Williamsport Police to get stun devices

City Council on Thursday approved the city police purchase of 38 Tasers, or stun devices, at a cost of about $80,000.

City Police Chief David J. Young said they are used as a means of controlling non-compliant individuals and may prevent officers from having to use firearms in many incidents.

The units will replace police equipment that is 11 years old and give police a second chance if there is a misfire.

The better technology enables police to maintain a safe distance, Young said, adding police use Tasers up to 40 times a year.

Young worked out a five-year plan with the finance department to obtain the devices.

The city transferred its vehicle line item to two vehicles instead of three and will receive $100 for each used device it trades toward the new ones, Young said.

Councilman Joel Henderson, chairman of council’s public safety committee, said the units have a 10-year life expectancy.

That means the program with training and cartridges and the city setting aside $35,000 to $40,000, the cost amounts to $8,500 a year.

In other business, council:

• Approved the appointment of a South Williamsport resident, Shannon Bartron, to a four-year seat on the city Recreation Commission.

The finance committee previously reviewed Bartron and was told she helps as a volunteer with recreational programs at St. John Neumann Regional Academy in the city.

The lone ‘no’ vote was Councilman Derek Slaughter, who asked before the vote if the city had reached out to city residents to fill the three vacancies on the seven-member commission.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said he and the department had looked for someone from the city to fill the vacancies.

• Approved demolition of a house at 641 Green St. for the continued expansion by UPMC Susquehanna.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz questioned Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator, asking him if the razing would result in a grass lot.

Gerardi said from his discussion with hospital officials, the intent is to continue to build facilities and the need is for parking.

• Held a hearing on a liquor license application and transfer of license from Franklin Township to a store, Six Packs to Go, at 1944 W. Fourth St.

The owner said he has operated a Uni-Mart for 10 years and will permit one beer for those drinking indoors. The owner said he intends to close the business at 10 p.m and provide service for carry-out beer.

Before opening, the business must meet the city zoning requirements for conforming use and code.