Lakewood Police Department Could Soon Begin Using Tasers

EXCLUSIVE: Lakewood Police Officers could soon begin using tasers, Police Chief Rob Lawson tells TLS. State Attorney General Paula Dow has recently approved New Jersey Police Departments to use the non-lethal weapons as an alternative to deadly force, anddepartments throughout New Jersey – one of the last States to approve it – are now considering the option.

“We’re considering it”, Police Chief Rob Lawson said. 

Chief Lawson says should the department decide to use the weapons, they would be required to use one of two options dictated by the Attorney General, but both options would require the tasers be equipped with video cameras, which records the officer’s actions when the weapon is removed from its holster. The video could then be viewed by superiors, monitoring its use. (Asked why they would not require standard weapons to use similar video recording equipment, despite the fact that they cause deadly force and spark many lawsuits, the Chief could not explain).  

Until about a year ago, the weapons were illegal to Law Enforcement Officers, but now with the new option, many departments feel the alternative could serve them well in confrontational situations which are not an immediate danger to the officer’s life.

“It’s for situations when the threat is not imminent”, Lawson said.

The Chief says a 2010 incident where a man wielded a knife at an officer and was taken down by the officer’s vehicle, (as reported on TLS) would be a perfect example of when a taser would be used. Although in many situations the officer’s use of deadly force would be justifiable in the court of law, preserving a life would be the main priority for any department.

But before officers could use the tasers, they would be required to pass a 3-phase course, the Chief said. The course includes instruction on recognizing mental illness and dealing with EDPs (Emotionally Disturbed Persons).

If and when the Department decides to use the tasers, they would not be purchased for each officer due to budget restraints. Instead, the department would initially purchase 3-4 pieces to be used by one of several trained officers on each shift. The price of the weapons is approximately $2,000 – $2,500, Lawson says.

The Chief said the department could begin using the weapons by the end of this year. TLS.

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  1. “Asked why they would not require standard weapons to use similar video recording equipment, despite the fact that they cause deadly force and spark many lawsuits, the Chief could not explain”

    -let me explain since the chief could not.

    To begin, purchasing the camera’s for guns is not in anyone’s budget. A gun-cam is available on the market, for 199.99 +(shipping). Now dont forget, the holsters issued out in lakewood police dept right now do not accommodate for a flashlight/laser mounted on the weapon. So to get a duty holster that will accommodate those will cost about another $150. So in total thats around $350/each officer.

    -then to make things more complicated, the camera on the gun wont turn on automatically on its own once the gun is taken out of the holster. it needs to be turned on with a button. thats whats different about the taser. it turns on the camera automatically once removed from its holster. the taser camera, the taser, the taser holster all are designed by ONE company. whereas the standard issue duty weapon is made by GLOCK, the holster is made by SAFARILAND(example), and the camera is made by TACHYON.

    so when an officer draws his weapon in an emergency situation – he might not have the few precious seconds it takes to look down, turn on the camera, lift the weapon, and acquire a site picture. that could take up to 2-3 seconds.
    thats why these cameras are not great for patrol duties and in return are a waste of money for patrol staff.

  2. My guess is that the requirement by the AG that tasers include cameras is in response to fears that giving officers a non lethal option would allow them to be too trigger happy.

  3. This is what they’re using now in all police stations and even the army.
    The Police in Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, California and Texas.
    Its non lethal.
    This should be everywhere!

  4. The problem is when they start to use them more freely. Everyone knows it’s a great alternative to a gun, but as we’ve time and again, their use gets abused, and police tend to use it in cases that would usually be termed ‘trivial’. A taser in the hands of an ‘abuse-of-power’ type of officer is very dangerous. Does the LDP have such officers?

  5. If u know all the reasons why guns can’t have a camera on it then why couldn’t the chief give all the same reasons you gave. Basically its mostly a money issue and a slight practical issue. Please explain to me how they have the money to train thousands of cops if there is a budget issue?

  6. i cant believe some of these comments. you would think we deal with gestapo on a daily basis instead of well-trained men and women who risk their lives to protect ours. what about those people who are on drugs or alcohol and threaten or try to hurt one of our officers? thats where the taser comes in. its non-lethal and good to have for in times of danger instead of using a gun. you really think cops will be just be tazing people with no warning or justification? that reasoning makes me sick to my stomach and makes me wonder about the people who live in this town…

  7. The idea is definitely a reasonable and welcome one, one that should be weighed and measured. There are two issues that i would like to address
    1) The gestapo comment
    2) The dangers usage will entail

    Gestapo first. No one is stating anything of the sort and the emotional constipation reverberating through your words are an unfounded critique of your own skewed reasoning. There is a credo amongst those of us who are or were law enforcement and this is, “you only draw if you intend to use.” The tazer offers the alternative and will definitely be more readily fired than a firearm. Obviously it will be up to our esteemed police squad, whom I have full confidence and respect for, to make that judgement, and until you are put in a situation that would even require this, I admit it is difficult to even fathom how many calculations run through an officers mind before he takes any action.

