Greenville is getting to be a dangerous place to be a member of law enforcement, so the Greenville Police Department intends to use grant funding to purchase Tazers in order to better protect local officers.

The plan had been to use almost $20,000 in federal grant funding, awarded last year, to purchase a second Automated License Plate Reader system.

But Police Chief Daniel J. Busken said the money would be better spent on the Electronic Control Devices (ECDs), given recent statistics on the number of assaults on local law enforcement officers.

“The Greenville Police Department has been tracking a significant increase (41 percent) in assaults on police officers over the past year,” Busken said in a memo to the City Council. “The two years prior there were increases of 20 percent each year. The State of Texas historically has ranked number one in being the most likely state that a police officer would engage in a deadly encounter.”

Busken recommended the $19,686 available under the 2010 Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant to purchase 56 ECDs.

“Currently, an officer has to use pepper spray, an expandable baton or physical strength to subdue a combatant which leads to a greater risk of injury to the officer and suspect,” Busken said.

The ECDs and the equipment needed to deploy them in the field is expected to cost $48,000.

The City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to approve obtaining the rest of the funding from the police department’s Seizure Fund, Building Security Fund and General Fund.

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