Scottsdale-based Taser International is on the cusp of landing its largest U.S. delivery of stun guns after the Los Angeles Police Commission approved the purchase of nearly 6,800 Taser stun guns for use by the Los Angeles Police Department.
“It’s not an order,” cautioned Steve Tuttle, Taser spokesman. “It’s just they’ve unanimously approved it and that now has to go to the Los Angeles City Council for approval.”
Tuttle said he hadn’t heard of any political opposition to the guns.
“I know the LAPD has been looking at this system for quite some time,” he said. “It’s been in the field.”
A spokeswoman for Los Angeles Councilman Jack Weiss, who is chairman of the council’s public safety committee, said he wasn’t overly concerned about the use of Tasers because officers are authorized to carry deadly weapons.
The spokesman said a city public works commission recently authorized some street inspectors to carry Tasers for problems related to illegal dumping and other street crime. But because the city council has concerns about that use, it was pulled from an agenda for more consideration.
Tasers temporarily disable suspects by delivering a nonlethal electric shock via two electricity-conducting projectiles. Tuttle said the commission’s OK was given after research into litigation and incustody deaths.
The order for 6,789 guns would net Taser about $7 million.
“Should this come to fruition, this would be the largest deployment in the United States,” Tuttle said.
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Alan Skobin said equipping officers with the stun guns would help avoid lethal officer-invo lved shootings.
The Board of Police Commissioners serves as the head of the LAPD, functioning like a corporate board of directors, setting policies for the department and overseeing its operations.
The board works in conjunction with the chief of police who acts as a chief executive officer and reports to the board. There are five civilian members who make up the board.
The commission approved an interim appropriation of $5.7 million to purchase 5,500 X-26 Tasers.
The LAPD currently has 750 older model Tasers which it plans to replace with newer models that are smaller and lighter, said Cmdr. Terry Harra.
Shares in Taser rose 54 cents, or nearly 8 percent, to $7.68, in Wednesday trading on the Nasdaq. At press time, the stock had increased less than 1 percent in after-hours trading.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.