The assault of Oak Park Police Officer Samantha Deuchler, who was struck, choked and bitten at a CTA Green Line-Metra station in September, prompted a renewed debate over whether Oak Park cops should carry Tasers.
The issue appears to have cleared a hurdle with village leaders approving $90,000 in 2017 to equip officers with the devices that cops say can protect them from dangerous individuals.
Oak Park’s police department is the only one in the area that does not currently equip officers with Tasers.
Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said in early September that he was considering using them but could not definitively say whether cops would be carrying them next year. The municipal budget, however, approved on Dec. 5 by the board of trustees, states that Ambrose “has advised his intent to deploy Tasers to on-duty sworn staff, subject to the budget appropriation and proposed to improve officer safety and reduce lost work time due to injuries.”
The budget also notes that the weapons are not intended as a shortcut for cops.
“The use of less lethal munitions, such as a Taser, are not intended to reduce time spent de-escalating a situation or negotiating with an individual to comply with the lawful directions of an officer to stop potentially dangerous behavior,” the budget states.