Council approves purchase of tasers, hears park update

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Andalusia City Council held its final regular meeting of 2022, approving only one agenda item at the request of the Andalusia Police Department.

APD Chief Paul Hudson requested the city purchase 25 taser guns for members of the department. The total cost for the tasers is $40,064.

“As you all know, mental health is a big issue, not just in Andalusia, but across the area. One of the pieces of equipment we use to help us with that is a taser. Basically, it is an electronic control weapon that can be used to incapacitate someone so we can get a situation under control,” Hudson said.

The police chief said a taser is helpful in allowing officers to diffuse a situation without using a traditional weapon.

The taser shoots out two prongs that, when injected into a suspect, applies 50,000 volts of electricity, which in most cases is enough to incapacitate the individual.

“It’s another tool we have to deal with certain situations where we don’t have to put our hands on them right away, preventing everyone involved from getting hurt. It also helps us to avoid having to draw a live weapon and possibly taking a life,” Hudson told the council.

The police department currently has eight tasers that were purchased about seven years ago, according to the police chief.

Hudson said officers issued tasers will have to be trained, a process that includes having a taser used on them.

“That is done because if an officer knows how it affects someone, its usage will not be taken lightly and not overused. It is a serious piece of equipment, but we would rather use it than take it to the next level,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the purchase with funds coming from the Coronavirus Relief Act Funds (CARES).

With no other items on the agenda, the council heard updates on several current projects, including a proposed park to be constructed on property at Tisdale and S. Cotton streets.

City Clerk John Thompson said the park project is moving forward and that the council could receive the final plans very soon.

“The engineers notified us that we are, hopefully, just days away from completing environmental permitting and filing the proper documents with the Army Corps of Engineers, Archives, and ADEM. We believe this will all be approved and that we will receive official notification any day now.

“With that, the plans are in the final stages and all the engineering is done. The architect is laying out the final details, such as landscaping and lighting. We could have that to (the council) at one of our earliest meetings in January,” Thompson said.

The next meeting of the city council is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 3, 6 p.m., at city hall with a workshop beginning at 5:30 p.m.