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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Council approves adding more Tasers for city cops

[media-credit name=’JAKE NAUGHTON/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]CityCouncil_JN[/media-credit]

The Madison City Council met again Wednesday night to continue debating public safety — specifically whether or not to add Tasers and rifles to the police department's weaponry.

For the second night in a row, the public testified for and against proposed amendments to the 2008 Capital Budget.


The $35,000 Taser Deployment Plan, which calls for an extra 72 Tasers to be put in the hands of MPD officers, was voted to stay in the budget because it gives Madison police officers a safer method to restrain criminals.

"The one thing I do know for sure, if we don't have adequate equipment for our police department, people could die," Ald. Julie Compton, District 16, said. "If we don't have adequate Tasers and someone has to use deadly force because they don't have adequate non-life threatening equipment, I personally can't take that responsibility."

Ald. Zach Brandon, District 7, said the less-than-lethal options are favorable in a dangerous situation.

"When somebody has a knife or a gun, when you take away a less lethal option [from police], more than likely you are encouraging a handgun or rifle," Brandon said. "It seems to me that we should always opt for the less lethal option."

However, not all council members agreed the implementation of additional Tasers is in the best interest of the city.

"We've got tight budgets coming up," Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2, said. "At this point in time it would be wise for us not to move forward. My thinking is that we have enough (Tasers) to get by for now, we're getting by right now, and I think this is an appropriate thing to think about."

Another major issue that arose during the meeting concerned the argument of employing every Madison police officer with an individual rifle.

The Rifle Acquisition Project, a $40,000 plan, sparked a heated debate concerning the usage of long-range rifles in the Madison area and the massive expense it would encompass. Ultimately, the plan failed.

"If I felt it was a tool that was necessary like the Tasers, I would say we should do this," Brandon said. "But, when you look at the reality, most situations occur within eight feet. Its purpose is generally to shoot at about 100 yards or more."

Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, District 12, said, "For me it doesn't pass that logic test. It doesn't pass that test that we need, that our citizens think we need. I don't think it's a priority."

However, some council members opposed the removal of the plan from the budget because it implemented crucial tools for the MPD.

"These rifles last a long time," Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, said. "I think it is a very important tool."

The general consensus was the addition of individual rifles for Madison police officers was unnecessary, as well as costly, and members concluded to eliminate the plan from the Capital Budget.

"This rifle was used one time last year," Brandon said. "We have to deal with the facts that we know. I'd be surprised if the [National Rifle Association] would support the inclusion of these rifles in the budget."


Falk signs county budget

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk signed the 2008 county budget Wednesday, praising the Board of Supervisors for the "best cooperation" during a budget cycle.

The budget increased the county’s tax levy by 3.36 percent, which Dane County Board Chair Scott McDonell said actually decreases the tax rate.

Falk boasts better human services, better public safety, cleaner lakes and the promise for a more efficient government in her budget.

"This is the hardest-working board I’ve had the privilege to work with," Falk said.


— Tom Schalmo contributed to this report.

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