CHICAGO (CBS) — Right now, the Chicago Police Department says nearly 2,600 officers are Taser qualified and trained.
But one West Side alderman wants to see the entire force or nearly 13,000 officers equipped and ready to use them, reports CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.
“Ultimately, it’s about saving lives,” said 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin. “When you look at the Laquan McDonald tape and to see officers were waiting for a Taser, when in fact they should have had a Taser available to them.”
Ervin estimates that it would cost between five and eight million dollars.
“Take Laquan McDonald for example, that was five million dollars we have easily could have saved and put towards this effort,” he said.
Interim Supt. John Escalante says right now, the goal is to supply each officer responding to a service call on every shift, with a Taser.
“We are in the process of purchasing 700 more Tasers,” Escalante said. “That’s where we need to start. That’s for patrol. That’s going to be for all of the men and women that going to be responding to all of those 911 calls.”
In addition to supplying Tasers, Alderman Ervin wants officers to be properly trained to use them and for the release of police-involved shooting videos within 14 days of a request.
Chicago Police Board President, Lori Lightfoot, says every policy change being discussed has to be studied.
“People are thoughtful about these things,” she said. “They have a lot of ideas, but we need to make sure we’re doing things that actually have some evidence that they’re going to make a difference.”
And on the police video policy, Lightfoot says that’s something the newly formed task force, is looking at.
“It’s a challenge,” she said. “You have to balance that right and that request with making sure you don’t do anything to compromise an investigation that may be going on.”
Lightfoot also mentioned officers being accountable to turn in fellow corrupt officers and using tools like incentives and anonymous hotlines to do it.