There was a bit of an uproar at the first night of Marshfield Annual Town Meeting Monday night, regarding a proposed capital budget expenditure to provide the police department with Tasers.
Town meeting voted against a DPW article for an eminent domain land taking on Peter Armstrong’s property, that would have allowed the town access to a partially constructed drainage structure, voted in favor of $4.2 million for seawall repair, and voted yes for the town to enter into a power purchase agreement for a solar array, to be built at the Sylvester Ray landfill on Clay Pit Road.
There was also the passage of an article imposing a one year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.
Then there was the police chief’s presentation – a capital budget line item of $98,000 to purchase 52 Tasers.
Resident Barry Cornwall thought the presentation lacked a certain impact and suggested that perhaps a live demonstration tasering Police Chief Phil Tavares, might be a good idea.
Cornwall said, “I think what would be appropriate, would be a live demonstration of this – I’m very serious about this – and I think the chief would be an excellent subject for this and I don’t say that in jest either. I fully expect him to bounce up as soon as the device is turned off and we’ll use him as a representative, medium health citizen”.
Cornwall then lashed out at Town Meeting Moderator Jim Fitzgerald, after he denied his request.
“Tase him, tase him!” yelled out a member of the audience.
“Mr. Cornwall, please sit down”, said Fitzgerald.
“I’ve made a perfectly legitimate request, on a very serious matter involving public health”, Cornwall said.
“And I’m very seriously telling you to sit down”.
“Try making me! I’m going to stand here until I see the demonstration”, Cornwall replied.
And Cornwall did stand there until everybody else was done speaking and there was a yes vote on the Taser appropriation.
I spoke with Police Chief Tavares after the meeting and he said he’d have no problem being the subject of a Taser demonstration, except that Marshfield police didn’t have any Tasers.
Annual Town Meeting resumes tonight at 7, at the Furnace Brook Middle School.