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Inkster police are carrying Tasers

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Inkster police officers have a new, nonlethal means at their disposal when fighting crime: Tasers.

The Tasers arrived last month. After staff were trained on their use, the Tasers have been available since, Inkster police chief William Riley III said.

The department has about 15 Tasers, which are checked out daily as the city’s 25 sworn officers hit the streets. In the new fiscal year, which starts July 1, Inkster plans to get 15 to 20 more Tasers, Riley said.

Riley told The News he sees Tasers as a means of protecting both officers and the general public. Officers can defend themselves when suspects become violent or aggressive, while suspects who become violent or aggressive can be neutralized without the use of deadly force.

Riley told The News previously that an incident from his time in Selma, Alabama — the December 2013 fatal police shooting of an ax-wielding 74-year-old man, Ananias Shaw — proved the value of Tasers.

According to video of the incident, Shaw had refused multiple orders to put his ax down and was shot when he moved toward an officer in a threatening fashion.

Though Riley believed the shooting was justified, as the officer was in danger, he also believed that if his officer had a nonlethal means available, such as a Taser, Shaw could have been subdued rather than killed. So he pushed for the department to get Tasers, which they did with the help of a state senator, and he has continued that effort in Inkster.

jdickson@detroitnews.com