PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBS12) — The Port St. Lucie Police Department is rolling out changes to some of its equipment and transitioning its officers to new high-tech devices.
It’s all to enhance the department’s ability to record incidents, be more accountable and reduce deadly encounters.
New high-tech tasers were demonstrated during a training Wednesday.
An upgrade the department hopes will help officers from turning to their guns during encounters with a suspect.
“We run into use of force situations all the time. We’ve has 283 use of force situations over the last two years. 44 were resolved by using the taser, which reduces the injuries to the suspects, reduces the injuries to our officer and/or victims,” Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro said.
They want to reduce police-related, gun-related deaths by 50% over the next ten years.
These Taser 10 Conducted Energy Weapons have more rounds and can fire at a longer range, up to 45 feet.
“Before there were only two darts that deployed at a time before you had to reload. Now you can deploy up to ten out of a single cartridge,” the chief said. “They want to reduce police-related, gun-related deaths by 50% over the next ten years.”
Law enforcement often deal with life-or-death situations in an instant.
Body cameras typically begin recording when an officer turns on their cruiser lights, release a taser switch, or unholster their firearm.
The new cameras, Axon Body 4, is said to unlock new levels of transparency, a sharper, wider image, livestreaming, better storage, and communication.
“A huge upgrade to technology. This is a game changer,” the chief said.
He adds it takes pressure off the officer and some community members.
“Now that they got the 45-ft taser and can shoot about ten of them, that’s good,” Resident Eddie Yearby told CBS12 News. “I feel more people are going to start trusting the police. When you pull out that gun, you can’t go back.”
His brother, Montavious, adds, “I just like to feel safe, so to know having that just helps people feel more protected.”
“Just giving an opportunity to give a fair chance for everyone,” a Port St. Lucie mother said.
“Training is the most important part you…