Updated: Monday, 25 Jul 2011, 4:50 PM MDT
Published : Monday, 25 Jul 2011, 4:50 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Albuquerque police officers now have taser shotguns in their arsenal.
For now, only the SWAT team and officers in the special investigations division have the X12 taser shotguns.
The new tool packs a pretty mean punch.
“Basically it’s a 12-gauge shotgun and instead of firing lethal rounds out of it, it’s designed to fire taser rounds,” said APD Special Investigations Sergeant Louis Heckroth.
The X12 can be used up to 100 feet away from a target, to put that in perspective, Sgt. Heckroth said handheld tasers only work up to about 20 feet.
The taser shotgun is ideal for barricaded suspects and swat situations; each round packs a 500 volt shock and lasts for 20 seconds.
“It spins off like that, these (the round) come apart in the air and then one of them will stick in the suspect in the top and the other part falls down and attaches to the clothing,” Heckroth said.
The department has had the guns for a few months.
To this point though the taser shotguns have only been brought out to scenes on a handful of occasions and have rarely been fired.
“It provides one more tool, one more avenue that an officer has to utilize in safely apprehending the suspect,” said Heckroth.
This tool though does not come cheap.
The shotgun costs three times as much as a regular shotgun and the taser rounds run $150 dollars a pop.
Heckroth said APD is still in the evaluation phase, trying to determine if the $700 guns are worth the price and if they help cut down on police shootings.
“We’re hopeful it can prevent some officer involved shootings, but it’s not going to prevent all of them," Heckroth said, adding, “We’re not going to stop officer involved shootings, it’s going to happen still.”
APD can still use the taser rounds even if it decides not to buy any more taser shotguns.
The rounds will work in any standard 12-gauge shotgun, but the department would then need to specially mark the guns so everyone knows it’s a less lethal force option.
Heckroth said the benefit of having the taser shotguns is that only taser rounds work in them, meaning there is no chance a regular shotgun round could be fired out of it.
In total there are about a dozen taser shotguns at the department. The special investigations division got its guns through a grant.