Massachusetts police departments buying more stun guns than ever before

Stun guns were used over 1,000 times in 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State and local police own more than 6,000 stun guns in Massachusetts.

It’s a number that’s nearly doubled since 2015. Stun guns were used over 1,000 times in 2016.

At nearly $1,000 a gun, stun guns can be expensive but local police say they are a valuable law enforcement tool. The Springfield Police have 250 officers certified to use a taser. Every new officer is required to get the certification.

Spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News just the sight of stun gun can cause suspects to become cooperative.

“The biggest benefit is about a third of the time based on our research here that someone pulls a taser out of their holster, the subjects stops resisting and complies,” said Walsh. “They are only supposed to be used when someone is actively resisting arrest.”

Before stun guns, police only had pepper spray and batons.

Walsh told 22News their tasers can be used in several ways, including shooting barbs into combative suspect’s skin at an effective range of about 25 feet, which will affect a person’s central nervous system.