Donation By Allisons Will Provide Belmont PD With Taser Weapons, Training

Photo: A taser manufactured by Axon Enterprise.

The largest private donation in the history of the Belmont Police Department will provide a popular electrical weapon device and the necessary training to officers on patrol.

The gift of $101,325 from Liz and Graham Allison was accepted by the Select Board on Jan. 7 which will go the purchase of Taser weapons for use by officers on the street.

“We’ve had some very serious situations [in Belmont],” including one in which a knife was involved, said recently retired Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin who facilitated the gift request.

“This gives us another tool to be able to utilize and deescalate a situation,” said McLaughlin who facilitated the gift request.

The Allison’s have made several substantial gifts to various town organizations and groups, many anonymously. But McLaughlin said they would like to be associated with this gift as it has the potential of saving lives.

A Taser fires two small barbed darts that puncture the skin and remain attached to the person, delivering a modulated electric current designed to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. While the weapon is deemed less lethal than guns and rifles, there remains a possibility of serious injury and even death whenever the device is used.

The Belmont Police department will soon join more than 200 departments across the Bay State which currently have Tasers in their arsenal.

McLaughlin said the funding gift is just the first step in a long process before the weapon is carried by the department. Officers must successfully complete a state-approved training program, the department must create policies for their use along with continued funding.