The Buenos Aires City government will receive its first shipment of taser weapons next week and plans to train the capital’s police force in their use as quickly as possible.
In an interview with the Noticias Argentinas news agency, City Hall’s Security Minister Eugenio Burzaco said that 60 taser pistols will delivered next Tuesday and that import permits had been granted for their arrival.
The head of security portfolio, who answers to Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, reveals that he hopes to have 100 tasers in use on the capital’s streets by the end of the year.
The import permits were issued. When will taser pistols be operational in the city?
Yes, they came out yesterday [Monday], which means that in April we will have the tasers.
It won’t be immediate, it will take a couple of weeks more, because we are going to train more specialised personnel. By June or July, when the personnel are trained and qualified, we will have them operational.
How many [taser] pistols are expected?
There are 60 [coming] now, and then 30, and then 60 more later. The idea is to reach a total of 100 by the end of the year.
What will they be used for?
They will be used in places with a high concentration of people, such as train or underground stations, where the use of firearms is very dangerous. Also, with specialised rapid action brigades throughout the territory for situations involving weapons with knives or psychotic outbreaks.
We are going to stop using firearms in difficult situations, which will mean fewer stray bullets, and also [as] a tool to equip police officers to solve situations without putting their lives at risk.
Is there any special training required?
Yes, when a shipment is purchased, there are also trainers in charge of training the personnel, who will then be in charge of training the other personnel. This is training that have been carried out in other countries where the use of tasers is implemented.
Hopefully their use will change the difficulties that police officers often have when using firearms. Or in an [act of] aggression that does not involve a firearm but could end a police officer’s life, such as when they attack with a knife or a knife-blade and the police officer does not know how to react.
Have you had dialogue with the National Security Minister, Aníbal Fernández, on the subject?
No, tomorrow [Tuesday] the National Security Council is meeting with ministers from all over the country and I think I will see him there.
How is your relationship with [Buenos Aires Province Security Minister] Sergio Berni after the attack [on him] by bus-drivers?
Berni got angry when we rescued him that day when he arrived [to the protest] alone, without warning, and where he was at risk. We have dialogue pending – I waited a few days for the conflict to pass, we understand that we did exactly the right thing, which was to protect him and his life in the midst of a totally excessive aggression.
We are going to meet and talk, if he goes tomorrow I will also see him because the idea is to be able to work together on security.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you about the increase in robberies in the City. This morning a resident of Las Cañitas reported 10 robberies in 15 blocks. Is the government considering any measures to increase security in the area?
Just last night in Las Cañitas we arrested three armed criminals of foreign nationality. It was not just a home invasion but a very violent incident.
It is a reality that there are more robberies, but what worries us more is the increase in violence. We are concerned about it and we are going to work to solve it.
What do you think is responsible for the increase in violence?
It is very difficult not to think that it is due to drug use. We have inexplicable cases where people are shot for a phone or a pair of trainers.
In the city we are stepping up the fight against drug-trafficking to dismantle the big gangs. We are fighting hard in this regard. We are not stopping, we are striking hard against the places that resell phones to remove the incentive to continue stealing mobile phones, that is why we are attacking the illegal points.
Last but not least, who is your [presidential] candidate?
My candidate is Rodríguez Larreta, he is the most qualified and prepared person, who knows how to build teams and work to get the country out of the crisis we are in. The party has very good candidates, but Horacio is the right person for this difficult time.
by Sofía Rojas, Noticias Argentinas