Months after a vote allowing its police officers to carry Tasers, West Point City Council formally agreed Monday on the makeup of a formal committee to review its use of force.
Council voted unanimously to form a Taser Use Review Committee, which will be in place for 24 months and made up of three members from law enforcement groups such as the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and other outside agencies. City Manager Ed Moon will choose the three members.
It’s a drastic change from the first “Citizen’s Review Committee” that first was proposed as a condition of allowing Tasers on the streets. Council had been split on the formation of a citizen’s group and debate had at times turned divisive.
The disagreement came to a head in September when council split down the middle on a vote to officially form the group and Mayor Drew Ferguson IV chose not to break the tie
“Everyone agreed this was the best route to go,” Ferguson said of Monday’s vote.
After both sides compromised, Councilman Ben Wilcox proposed last week that the members who were not in favor of a review committee at all would drop their objections if it was formed as a Taser use committee made up of law enforcement representatives.
“This gave everyone peace of mind,” Ferguson said. “This is a committee that will be transparent and serve the community well. (Council) really put some thought into this and worked on a tough issue. They realized progress is what happens when compromise is made.”
West Point police have had Tasers for about three months now, but have yet to use them in an incident.