New Tasers Going Into Service for JPD in August

By Benjamin Cox on May 28, 2024 at 6:13am

The Jacksonville Police Department will be getting some new equipment in the near future.

Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford brought a proposal to get new tasers for the department last month. Mefford told the City Council at that time that their current tasers were currently reaching their end of service date, and they could no longer find parts.

On May 13th, the city council unanimously approved the purchase with 10% of the total purchase being taken from the police department’s federally seized funds account.

Chief Mefford says that the new tasers will offer a chance at de-escalating potentially violent situations more easily and be a better tool than the current tasers in service: “The Generation 10 tasers are going to be a lot more efficient. They are a lot more safe. They provide a de-escalation mechanism in them. In the old taser, it deployed both probes at the same time and it was automatically charged. This one fires one probe. The officer then can see if there is de-escalation in the incident, and if that doesn’t happen, then the second probe is fired while the other is charged. It provides that extra layer of de-escalation in there for incidents.”

Mefford says that the contract with Axon will be for 4 years and will be a full service contract. At the end of five years, the department will get full ownership. With the approval of the City Council last night, the department should have the new tasers in service by August.

Mefford says he’s also on board with the Joint Emergency Telecommunications Radio Upgrade. The multi-million dollar project will put all departments in Jacksonville, South Jacksonville, and the local fire departments on the same radio channels and frequency. It will be a massive undertaking for the county. Phil McCarty, Emergency Management Coordinator, gave his third presentation on the upgrade on May 13th about the issue. The city council is expected to vote on the upgrades tonight in an action item.

Mefford says that his department stands to benefit greatly from the upgrade: “Our portable radios are coming to the end of their serviceable life. We’ve known that this joint dispatch thing was going to happen at some point. We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on new radios and upgrades if we could make our current radios last us with proper maintenance and taking care of the equipment. We were able to accomplish that so that the agreement will now help us get caught up.”

The radios will be a part of an overhaul of dispatching equipment, in-car radios, and towers as a part of the multi-year project. Final dollar amounts have not been completely figured as interest rates continue to fluctuate.