The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is getting nearly $600,000 for Taser upgrades.
The department plans to purchase 503 new Tasers, ranging from $899.95 to $1,029.95 each, along with associated equipment upgrades at a price tag totalling $585,025.92. The upgrades include 37 additional Tasers to add to the department’s inventory, warranties and service contracts, data storage, new holsters and repairs to some existing equipment.
The equipment upgrade is needed, the department said, because the previous service contract and equipment life cycle ended Dec. 31, 2014.
Richland County Council approved the funding Tuesday. Existing funding is available to cover the requested cost of the Taser upgrades under the equipment bond, which was approved during the county’s budgeting process for the current fiscal year.
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If council had not approved the purchase of new equipment, the county could have had to pay more than $32,000 annually to repair and maintain the current equipment, plus the cost of additional equipment for new officers.
Tasers provide deputies with a non-lethal use-of-force alternative that, the department said, has been proven to lower injury to both deputies and suspects.
In 2014, 42 Richland County deputies were assaulted. Deputies took 336 defensive actions, the department said, including 126 Taser uses.