The three Richmond County deputy marshals tightened their fists and clenched their teeth as they were guided to the floor of the training room Thursday morning.
They were among five Richmond County Marshall Office employees who participated in Taser Training at Augusta Regional Airport as the office implements the new safety measure to reduce excessive force and enforce use of the weapon.
The deputy marshals yelled out as they were zapped in their backs. They were then asked if they needed any medical attention and guided to their feet before learning the procedures of handling the weapon.
The two-week training ends Friday and more than 60 members from the Marshal’s Office will now be equipped with the new weapon.
Thursday’s session trained the last five deputy marshals from the office, and one investigator from Harlem Police Department, on the eight-hour course.
Marshal Ramone Lamkin said the training helped his officers become familiar with the device and learn proper ways of handling the weapon.
“When I took office I wanted to make sure we got the best equipment so we can better do our job,” he said. “We have a lot of deputies going into evictions within security buildings and we just want to get them different options beside their firearms.”
During the sessions, staff were shown how to carry and use their stun guns, procured through existing funds, and went through a lengthy power-point of legal provisions regarding the weapon.
But prior to the intensive training, each had to endure the “five second ride.”
Lt. Jeffrey Barrett, an executive officer with the office for nine years, was the first. He said the five seconds was “intense,” but “effective.”
“It is a good useful tool that we need,” he said. “The training is paramount in what we do, especially with the way things are these days in our society.”
Sean Cochran, an investigator with Harlem Police Department who has worked in law enforcement for 15 years, said the weapon is “by far one of the best tools” that ensures safety for all involved.
“Back when I started we didn’t have this so foot pursuits and hand-to-hand combat was something you had to do all the time,” he said. “This will alleviate that. It’s not to take the place in a deadly force situation but if it’s just a combative subject, this will definitely bring them under compliance.”
Lamkin said the two weeks of training have already been beneficial. He noted an arrest made last Friday in connection to an investigation into the illegal dumping of more than two tons of tires on Lyman Street in July.
The investigation led deputies to Octavious Mack, 36, of S & M Tires.
When confronted by Deputy Marshal Larry Bracken, Mack became agitated and when asked to produce his business license and identification, he fled. Bracken deployed his stun gun to take Mack, who is charged with violation of waste control law and obstruction to an officer, into custody.
Lamkin said the arrest is a good example of how deputies can now minimize their use of excessive force.
“Statistics have shown that once you go into physical combat with somebody, someone’s going to get hurt,” he said. “Either the officer or the suspect, so the Taser lessens that and that’s what we want to have so everybody can go home safely.”