Illinois State Police look to bring back a controversial weapon for troopers, tasers. But for Rockford officers that wait is still on. Rockford Police told us more than a year ago taser were close to making a return. Now they are not sure when it will happen.
"It's a collective decision that we are examining about whether or not we want to put the tasers back out there," says Deputy Chief Mike Dalke.
Deputy Chief Dalke says once he gets the word tasers could be back in officers' hands in a month. But that's not where Rockford is yet.
In 2009, police brass pulled tasers off the streets. The year before, two suspects died after being shocked Ernest Graves and Kiethedric Hines. An autopsy shows Graves was on drugs at the time. Hines had drugs and alcohol in his system plus a heart condition. But the administration says it was a warning from the manufacturer that shooting a stun gun at a suspect's chest could lead to cardiac arrest that lead to the taser being pulled.
"Based upon the information that we had we wanted to halt our taser use at that time to be able to re-evaluate," says Deputy Chief Dalke.
More than a year ago Chief Chet Epperson told 13 News he sent officers to Taser International for re-training. Plus guidelines and policies were overhauled on how tasers would be used by Rockford officers. Illinois State Police plan to allow officers to start to carry tasers that also record video when they are used. Deputy Chief Dalke says that would likely be on at least some of Rockford tasers as well, if they are re-issued.
"We've budgeted equipment to bring tasers back up but we are still working on policy development and training development," says Deputy Chief Dalke.
Illinois State Police have no date on when tasers will be used regularly. But they were available to officers during the two weeks the Hells Angels biker group was in town.
The Loves Park and Roscoe Police Departments both allow their officers to carry tasers.
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