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Long Branch Police Looking To Purchase Tasers

LONG BRANCH: The city's police department has been given permission to pursue the purchase of tasers.

"We can apply for a grant from the state that will pay for half of them, we'd like to get five of them," Long Branch Director of Public Safety Jason Roebuck said. "Right now we have no less lethal products."

Roebuck said the department had a "paint ball pellet gun" that it can no longer use and now that tasers have been legalized, the department would like to purchase them for its four police supervisors. The fifth would be kept at police headquarters.

Councilwoman Kate Billings said she had some concerns over the tasers.

"Do we really need these, I have mixed feelings about having them," Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said. "I think the perception of having them may not be a positive thing with the public."

Roebuck said there are several positives of outfitting police with tasers.

"It saves them from getting hurt, and it saves our guys from getting hurt too," Roebuck said.

Roebuck said the taser incapacitates but does no lasting damage. He said is preferable to using other means to subdue a subject that include a police baton, OC spray or a police dog.

"It's easier to use (the taser) than to hit them with your hands, something else or a stick or actually have to shoot someone," he added.

Officers would have to take training classes before using the tasers and would be instructed on what types of individuals can be tased and what they types of situations where they can be used.

After a brief discussion, the council ultimately gave the department the OK to pursue the grant. The police would have to pay $5,600 for the five tasers and the grant would cover the remainder.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and State Police currently use tasers and Roebuck said other police departments across the state will be applying for the grant as well.

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