Illinois State Police District 15 troopers who patrol the region's tollways will be getting reinforcements soon by way of stun guns.
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority directors approved a $245,544 contract with Ray O'Herron Co. of Danville Wednesday to buy 118 Tasers for District 15 troopers. The Illinois State Police have used the weapons on a limited basis for years but expanded the program this year. The District 15 stun guns will be paid for by the tollway.
"Tasers are a less lethal option for officers to use before going to deadly force," said Lt. Bob Meeder, District 15 commander.
Asked about training, Meeder said District 15 has three qualified Taser instructors currently.
The decision made at a tollway Finance, Administration and Operations Committee meeting needs final approval by the full board.
The move offers more protection for officers patrolling alone in remote areas, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said, adding the weapons contain cameras with the ability to capture significant data. The state spent about $1.4 million to buy 800 Tasers earlier this year.
Also Wednesday, tollway directors agreed to spend about $48 million for noise/retaining wall construction on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) from I-290/Route 53 to east of Oakton Street. The work is part of widening the Jane Addams that began this year. The agency last week started prep work on the shoulders of I-90 in both directions between the Elgin Toll Plaza and Kennedy Expressway, which has meant overnight lane closures.
Another contract to build noise/retaining walls on I-90 between Mount Prospect and Lee Street was deferred as the $3.1 million amount is under review.