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Gateway School District poised to equip school police with donated Tasers

Theresa Clift
| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 5:42 p.m.
An example of a type of Taser
An example of a type of Taser

Allegheny County Council is set to consider Tuesday on whether to allow the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office to donate 18 Tasers to Gateway School District's new police department.

The Tasers are to be used “in providing a safe and secure learning environment for the students, faculty and staff,” according to the council legislation.

The Tasers would be carried only during sporting events like football games, not in the schools, said Mary Beth Cirucci, a Gateway school board member. The officers do not currently carry Tasers.

“Hopefully they'll never have to use them,” Cirucci said.

The legislation does not designate when or where the officers may use the Tasers.

The district started its own police force in December and has been seeking equipment donations, Cirucci said.

An officer for the district used to be a Sheriff's Office employee and learned that the department received new Tasers, so the district requested the old ones, Cirucci said.

“We're not equipping them with anything Monroeville police weren't equipped with when they were patrolling our football games,” Cirucci said.

The ordinance would automatically be repealed if the department uses the Tasers for “any purpose not consistent with that delineated in this ordinance or sells, grants or otherwise conveys the Tasers... to any third party,” the legislation says.

According to a document given to the school board in June 2016, the district was considering paying $9,280 for Tasers and holsters, but decided against it, Cirucci said.

“We're trying to save taxpayer money,” Cirucci said.

If County Council approves the donation, the school board will need to vote to accept or reject it, Cirucci said.

The district is also seeking a donated police car, Cirucci said.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

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