LANCASTER – Lancaster has one of the busiest sheriff’s stations in Los Angeles County, yet the station’s use of force rates per 100 arrests are among the lowest, said Commander Bob Jonsen.
“That tells us that our deputies are doing their jobs in an extremely professional way, without having to resort to force,” Jonsen said.
Lancaster sheriff’s deputies will be able to maintain and improve on this trend, thanks to a large donation from Waste Management of Southern California.
The community partner donated $50,000 to the Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Boosters Tuesday, which will be used to purchase “less lethal” weapons for both Lancaster and Palmdale Sheriff’s Stations.
“You all keep us safe and the least we can do, we think, is try to do something to help you be safer when you’re out there looking out for us,” said Waste Management Director Doug Corcoran.
The funds have been earmarked to purchase about 50 state-of-the-art Tasers, which will be distributed to deputies at both stations, officials said.
“The Taser is a very effective means of less lethal defense for officers,” said Palmdale Station Commander Bobby Denham. “Our research has proven that the use of Tasers limits the amount of injuries that both deputies and suspects incur during altercations, so they’re very effective tools.”
Tasers were in short supply at the Lancaster and Palmdale Stations, and the Tasers deputies did have were old, outdated and unreliable, said Jonsen and Denham.
The new Tasers will feature a laser sighting system and other improvements that will give deputies more accuracy and convenience in high risk situations, said deputy Miguel Ruiz added.
“It’s a lot more convenient as far as size, it’s a lot more convenient as far as more cartridge storage, it’s lighter, and it’s a lot more user-friendly for the deputy,” Ruiz said.
The Lancaster Station currently has about 58 Tasers for more than 200 personnel, Jonsen said. Even with the new donation, there are still not enough Tasers to go around.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris vowed to do something about it Tuesday.
“I had no idea you guys did not have Tasers, which I guess I should have known,” Parris said. “Within 90 days, every deputy that leaves this station is going to have a Taser with him. I’ll just figure out a way to do it.”
“This Valley should be very very comfortable knowing that we are given what we ask for,” said Jonsen. “At times we just need to learn to ask for more.”