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Richmond deputies adding tasers

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 8:22 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:03 PM
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Richmond County deputies began getting a 50,000-volt option to their utility belts this week.

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Richmond County Deputy Larry Thigpen holds one of the sheriff's office's new tasers.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Richmond County Deputy Larry Thigpen holds one of the sheriff's office's new tasers.

“It won’t benefit just us,” Capt. Gerald Metzler said of the new Taser X2. “I actually think it will benefit the public to a large extent.”

More than 300 uniformed deputies trained with tasers over the past month. Each trainee was required to be zapped.

“It was the most uncomfortable feeling you can imagine for five seconds,” Metzler said. “For those five seconds I was incapacitated completely. Anything anyone wanted to do to me could have been done.”

The pain passed after several seconds, he said.

Metzler said he expects the number of people willing to fight with deputies will drop when word gets out they have tasers. Most people, he said, know about the “uncomfortable” jolt of electricity thanks to television and the Internet and are not eager to experience it.

Capt. John Francisco said the tasers could result in decreased injuries to officers and suspects and reduce workman’s compensation claims.

The law allows officers to go one step above the force used against them. Without the taser, officers had the option of using hands, fists, a baton, chemical sprays or handgun.

“We’re putting a tool in place of all of them,” Metzler said. “The taser can be used in place of everything else except deadly force.”

Officers can still use the other tools when necessary, but the chemical sprays will be removed from the utility belts. Francisco said tasers and spray are not a safe mix.

“We’ll still have it, but it won’t be carried on the belt,” he said. “We try not to have a joint deployment of the taser and OC spray at the same time.”

Metzler said he’s found some people can fight through a spray, but with the taser, resistance is much less likely.

Tasers will be issued to deputies throughout the week. Metzler said the office hopes to continue purchasing more until all officers are equipped.

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fedex227 03/27/13 - 01:22 pm
Is it just me ...

or did everyone just assume that RC deputies already had access to tasers (deployed for police use since 2002). I just find it amazing that it took so long for Augusta to incorporate such an effective law enforcement tool into their arsenal. Interesing.

I'm Back Again
I'm Back Again 03/27/13 - 07:04 am
There's a new sheriff in

There's a new sheriff in town! And with that comes new ideas. So far I have only heard awesome things about sheriff Roundtree, and this is another one. Out with the old, and in with the new.
Funny comment above, about how you assume things about the deputies. That's what's wrong with society today. Most people assume things before they ever take 3 seconds to educate themselves. Had you taken the time, you would have found that deputies have been asking for tasers for years, but either Ronnie Strength said no, or the commissioners wouldn't approve the funds to buy them.
So like I said, new sheriff, new ideas and rules.

itsanotherday1 03/27/13 - 08:53 am

There have been numerous incidents reported in the recent past where tasers could have been deployed and saved the officer some hand to hand tussling.

bubbasauce 03/27/13 - 10:36 am
Shock and Awe - Awesome!

Shock and Awe - Awesome!

David Parker
David Parker 03/27/13 - 03:43 pm
Don't do it bro!

Don't do it bro!

Willie Loman
Willie Loman 03/27/13 - 11:20 pm
Don't taze me, bro.

This has been proven to be a non-lethal way to subdue a subject. Glad that the ARCSD has finally provided its officers with another alternative to deal with a potentially lethal situation.

Darby 03/29/13 - 06:11 pm
Just waiting for the first...

report of an injudicious use of the things.

Yes, they are good tool but subject to abuse without thorough training.

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