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BETHESDA -- A $1,000 grant from the Bethesda-Belmont-Morristown Rotary Club to the Bethesda Police Department to purchase two PhaZZers, recently resulted in six additional weapons for the department and the donation of two non-lethal weapons each to three additional police departments, In total, over $10,000 in equipment was donated by PhaZZer which is a company based in Kissimmee, Florida started by veteran Kirk French. On Wednesday, July 5, Bethesda Police Chief Eric Smith presented the PhaZZers to Barnesville Police Chief David Norris and Bridgeport Chief Andrew Klotz. The Martins Ferry Police Department will also be receiving two of the stun guns.
"It is amazing how $1,000 grew into $10,000," B-B-M Rotary Club member Judy Jenewein said.
Chief Smith said he was contacted by PhaZZer COO Steve Abboud after purchasing the two initial weapons and equipment. Smith said the company saw the articles about the Rotary grant in local newspapers, and he was told that it was "donation day", a yearly event when the company donates equipment to police departments. Smith said he was offered a total of 12 of the stun guns, six for his department which also covers the village of Belmont, and six to give to any other local, small police departments with limited budgets. Smith said he chose Barnesville, Bridgeport, and Martins Ferry because those are the three departments he works with the most. An online training course will also be offered for the departments.
Barnesville Chief David Norris thanked Smith for the donation. "It's a fact that having something less lethal (a weapon) on you is helpful in a domestic situation," he said. "This is really appreciated."
"We should always back and support our police departments because they put their lives on the line everyday," newly-installed B-B-M President Dirk Davis said. "The police department is so very important and I am happy our club took out this grant with Rob Sproul as president."