Police turn their attention to tasers, new programs

Police turn their attention to tasers, new programs

Still plenty of Google cash left to spend

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Police officials have spent nearly $25 million of their 2012 Google winnings, and are now researching new ways to spend more than $35 million more.

After a flurry of expenditures from the fund in 2013, Police Chief Paul Martellini says he's now brainstorming ways to improve his department, being careful to focus on expenditures that would benefit everyone.

Martellini said one of his first orders of business in 2014 will be to apply to the U.S. Department of Justice to use a portion of the Google winnings to equip the entire Police Department with tasers. Some officers carry the non-lethal weapons now, said Martellini, but the goal will be to get everyone properly armed and trained.

"It's another tool that's less than lethal force," said Martellini, adding that all officers would now have an option available to them other than "transitioning to a duty weapon."

The chief, who already had plans to use some of the Google money for new guns, said he's not yet sure how much the tasers and training would cost, but he said there are a couple of certified trainers within the department who would help save money.

Martellini is also now meeting with other officers to research spending money on various policing programs for the community, including programs for at-risk youth. The initiatives would benefit everyone, he said, not just participants in the programs.

The North Providence Police Department has already been approved to spend $20.6 million to fix its ailing police pension fund, and additional funds have been approved for a new fleet of cars, a new police substation, two new officers, and for a new shooting range in neighboring Johnston. Martellini said new computer systems will soon be installed, and he also plans to apply soon to use funds for a new radio communication system.

The chief said that he and other police officials are not having trouble coming up with new ways to spend the Google cash, but said they remain committed to spending it with care and not "frivolously."

"You want to be fiscally smart about it," he said. "You don't want to be foolish."

A large portion of the $35 million or so remaining could one day go toward building a new police station, said Martellini.

"That's our hope, we do talk about it but there's nothing solidified," he said.

The North Providence Police Department won $60 million in 2012 as part of a settlement with Google over illegal advertising practices. North Providence Detective James Watts assisted with the investigation, starting in 2008, helping to build a case against the search giant for distributing online ads for Canadian pharmacies that were illegally marketing prescription drugs to Americans.

Comments

What is going on, the police can't spend the Google money fast enough, I only hope the long term expenses that accrue don't cripple the taxpayers when all of the spending of Google money is gone and the taxpayer get the next bills.
You would think we lived in the dark ages and the police were on bicycles or walking a beat and making their own lunches. Come on man, start thinking like a frugal police department and stretch things out, who knows when the town is going to miss paying the pensions or health care, think about it. I'm waiting for the M1 tank to show up and a new fleet of Humvies for a swat team to prepare for the invasion by Providence hoods.

So North Providence Police chief believes our cops need tasers? Here's the deal with Tasers: Police forces who no longer feel that detaining suspects should involve any type of physical work lobby for Tasers as "an alternative to using their firearm". The problem is most police use Tasers in instances where they would NEVER consider using a gun. Tasers are a brutal, controversial, and in some cases a fatal excuse for real policing. North Providence is not a high crime area and has absolutely no need for Tasers. What comes next? Military tanks? SWAT gear for traffic cops?