Albany Commission approves funds for new APD equipment

Albany Commission approves funds for new APD equipment

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany city commissioners approved nearly $290,000 in new equipment for the police department Tuesday morning.

Half of the money is for new tablets and mounting equipment for police cruisers, the other half is for 120 new Tasers.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said the Tasers are an upgrade from the ones the officers currently use.

The main difference is the new ones won't have built-in cameras.

Persley answered questions about department policies on tasers moments before the vote.

"Every officer is trained to use it according, not only to the standards that Taser International puts out but also with the guidelines with the law, with the case law that has come forward. It is a good tool to have, but it is a tool we do not abuse. And those who have violated the policy, they have been disciplined for it," explained Persley.

The Albany Police Department's Taser policy was enacted in 2010 and was updated twice, once in 2013 and again in 2016.

Officers who have been issued a taser must undergo recertification every year. Even then, they're instructed to only use tasers when a suspect is using active, physical aggression.

Afterward, the department conducts an investigation to ensure the officers acted appropriately.

Persley said the number of incidents where officers used a Taser is declining.

There were 36 cases in 2016. In 2017 that number dropped to 17.

So far this year, there have only been five incidents. One of those was because of a dog.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.