the technology to see how it works,” said Rinaldo. “But again, people have to understand. Taser is an option, but when you’re faced with deadly physical force, which a knife is a deadly weapon, you match force with force.”

“We’ve already met with Taser. We’ve had our training staff begin the training for the Taser weapon,” Rinaldo said.  “They have trained our trainers in the first half of the sixteen hour training. The additional eight hours they intend to be back sometime after Christmas to deliver that.”

In the past, former Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda expressed concern over the feasibility of the devices. The BPD met with manufacturers earlier in the year to discuss improvements made to the devices.

One advancement made to the weapon include deeper prongs. This increases the devices effectiveness in cold weather when people are dressed in layers.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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