Gilbert police officers will soon be carrying stun guns alongside their batons and pepper spray.
Gilbert is the East Valley’s last department to join the national trend of providing Tasers, a nonlethal stun gun produced by Scottsdale-based Taser International.
The Gilbert Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of 169 "X26 Advanced Tasers" for every Gilbert police and detention officer. The cost of the guns and related equipment is $164,867, which will be taken from Gilbert’s contingency budget.
"We feel really confident that if we deploy Tasers to all our officers, injuries to suspects and officers will be reduced quite a bit," Gilbert Police Chief John Brewer said.
"It’s just another tool in the toolbox we can use . . . rather than go to deadly force," said Gilbert police officer Robert Targosz, a defensive tactics instructor who researched the Taser purchase.
The 6-inch, 7-ounce Tasers have a range of up to 21 feet and produce a 50,000-volt charge that temporarily paralyzes a person — without permanent injury or death.
"Obviously anything that will substitute for deadly force is a good thing," Gilbert Councilman Don Skousen said.
Gilbert Councilman Dave Crozier praised the purchase of Tasers, calling them a tool that could help prevent officer-related shootings in Gilbert.
In Mesa, Tasers were unable to prevent two officerrelated shootings last year. Mario Madrigal Jr., 15, and Mary Ann Minchew, 23, were both shot and killed by Mesa officers in separate incidents after the two charged with knives and the stun guns were unable to stop them, police said.