Grants Pass Police use new technology to convey transparency


The new Taser 7 compared to the old Taser X2. (Carsyn/News 10)

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is preparing a final report on their investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting by the Oregon State Police earlier this week. While Grants Pass officers were not involved, the city is investing in new technology that could help figure out what happened if deadly force is used.

Grants Pass police are acting under AXON, a police equipment technology company, for gear that could increase transparency and response. The newest addition to their AXON gear is new Taser 7s.

Sgt. Justin DeKruger said these tasers create a more direct spread pattern. When a taser has a direct spread pattern, officers are able to hit major muscle groups that will subdue people with just one release. He explained that a larger spread would be someone getting hit in the shoulder and under their waistline. If someone only gets hit in the shoulder, then there is a smaller spread distance. If there’s a larger spread distance, the entire distance in between the points locks up.

Grants Pass police say another transparent feature is that the new Taser 7s and their guns activate cameras when they are unholstered. Cameras are also turned on when the police turn on their car lights.

“The entire system talks to itself. Between taser deployments, AXON App, drone stuff, [and] in-car cameras. So it’s all under one roof, with one expense,” said DeKruger.

Grants Pass police are currently paying $91,671 for the first year, and $148,056 for the four years to follow.

Jim Hamilton, Deputy Chief of Grants Pass Police, said the AXON App also allows officers to classify each case by adding the contact they had with the individual, the case number, and the actions they took during the situation. The app also logs the camera footage from officers body and car cameras. The next step is also adding drones that are deployed whenever a shot is fired.

“We are working on a shot locater, so if shots go off the drone will automatically go to that GPS coordinate and officers will get real-time info,” said Hamilton.

Police said they will be trained in using the new tasers by the end of the month.

According to Grants Pass Police, Rick Smith, the founder of AXON, has a goal of one day being able to use tasers instead of guns to subdue people and save lives.

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