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Illinois State Police Buying Video-Equipped Tasers

By aaroncynic in News on Sep 19, 2013 7:40PM

Photo credit: Kbiros/
Illinois State Police will equip their officers with tasers capable of recording video, the Sun-Times reports. The agency announced Tuesday it purchased 800 of the “less than lethal” weapons for $1.4 million and plans to drop and additional $245,000 for another 118 units which would go to officers patrolling the tollway system in the northern part of the state.

Illinois State Police spokesperson Monique Bond said:

“Troopers generally patrol alone and in remote areas of the state. Tasers are a valuable resource when confronted with combative and/or intoxicated offenders.”

According to the Taser company website, the weapon’s power magazine will allow from up to 500 firings and officers will have the ability to fire a “warning arc” intended to keep a situation from escalating. Additionally, The X2 Tasers state troopers will use have the capability to record video of each encounter in which it's used.

While “less than lethal” weapons are often billed as a way to minimize the extremity of force used by an officer detaining someone, their use doesn’t always work out that way. State police are currently investigating an incident where a 95-year-old man died in Park Forest during an altercation where Park Forest police first Tasered, then shot the man with a bean bag shotgun, another “less than lethal” weapon. The City of Chicago recently settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who was eight months pregnant when CPD tasered her.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation requiring police departments across Illinois to undergo random inspections to determine if police officers are properly trained to use tasers, starting in 2014. State Rep. Monique Davis, one of the bill's sponsors, said the police departments would be required to share documentation on when and how the weapons were used and what ensued in the encounter in which they were deployed.

“We have a lot of evidence that further training in the use of the Taser should be provided,” said Davis. “It’s not like, ‘Here’s a bill club’ and you just use it. It’s a lethal weapon. It’s like a gun but hopefully it doesn’t kill, although we know from past records it does kill.”