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Palmer Police Use Tasers for First Time

Palmer Township Police Chief Larry Palmer had his department make good on the new weapons by subduing an alleged Boscov's burglar.

Police Chief was just getting his department trained on using Tasers.

He just didn't know how fast his police officers would be using them.

Days before every officer had been trained, one of them used a last week to subdue an at the Boscov’s department store in the Palmer Park Mall.

"It was the first time we used the Tasers," Palmer said.

Palmer said J.T. Smoke, one of his certified Taser instructors, applied the Taser on the suspect.

"He was qualified to use it," Palmer said.

According to court records, police were called to the mall shortly before 11 p.m. last Monday when an internal motion sensor set off an alarm.

Once inside the store, police found and were ultimately able to subdue William Shannon IV, 37, of 1295 Poplarwood Road, Bushkill Township. Shannon had allegedly pried open eight cash registers inside the store and taken $1,814 from them, the arrest affidavit says.

Shannon initially tried to run from police and then continued to resist once he was caught and an arresting officer tried to handcuff him, court papers say. The affidavit said Shannon was warned to stop resisting before the Taser was deployed.

Palmer had asked the township supervisors to spend $25,000 for the Tasers, electroshock weapons that use electrical current to disrupt the voluntary control of muscles.

"It's great," Palmer said. "Now it's a compliance weapon. It puts you down."

"Taser" is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. Developed in the 1970s, its inventor named it after a popular science fiction book, "Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle."

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