DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit Police Department is moving forward on plans to equip officers with stun guns following years of debate on the issue.

The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday gave the OK to a proposal by police Chief James Craig to use stun guns, WDIV-TV. Craig says they’re a tool for officers that can help save lives, since they offer an alternative to an officer using a gun.

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The public has been encouraged to weigh in on the issue, and a public hearing was held last year. Critics, including the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, note that stun guns still can be deadly.

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Previous efforts dating back to the early 2000s to make stun guns available to Detroit officers didn’t gain traction. Many other departments use stun guns.

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