Charleston, WV, Police Chief Tyke Hunt has produced a plan ordered by Mayor Amy Goodwin for enhanced deescalation and more options for non-lethal tactics to resolve encounters with the public.
Hunt, speaking on Metronews Talkline about the plan on Wednesday, said it’s more of an enhancement of existing policy than any new direction. He said deescalation was woven through out the department’s policy guidelines.
“It’s not anything new, but we are going to take a new approach and focus on the mental health aspect. That has some new content which would help our officers better deal with the folks we encounter out here,” he explained.
Hunt is also asking for more less-lethal tools.
“Tasers we have are the very first and second model issued. That would be taser two. They now have Taser seven which is a much more effective technology and is much more accurate,” Hunt explained.
But in his report to Mayor Goodwin, Hunt said they wanted to upgrade to the latest taser models which feature much better products and more dependability., He also wanted to outfit every officer with the option as more and more city officers are trained on them. However, the cost is substantial. It would set the city back an estimated $300,000 to outfit the department with all new Taser gear. It would also be a cost spread out over five years in a service contract with Axon.
Hunt also proposed converting all of the department’s shotguns to non-lethal force weapons as well. He reasoned each officer is issued a sidearm as a lethal force option and they also have a duty rifle.