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TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2007

Montgomery police want cameras for stun weapons

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Mongtomery police want cameras mounted on stun weapons to record what happens when one of the weapons is used during an arrest.

Montgomery City Councilman Willie Cook said he thinks the cameras will protect officers and reduce negative perceptions of police tactics. The City Council public safety committee is set to meet Tuesday to discuss the issue.

"I feel Tasers are a very effective crime-fighting tool," Cook told the Montgomery Advertiser. "I'm supporting anything that is going to help law enforcement fight crime and protect our community."

Police spokesman Capt. Huey Thornton said Montgomery police use the X26 Taser, made by TASER International in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Reluctant to use the cameras at first, Birmingham police have found them useful, said W.D. Foster of the Birmingham Police Department.

The Taser cameras cost $400 and can record audio and video whenever the weapon is used, Foster said. Officers then review the recording by downloading it to a computer.

There have been three stun weapon-related deaths in the Montgomery area in the past 10 months — Perry Simmons in Montgomery in September, Eddie Charles Ham Jr. in Montgomery in October, and Eugene Donjuall Gilliam in Prattville in April.

Autopsy results showed Simmons died of a drug overdose. Results for Gilliam and Ham have yet to be released, the Advertiser said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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