Taser Guns

By: Hermelinda Vargas
By: Hermelinda Vargas

Sheriff’s officers in Calhoun County carry two main weapons: a gun designed to kill and an electrically charged gun designed to shock suspects into submission.

"It's less than lethal that will typically cause a person to stop resisting or stop whatever their doing at the time," says Sheriff David Tatum.

There's video of officers getting a 50,000 volt zap by a taser gun, just part of the training required before they're allowed to add the weapon to their belt.

"If you were to pull the trigger with this on here, it would extend up to 20 feet and there are darts in here that are connected to the gun by copper wire and the probes would actually stick in the person's body and deploy the electrical charge."

Sheriff David Tatum says the taser guns have definitely helped his officers avoid physical confrontations or the use of deadly force.

"For instance, if the suspect had a knife, beer bottle broken or something that was representing a danger to the officer."

But critics outside Calhoun County worry that law enforcement's growing use of the electrically charged gun may result in police abuse or suspect death, especially among those high on narcotics or suffering from heart disease, and yet, Sheriff Tatum says he hasn't had any deaths or lawsuits associated with his department's use of the taser.

Sheriff Tatum says his officers have only used tasers about 20 times in the three years since he purchased them.


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