The city of Philadelphia said Tuesday it would equip its patrol officers with TASERs, a step announced on the one-year anniversary of the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a mentally distressed man who was reportedly armed with a knife when he was shot and killed by police outside his West Philadelphia home.
In an agreement announced in coordination with Wallace’s family, the city said it would spend $14 million to purchase the TASER electronic control weapons for all of its patrol officers, train them on their use and require them to wear them on the job, Inquirer.com reports.
Wallace’s officer-involved death caused the Philadelphia Police Department to review their practices and policies. Like nearly two-thirds of Philadelphia’s police force, the two officers who shot Wallace did not have TASERs.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, the union that represents the officers, said he welcomed the news. “These Tasers will be another nonlethal option that we hope will keep officers and the public safe,” he said.