Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik hopes Santa leaves $7,000 to $10,000 in the police department’s stocking this holiday season.
The police department is raising $13,000 to $16,000 to purchase electric stun guns that Hrinik says will help police work more efficiently and safely. So far, the department has raised a little more than $6,000.
Hrinik said officers in the department realized the need for stun guns after one was used to apprehend a knife-wielding teen Sept. 13. After a hunt, a Pittsfield Township police officer used a Taser to stun the teen. Police then arrested him without further incident.
“If that Pittsfield officer was not there with his Taser, our only choice would have been to use deadly force,” Hrinik said. “That’s the key to this. In that situation, the suspect wasn’t harmed. The officers weren’t harmed. The results could have been something more tragic.”
Hrinik said members of Saline City Council are on board with the idea. However, there’s no money in the city budget for the weapons.
“The budget was done before I got here and there’s no money left in the budget,” Hrinik said.
The department has put the word out to local businesses.
“So far, the response has been very good. We’re confident enough that this is going to happen that we’ve sent two officers to instructors’ school,” Hrinik said.
Sgt. James Basso and Officer Andrew Hartwig will use what they’ve learned to train the SPD force to use the weapons.
Hrinik said he would like to see every officer outfitted with a stun gun and holster. But if there’s not enough money, the department will purchase five or six stun guns and officers will share. Hrinik said the guns typically cost $600-$900. The department will also need to by extra cartridges.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the Saline Police Department for the purchase of stun guns is asked to contact Sgt. Basso at [email protected] or 429-7911.