One thing I never got to post about is Los Angeles' August decision to move forward with the purchase and distribution of 1,250 model X-26 Tasers for the LAPD. The clerk notes on the approvals are here. The supporting PDF document contains these interesting tidbits (added emphasis is mine):
In a report to Council dated May B, 200B-(atlached to the Council file), the CAO states that the Police Department currently deploys approximately 750 M-26 TASERs for field and jail use. Because of the limited supply, the TASERs deployed in the field are kept in the kit rooms at Area stations until an immediate need for them is identified. Though this makes use of the M-26 somewhat inconvenient, there have still been more than 600 TASER incidents over the past three years.So, the LAPD is set on making a concerted push for a stronger taser street presence. I haven't seen any new news about this since August, 08. If anyone has information, let me know; I'll update this post.
The CAO reports that the newer X-26 TASER is 60 percent smaller than the M-26, uses a lithium energy cell rather than the eight AA batteries used by the M-26, and includes a low illumination light to facilitate use in low light. Due to the smaller size and weight, the X-26 can be worn on the standard issue belt as regular uniform equipment. This is anticipated to increase the usage of the TASER as a less-lethal weapon, rather than the firearm. [There's that tasers-replacing-guns falsehood. It's interesting that it's being used internally here as a selling point.] ...
At its meeting held August 4, 2008, the Public Safety Committee discussed the distribution of the X-26 TASERs with a representative of the Police Department. The Department representative stated that it was determined that the best way to distribute the new TASERs was to assign each unit to a police car. Division Watch Commanders will assign the X-26 TASERs according to highest need. Allocation will be reviewed, and if necessary adjusted, on a quarterly basis. Committee members expressed concerns regarding the Police Department's distribution plan. Specifically, a statement was made in favor of a standard, Department-wide distribution policy. Support was also expressed for "pooling" the TASER units to ensure maximum utilization. The Committee recommended that Council authorize the Police Department to proceed with the purchase of the X-26 TASER units, and to direct the Department to report back to the Public Safety Committee with a distribution plan prior to the units being assigned to the field.
It also appears that Taser International is banking on more business in Southern California. This article reports the opening of a Los Angeles satellite office. Of course, there are many reasons for remote offices, but it is interesting.
Another thing I want to add is that yesterday was a national day of protest against California's Proposition 8. I went to the rally here in NYC to protest as well as to examine as many officers' belts as possible. Despite NYC's recent addition of thousands of new tasers, to my eye, they didn't have a visible presence at yesterday's protest or at this year's NYC pride. I plan to be vigilant on this front, attending LGBT events with my camera and camcorder.
Finally, if you haven't checked it out, the Taser International message board at Yahoo Finance is a hoot. The taser-fanboy/amateur investors vigorously, if brainlessly, defend their hero corporation and its stock. It's a laugh riot.