“I haven't heard back directly from the ministry yet, but it was reported in the Hamilton papers that Premier (Kathleen) Wynne was very clear they wouldn't be funding any training,” Greater Sudbury Police Chief said Wednesday. “So we're back at square one.”
Sudbury police were hoping to buy about 40 conducted energy weapons – better known by the brand name Tasers -- at a cost of $2,000 each, when the holsters and other accessories are included. Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur approved the wider use of Tasers by police on Aug. 27, but her announcement didn't include funding either to buy the equipment or train officers.
Meeting in September, police board member Gerry Lougheed Jr. said if the province was willing to pay for training, he'd be willing to lead an effort to get 40 local businesses to “buy” a Taser for use by police.
“That's so doable, we could probably raise $80,000 over the next month if we wanted to,” he said. “But if the community buys the Tasers, then the government has to pay for the training.”
But with the province giving no sign it will pay for training, Elsner wasn't sure if the deal was off the table. Lougheed was absent at Wednesday's meeting. But Elsner, long an advocate for Taser use as a safer way for officers to deal with violent suspects, said he wasn't giving up just yet.
“Let's take a wait and see approach, and see what the province eventually comes out with.”