Oversight causes Taser purchase to double
Chris Cooper Managing Editor
An oversight boosted the costs of 17 Tasers purchased recently by the Logan County Sheriff Department causing the fiscal court to rescind a motion made on Nov. 26.
Sheriff Wallace Whittaker apologized to the court at Tuesday’s meeting, asking magistrates to rescind a motion that it approved for $22,597 to purchase the Tasers. Whittaker said he wasn’t aware at the time of purchase there was a maintenance plan attached to the contract that will cost an additional $22,000 over a five year period.
Whittaker said the added expense will not come out of the county’s pocket, but instead the drug fund. The drug fund consists of money generated from the sale of property confiscated from convicted drug offenses.
Instead of the original $22,597 the court approved in November, the endeavor will now cost an additional $4,400 each year for five years. This added cost, which was set the moment the Tasers were purchased, will cover any replacement or repair over the next five years. At the end of the contract Taser International will replace the old Tasers with all new ones no questions asked. The county will then have the option to take the Tasers and go, or enter into another maintenance agreement for five more years.
Whittaker said his department was in need of new Tasers because the old ones were outdated. He added that by his deputies wearing the Tasers on their weapon belts, it deterred a lot of assaults on officers by the mere presence of them.
The old Tasers had battery packs that would wear down and need replacing. The new Tasers will be charged similar to cell phones by plugging them into a power source.
County attorney Joe Ross told the court since a contract with Taser International was already entered into and the Tasers purchased, the county had no choice or risk litigation. The county approved $45,292.
The City of Russellville recently purchased new Tasers for its police department with a grant it obtained from the Department of Homeland Security. The county received such a grant as well and used the money to fund buying new bullet proof vests.
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