Baltimore PD Angles for $8M for New Tasers, Camera Tech

The police department is asking for the funds to purchase the stun guns and body cameras that activate when a gun or Taser has been fired.

by Christina Tkacik, The Baltimore Sun / January 29, 2019

(TNS) — The Baltimore Police Department is asking the city for nearly $8 million for Tasers and software that will activate officers’ body-worn cameras when a Taser or a gun is fired.

Those requests will go before the city’s five-member Board of Estimates on Wednesday.

Axon Enterprises Inc., formerly known as Taser International Inc., is “the manufacturer’s sole authorized source of these products,” and the city Police Department's choice for the contract.

Last year, the BOE approved an additional $6.8 million for the city’s contract with Axon, which expires in 2023 with options to renew. If the latest request is approved, it would bring total spending under the contract to around $26.5 million. That’s more than double the initial contract, awarded in March 2016, for nearly $12 million.

The increasing use of Tasers by area police officers has been controversial. A 2016 investigation by The Baltimore Sun found that Baltimore police officers exceeded widely accepted safety limits for Tasers more than any other force in Maryland, and in nearly all cases fired the weapon at suspects who were not complying with police orders but did not pose a threat.

Taser is the only brand of stun gun used by law enforcement in Maryland. It fires two electrified darts that incapacitate suspects long enough for them to be handcuffed.

©2019 The Baltimore Sun. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.