FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Police Department is now equipped with electronic control devices, more commonly known as Tasers.

“Tasers are a valuable tools that modern police officers have at their disposal and will offer our officers an extra tool for their safety and for the safety of the citizens we protect,” said acting police Chief Jeffrey Potvin in a statement announcing the new program this week.

With the financial assistance of Fiddlehead Outdoors, LLC, the department was able to purchase two X26P Tasers, holsters and cartridges. The company has committed to supporting the program for the next five years at no cost to local taxpayers, Potvin said.

Tasers have been in use in the area for the last decade. Departments such as Lewiston, Auburn, Farmington, Norway, Oxford and Paris all carry Tasers.

Although considered a valuable tool, there have been reported incidents nationwide of misuse over the years.

Potvin told the Sun Journal that he has implemented a “’situational use of control” policy which regulates the use of the Taser.

The policy says  the Tasers may be used “when physical force is justified against a suspect who is actively resisting arrest or exhibiting active aggression toward an officer or a third party.”

“The suspect must pose an immediate threat to the officer or third party and is not always a substitute for hands-on tactics,” he explained.

Potvin said before the department received the Tasers, officers who often work alone, would have to wait until surrounding agencies responded with a Taser to apprehend a violent, non-compliant offender on drugs and/or alcohol.

A thorough administrative review is conducted on all use of force/control incidents, Potvin said.

Officers were certified to carry the Tasers with the assistance of the Bridgton Police Department during a certification process earlier this week.

During the certification process, Potvin said officers got to experience being incapacitated by the same Tasers they will be carrying. Fryeburg Selectman Chairman Paul Naughton was at the certification class and volunteered to be Tased, Potvin said.

“I am very impressed with Selectman Naughton’s dedication to our Taser program. Not many people would volunteer to be hit with 50,000 volts. It is comforting to know that all three of the selectman and town manager are extremely supportive in making sure our officers are safe,” he said in his statement announcing the new program.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: