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VIRGINIA BEACH - Nearly half of the Va. Beach police force has tasers.

That's 344 of the approximately 800 officers andthe department is asking the city for money to buy 50 more.

'We want to get tasers to officers who want them for their safety because they know it's a good tool,' said MPO Rudy Carrera.

It's taken about four years to acquire the tasers owned by the city so far.

Each costs about $1,400. Then there's the cost of holsters and other equipment.

Police say tasers improve safety by allowing them to subdue aggressive or uncooperative people.

Taser usage is a controversial topic. Last year, a 13News investigation found Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Hampton school resource officers have tased students.

Across the nation, civil rights groups have questioned the devices after people have died from being tased. According to an American College of Emergency Physicians' Research study, serious taser injuries are rare. However, the electric shock can speed up the heart rhythm of people who are agitated, dehydrated or under medication. The report states nearly 300 people have died after being tased.

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