TOLEDO (WTOL) - Toledo Police Officers’ jobs are at risk due to aging weapons. Now, the department is planning to update them.
Toledo Police leaders are pushing City Council to approve funding for an upgraded Taser system; Axon’s Taser 7.
Around 60 percent of Toledo Police’s 585 tasers are close to the end of their service life. They’re roughly a decade old, and a Toledo Police trainer says a Taser’s reliability declines after about five years.
Yet buying 351 new Tasers outright would cost the department a pretty penny. Each Taser costs about $2,000, from the battery, to the cartridges to the unit itself.
The department plans to sign a new five-year agreement with Axon Enterprises to essentially “lease” new Tasers. Axon will cover the cost of the Taser and related equipment (like batteries, data storage, cartridges and more) as well as maintenance and training for officers.
Axon will also buy back Toledo Police’s current tasers for upwards of $90,000.
The new Tasers come with upgrades; they will be more effective at close range as well as have “automatic smart features.” Because much of the manual input with the tasers will be alleviated, TPD trainers say they will save the department an estimated five man hours per unit per year.
Police trainers say they haven’t had any issues with their current tasers, but they want to be proactive.
"Not only does it put the officer at risk, it puts the department in a bad situation liability-wise because the company is reluctant to stand by a device that we would be using that is out of warranty. The instances and chances of an electronic device failing after a five-year service life go up exponentially, so it's better for us to get those units off the street,” Officer David Cichocki, a trainer with Toledo Police, said.
The contract for these tasers will cost city taxpayers $349,920 each year from the general fund after the first year of the contract (four years total).
Yet leaders say with the benefits, it’s a significant price save over buying the tasers outright.
Police trainers hope to start training officers with the new tasers this summer.