MPD: More Tasers needed

by: Jeremy Pierre Updated:

Since July 2015, the Memphis Police Department has been testing the use of Tasers.

As of now, there are 29 Tasers department wide, with all of them being assigned to CIT officers.

Each precinct has two Tasers, with the exception of Airways, which has four, costing the department more than $41,000.

In March, MPD CIT officer Adam Bittick responded to a call involving Quincy Miller.

Miller was wielding a machete, and was asking officers to shoot him.

"At the time the suspect was waving this huge machete, breaking out windows (and was) threatening everybody on the scene," Bittick said.

Memphis Police Association President, Michael Williams, said the Tasers are being put to good use.

"You really don't want to shoot mental consumers," Williams said.

In March, Alexio Allen was shot and killed by police on Dillard Street after police said he pointed a gun at them.

FOX13 later discovered Allen suffered from a mental illness.

Debra Dillon of NAMI said adding Tasers to the list of less lethal weapons is a step in the right direction, and hopes more officers will receive CIT training.

"They have used to the Taser successfully to gain control of the situation without having to draw a weapon," Dillon said.

"No situation is the same. Some officers may use the Taser because that's what (is) suitable for that particular incident," Williams said.

MPD told FOX13 the total number of Tasers that will be purchased is not known yet.

Memphis police Interim Director Michael Rallings was not available on Friday for comment.