HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Police have a new way to fight crime in the Hub City and this one comes with quite a shock.
"It's a great tool for us; it's another tool for us to be able to use to subdue suspects in many different types of situations," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said.
That tool is a taser.
"Tasers have been issued out to the officers, currently we have a little over 30 of them that have been issued out to patrol, traffic, and different divisions," Traxler said.
Officers have been using them for roughly a month, and the current administration hopes to have the entire department outfitted within a few months.
One of the main benefits of the tasers is safety according to Traxler.
"To prevent injury from ourselves but also to prevent injury for the suspects, we definitely don't want them to get hurt either, and it just provides a safer form of force on all accounts," Traxler said.
With national attention focused on the use of force by police, this tool comes with specific training that all officers must complete.
"In order to be use it, we have to be trained and it is actually used on us, so we know how it reacts, how the person reacts so that we know what to expect when its deployed," Traxler said.
So far, officers seem to be pleased with the new equipment, but it does come with a price tag.
In the city of Hattiesburg budget for 2015-16, city council approved roughly $12.5 million for the police department, with $800,000 for capital requests.
Tasers made the list in that group of requests, and were approved for purchasing 65 (tasers) at a total of $65,000.
"It definitely does its job, but it all depends on the suspect though," Traxler said. "If there is something that the suspect may be on or something of that nature, it may not work on them, but that is some of the things we are taught, and trained in."
Traxler added that he hopes everyone in the Hub City will be aware and cautious if you see an officer using the taser.
"It does look like a handgun, but it's not, and we are all properly trained in using them and will only deploy them if at all necessary," Traxler said.