Chandler police will soon receive 300 Tasers, a nonlethal weapon that can immobilize people without causing death or long-term injury.
The City Council approved the purchase Thursday night, after the city has seen three officer-involved shootings resulting in the suspects’ deaths since October.
"If in the next three months one of these Tasers are used it could mean that we’d saved a life," Councilman Dean Anderson said.
However, some city officials admonished Anderson and Vice Mayor Lowell Huggins for working directly with the vendor and putting the proposal to buy the Tasers on the council agenda at the last minute Wednesday night.
"I’m really excited about Tasers . . . but I think we’re circumventing the public process, public hearing," said Councilwoman Patti Bruno, who cast the lone vote against the proposal.
Anderson said he knew some council members would be upset, but he felt taking advantage of the opportunity was worth it.
The city has been negotiating with Scottsdale-based Taser International for the purchase, but Anderson said he discovered the city could save money if they approved the purchase Thursday. They had a chance to pay $23,000 less and get the Tasers right away, he said.
However, City Manager Donna Dreska said city staff members — who usually negotiate with vendors — had started working on a deal similar to what Anderson and Huggins brought forward.
Dreska said, "If every department that has a safety issue comes this route then we’re going to completely circumvent the budget process."
Tasers are weapons that discharge chords toward a person, sending an electrical shock and stopping their muscles.
The Tasers will cost $193,639. A down payment of $5,000 will be paid this fiscal year out of salary savings at the police department. That fund also will pay for training.