The Wayne Police Department is looking to equip its officers with stun guns, which are being adopted by law enforcement agencies in the state following a change in regulations.
As of June of 2015, about 170 of New Jersey's 550 police departments had stun guns. Now the Wayne Police Department wants to be added to that list.
Stun guns, otherwise known as Tasers, inflict an electric shock to immobilize individuals without causing permanent serious injury.
New Jersey was one of the last states to approve the use of the weapons by police. Original state guidelines for the devices were criticized as being too strict. An officer had to establish that a suspect would likely cause death or serious bodily injury before deploying a stun gun.
The state's policy was changed in 2016, giving officers broader discretion in deciding when to use the weapons.
Wayne Police Captain Laurence Martin says it’s a change they are embracing by seeking to acquire stun guns.
Under the current guidelines, officers are permitted to use stun guns on induvial who actively resist arrest and pose a substantial risk of causing bodily injury. The devices must have cameras on them, unless police have body cameras, which Wayne police do not.
An ordinance proposed by the township council to bond the cost for about 40 stun guns was tabled because the price needs to be adjusted. Originally it was $125,000 but Capt. Martin estimates the weapons will cost around $135,000
The new bond proposal is expected to be introduced at next month's council meeting.