    As for the other. Tazing people can cause fatal when dealing with people who have heart conditions or pacemakers. This will open a whole new can of worms for us to digest, but the truth is that what the tazer will really be able to accomplish is to rid the police of the need for all out lieand death physical combat, and help to alleviate a tough situation in a safer and more controlled environment.

    Thank you to the Lakewood PD for all that they do, even though I too suffer through the questionable parking ticket and the not so speeding tickets. We are all but human beings, and even though we disagree, without you…there really is no telling what this town would look like.

    Be safe, and thank you again.

  8. these weapons are dangerous. This is about not wanting to apprehend a person that may give the police a fight. Well when you become a cop you are prepared and trained for confrontation. If you fell the situation is getting out of hand you call for backup. To use a taser gn just because your afraid of a little struggle during a arrest is dispicable.

    the use of a taser will eventually kill someone that has a weak heart and bring about major lawsuits.

    i am so disappointed in my own species!!

  9. Tasers are the worst thing to ever be invented they have no use, if the officer is subject to non deadly force he should use his training in hand to hand combat to subdue the subject if deadly force is needed then shoot. all the tasers do is introduce more liability to the police dept once you have them then you have to answer why you used it and why you didnt. another point is there is alot of abuse with police and tasers across the country, a simple youtube search could make your head spin at the gross abuse police feel much freer to use it “hey it non lethal” very bad idea Lakewood should not get them if chief Lawson thinks they are so needed then he should make the case to us and give us examples of when a taser would have been helpful to the officer in specific cases. They are a big can of worms and a huge waste of money

  10. #6 – akshan: “This will just hurt innocent ppl”
    #9 – Nervous In Lakewood: “The problem is when they start to use them more freely.”
    #12 anonymous “the police will start using the tasers every time they think someone is giving them attitude”

    what country do you folks live in? since when do we have cops that go around and “hurt innocent ppl” as #6 put it? When have you heard of “innocent people” getting pepper sprayed, or hit with a batons? I have never heard of “innocent” people getting pepper sprayed. Its those that do as told. Its those that resist. Its those that have something to prove.

    Officers abide by a “Use of Force Continuum” here is a simple list:
    1 Officer Presence
    2 Verbal Commands & Touching
    3 Soft Techniques (pepper spray, take-downs, pain compliance, etc)
    4 Hard Techniques (hard hands/holds, baton, TASER, K9, etc)
    5 Deadly Force.

    – so tell me obviously some officers make mistakes, but if we can trust them with K9’s and batons which would be in the same level as taser, why do you feel tasers will be misused? wouldn’t you rather them taser someone than stand there and slap them with a steel metal rod causing extensive muscle tissue damage? wouldn’t you rather them taser someone than fight them to exhaustion or worse?

  11. to RealityCheck-
    before you get your knickers a in a twist over my gestapo comment- please see some of the other comments that compelled me to ask why there was such negativity over our officers using tasers;

    “This will just hurt innocent ppl witch cops would never dare shoot”
    “the police will start using the tasers every time they think someone is giving them attitude or they feel stressed out”
    “The problem is when they start to use them more freely. Everyone knows it’s a great alternative to a gun, but as we’ve time and again, their use gets abused, and police tend to use it in cases that would usually be termed ‘trivial’”

    hence my “gestapo” comments..
    i am all for the use of tasers. anything to keep our guys safe on the streets.

  12. Do a quick google searcch on taser use and its lethal capabilities and the abuse of them by cops. It happens all the time. Do the same search in youtube and your hair will stand up. No pun intended.

  13. the more tools officers have for compliance, prior to reaching for their deadly weapon the better.

    we cant expect officers to get into street brawls, and slap people around with steel batons. its ugly, causes nasty youtube videos and a bad reputation for abuse. so for a clean take-town of someone resisting and that could hurt innocent people, why not a 5-10second zap?
    WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE PROTECTING? WHY DO YOU THINK THE COPS ARE OUT TO GET YOU? WHY ARE YOU SO PARANOID? i sometimes wonder on the mental health from some of the lakewood residents, simply based upon the paranoid comments.

  14. Officers can abuse batons, pepper spray, k9, fists, and other tools- so what do we do, strip them of everything?

    We need to punish criminals including rouge cops more/harder and watch the “abuse” drop from all forms of (moderated).

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