Idaho State Police are asking lawmakers to approve a one-time budget request of $292,400 to buy 175 “conducted energy devices,” commonly called electronic stun guns.
The devices deliver a powerful electric shock that incapacitates someone for a few seconds — long enough for an officer to disarm the person or make an arrest.
“Most agencies already have and utilize this tool,” said Idaho State Police Deputy Director Lt. Col. Kedrick Wills.
Ada County Sheriff’s Office and Boise Police Department started using the devices more than a decade ago.
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“Other agencies have seen that deploying this equipment has resulted in fewer injuries to law enforcement officers, as well as the suspects they are attempting to apprehend,” said Wills.
The devices provide an alternative to using lethal force. In 2016, Idaho law enforcement officers fatally shot six people. None of the shootings involved Idaho State Police troopers.
“We have an obligation to protect both our troopers and the public we serve, and we believe this equipment will assist us in meeting both of those obligations,” said Wills. “Due to the nature of the work of ISP troopers, they often work in remote areas without quick access to back up officers. This makes the need for this equipment even greater, due to the fact that this tool has proven invaluable in assisting with the small percentage of our population who choose to get into a physical altercation with one of our troopers.”
If the Legislature approves the request, Wills said, the agency will put out a bid for the equipment, provide the required training and get the equipment in the field as quickly as possible.