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“Bad boys, bad boys” of Sedona better watch out because now Sedona police officers can catch them on camera as well.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

“Bad boys, bad boys” of Sedona better watch out because now Sedona police officers can catch them on camera as well.

The Sedona Police Department recently purchased four Taser Cams capable of capturing up to 90 minutes of footage.

The Taser Cam is a small battery pack equipped with a microphone and sensitive camera. The unit attaches to the bottom of the Taser handle. After the camera records footage of an incident, it can be downloaded onto a computer via USB cable and burned onto a DVD.

According to Taser International’s Web site, the camera “offers increased accountability — not just for officers, but for the people they arrest.”

The camera starts recording immediately after the Taser’s safety is turned off, not when the trigger is pulled, recording the altercation before the Taser is deployed.

The camera’s infrared sensor also allows for recording in total darkness.

Footage of both the officer and suspect’s actions is recorded.

In court cases officers are sometimes questioned on whether their decision to use a Taser on some they arrested was appropriate.

During Richard Salem’s trial, his attorney alleged SPD officers unjustly used a Taser against Salem in March 2006, resulting in assault against a police officer and charges that landed Salem in jail for 10½ years.

“If these [Taser Cams] were available back then I think it would have resolved a lot of issues,” SPD Sgt. Kevin Ahern said.

Taser International put Taser Cams on the market for law enforcement in June 2006.

More recently, officers used a Taser to disarm Zoltan Istvan Tanczos on Aug. 27 when he brought a rifle to Sedona Fire District Station No. 1.

Three of the four SPD squads had cameras Sept. 27, but the squad responding to the station happened to be the one without a Taser Cam. The fourth camera arrived broken and had to

be shipped back for a replacement.

Ahern said Taser Cams produce officer and public accountability and evidence to protect the innocent.

“Tasers are a very controversial tool, so I think it would make sense to have this extra tool to make sure we’re using it correctly,” Ahern said.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police reported when video of an incident is available, it cleared officers of misuse allegations 96 percent of the time.

SPD purchased only four Taser Cams to test them before equipping the entire force. Each attachment costs $400, so Ahern said it would cost approximately $11,000 to buy a camera for every Taser.

Ahern said he’d like to see the force outfitted with Taser Cams but Sedona City Council has the final say during yearly budget sessions.

Council approved funds to buy the four new Taser Cams.

A Taser International representative could not be reached for comment.

Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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