New equipment ordered for Saginaw PD - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New equipment ordered for Saginaw PD

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(09/25/12) - In recent weeks, the city of Saginaw has pledged to get police officers additional training and equipment. Those discussions surfaced after the shooting death of Milton Hall, a mentally ill homeless man.

Now, some new tools are on the way.

Previously, the department used Taser International brand electronic immobilization devices, also called an EID.

Tuesday, similar devices from a different manufacturer were ordered.

They look very similar to the Tasers Saginaw Police officers use now. "Difference between the two is Karbon Arms does not have a five year life span for their product," said Interim Police Chief Brian Lipe.

Also new, this brand of EID has a different position for the camera, which has been a sore spot for officers, according to Lipe. "Came out like a hook on the Taser, which a lot of times would catch on the officer's seatbelt."

At Monday night's city council meeting, councilors approved using just more than $74,000 in drug forfeiture money to buy 70 devices.

"We'll have enough for everybody who works road on a regular basis. We'll have a couple that will be available for detectives. We'll have a couple that will be held for spares," Lipe said.

That's a big upgrade. "We have 15 working Tasers right now," Lipe said.

But that's down from 25. The rest are broken or have outlived their company imposed lifespan.

And while the purchase comes as the community demands change after the shooting death of Milton Hall, Lipe says the timing is purely coincidental. "This was something we've been looking at since the spring."

Councilwoman Annie Boensch believes the city is making a responsible purchase, at an appropriate time. "It's coincidental to some extent because it's day to day business and it's just a good choice and a good purchase, and unfortunately the situation with Mr. Hall just highlights exactly why these are important purchases."

The plan is to have officers fully trained on the new devices by late October.

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