All 90 commissioned Kennewick police officers will now be equipped with a Taser to add to their arsenal of crime fighting tools.
The department began using Tasers in 2007 -- and saw a decrease in officer-related injuries from those who tried to resist arrest, said Chief Ken Hohenberg.
On Monday, Hohenberg accepted a $15,000 donation from HAPO Community Credit Union and Windermere Tri-Cities through their Community Enrichment Foundation.
Hohenberg said the donation means all officers will now have Tasers issued to them.
"This is a huge donation," he said, noting that Tasers help keep officers and suspects safe. "... We don't take great delight in going toe-to-toe with someone. We get hurt, and they get hurt. But we are paid to win."
Officers say many times just displaying a Taser provides an incentive for the suspect to stop resisting -- especially when they see the red laser dot on their chest indicating that's where the Taser is going to hit.
The Criminal Apprehension Team was the first group of officers to get Tasers, and Hohenberg said Tasers were deployed 30 times in the first year.
During the announcement about the donation, Dave Schulz, CEO of HAPO, and Dave Retter, president/CEO of Windermere Tri-Cities, got a chance to shoot a training Taser to see what it's like.
"We're happy to help out the community this way," Schulz said.
Julie Nelson of Windermere Tri-Cities also got a firsthand demonstration on how the Tasers can effectively stop suspects in their tracks.
"It paralyzes you. It stops you cold," said Nelson, after volunteering to get shocked. "It feels like electricity running through your body, and you can feel how the muscles are reacting."
About an hour after being shocked, Nelson said her muscles still felt tense and she had a slight burning sensation where the prongs made contact with her skin.
"It's a very effective tool," she said.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org