BY SARAH R. GREGORY
During Tuesday's meeting, the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the purchase of additional electroshock stun guns for the Greeneville Police Department.
The board also heard from an Eagle Scout working on a project at Forest Park, and agreed to place signage at the location designating it as Veterans Park.
Aldermen voted unanimously to approve an $8,700 purchase of additional stun guns, along with cartridges and batteries for them.
Greeneville Police Chief Terry Cannon said funds for the purchase came from the sale of confiscated weapons -- proceeds that state law says can be used in equipment purchases.
Cannon said he was requesting the additional equipment because the department now has a greater number of officers on day shift.
The purchase will allow police who serve as School Resource Officers in the Greeneville City School System to be equipped with the non-lethal weapons.
Cannon said the tools were very effective for his officers.
He noted that he requires all officers who carry stun guns to be shocked by them, so they are fully aware of their effect.
"They are a very, very good weapon that is not lethal," Cannon said.
"You can get somebody that is strung out [on drugs] or wild, and the taser will straighten them up quick," he added, telling the board of an example in which several police officers could not subdue a perpetrator -- even after using pepper spray -- until a stun gun was used.
The stun guns are equipped with laser sights and can have cartridges with cords up to 25 feet long, meaning an officer can use the weapon to subdue a perpetrator up close or at a distance.
Prior to considering action items on the agenda, aldermen heard a brief presentation from Evan Miller of Boy Scout Troop 94 and Greeneville High School's Junior ROTC program.
Miller told the board he is working on an Eagle Scout project -- what he called "a contemplative bench" from the American Gold-Star Mothers, a designation for those who have lost sons or daughters in combat.
Miller said he wanted to bring to the board's attention that there is no sign at Forest Park designating it as Veterans Park.
He requested that such a sign be placed prior to Memorial Day "so people have a place to show respect to veterans and all active duty members."
City Administrator Todd Smith said he supported placing such a sign at the park, and added that it could be created in the town's own sign shop operated by the Public Works Department.
"I'm just impressed with his initiative and his interest in Veterans Park. I think that shows a lot [about Miller's character]," Smith said.
Mayor W.T. Daniels thanked Miller for his efforts to recognize veterans at the park, and said the town supported the change to formally refer to the Forest Park area as Veterans Park.