DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Honolulu Police Community Foundation has donated 24 Tasers to the Police Department, the department announced yesterday. Here, Honolulu police officer James Slayter, who instructs officers in the use of a Taser, holds one of the electric weapons as fellow officer James Castro, another instructor, looks on.
A Honolulu group has given to police 24 Tasers capable of recording video
Police Chief Boisse Correa welcomed the donation of 24 Tasers by the Honolulu Police Community Foundation yesterday, saying the community and the Police Department will benefit.
"We've always said that we have the best police department in the nation, but we couldn't be the best of the best if it wasn't for our community support," said Correa.
Adding to the department's present stock of 500, the foundation gave 24 Taser X26 models to the Honolulu Police Department yesterday.
Equipped with a video recording device, the Taser X26 costs about $1,500 a unit. Tasers with recording capabilities ensure accountability, Correa said.
"And that's to protect individuals that have been apprehended while also protecting our officers." Correa added. "We're very pleased with how it's being used."
Officers used their Tasers 61 times last year, compared with 33 times so far this year. Before carrying the device, officers take eight hours of training.
Officer James Slayter, who has been on both sides of the Taser, said, "We have to understand what tool we're using." When deployed, Tasers generate 50,000 volts of electricity.
Slayter was zapped by a Taser as part of his training and described it as probably "the worst imaginable pain you could ever feel." But he said it is an essential tool in law enforcement.
The donation of about $36,000 worth of Tasers was made possible by private donations and fundraisers, said Lee Donohue, foundation board president and a former HPD chief.
"As a former chief, I understand what the budget process, is and you can't get everything that you need at once," he said.
According to Correa, only seven major police departments use the Taser X26. HPD will receive about 30 additional Tasers thanks to a federal law enforcement grant, but the ultimate goal is to equip all patrol officers with the device.
Maj. Susan Ballard of HPD's Training Division explained that about 700 patrol officers are without Tasers. "The more options we have out there that are what we call less lethal, I think, the better for the community and also for the officers," she said.