Chief Dean: UPD to begin carrying Tasers in the next few weeks

Spinnaker

The University Police Department will transition to the use of Tasers to further promote safety on campus.

UPD Chief John Dean revealed the change at the Safety Council Committee meeting March 22 and said the Tasers act as a “less lethal force option.”

UNF will be the eighth university in Florida to implement the use of Tasers.

“This is something we’ve been looking at for years,” Dean said. “It’s something we’ve done our homework on and done research on to make sure it would be appropriate for this campus.”

Dean said officers are not going to use the Tasers for intimidation, but they will use them in aggressive situations, such as if a suspect becomes violent toward a police officer.

The decision to allow UPD to obtain Tasers comes as a result of frequent safety issues on campus involving students and non-students. A large number of non-students are on campus, which has created several safety issues for UPD, Dean said.

Training for Taser use has already started for UPD officers. Officers will begin carrying Tasers within the next few weeks, along with their current arsenal: pepper spray, expandable baton and sidearm pistol.

Dean believes the decision to use Tasers comes at the right time.

“We strongly feel that this option will give us another tool that we can use to bring somebody in compliance if we need to,” Dean said.