A Taser X26 stun gun is displayed at the Oakland Country Sheriff's office in Pontiac, Mich., Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006. A little-noticed bill that would let more people use Tasers and stun guns in Michigan is awaiting Gov. Jennifer Granholm's signature, though critics hope she wields her veto pen. The legislation approved by the state Senate 30-7 last week would exempt detention facilities and private security officers at some hospitals and malls from a ban against Tasers, which have been criticized for causing deaths. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A state Senator and former NYPD captain wants city bus drivers, subway conductors and other transit workers armed with Tasers to protect themselves in the wake of a steadily increasing number of assaults.
Bus drivers and subway workers were attacked 94 times in 2011, up from 72 such incidents that year before. Harassment was also up.
Sen. Eric Adams believes his proposal to arm transit workers with stun guns and train them appropriately would cut down on such incidents and protect other riders in the process.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 supports Adams’ proposal, but the MTA and NYPD are less than enthusiastic about arming civilians with Tasers, according to the Daily News.
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota told the News protecting transit personnel is a key priority “in everything we do,” but “the proposed legislation is the wrong way to go about protecting MTA employees.”
“Asking them to carry weapons would cross the line into law enforcement, a function that is best left to NYPD,” Lhota added.
Regular NYPD officers aren’t even allowed to carry Tasers. Only sergeants and members of the Emergency Service Unit are permitted to carry the weapons.
A previous version of Adams’ proposal that excluded bus drivers stalled in a Senate committee, but the senator thought extending the Taser privilege to that group might propel it forward.
New Yorkers had mixed reactions to the proposal. Some felt it was an appropriate measure, given the rise in assaults on transit workers, but others felt it would only be a matter of time before one armed bus driver snapped and used the Taser in the wrong situation.
“Let’s say they Tase a little old lady when they are having a bad day,” one Brooklyn resident told the News.
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