MOUNT DESERT — The Police Department here hadn’t planned to replace its Tasers until 2020, but it can save money on maintenance costs and get better support from the manufacturer by trading them in now, according to Chief Jim Willis.
“Our current Tasers are not supported by an extended warranty; one is currently in need of repair, and replacing battery units for the others is on the horizon,” he said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.
The Board of Selectmen Tuesday night authorized Willis to purchase seven new Tasers, which will be covered by a full five-year warranty and will come with enough battery packs and training cartridges to last that long.
“Our first payment of $2,324 includes an allowance of trading in our existing units,” Willis said. “For the remaining four years of the agreement, our annual payment will be $3,024.”
The money will come from the police equipment reserve account.
Tasers are electroshock weapons that can be used to temporarily disable a person during a confrontation.
In addition to the financial advantage of the trade-in, Willis said the new Tasers will be the same model that Bar Harbor police officers soon will start carrying. Willis serves as police chief for both towns, and officers of the two departments cooperate in covering both towns.
Mount Desert officers have had Tasers since 2012. The Bar Harbor Town Council last month authorized Willis to buy a Taser for each of the 12 Bar Harbor officers.
Willis said that in the process of ordering the Tasers for the Bar Harbor officers, he learned that the manufacturer, Taser International, would offer Mount Desert the same terms on replacement units.