Elk Valley Times

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Sheriff’s office gets tasers, training

Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm


special to the times

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder announced recently that his office has received a supply of Tasers and Taser training for all of his enforcement personnel.

The Tasers were purchased with funds supplied by the local organization, “Friends of the Sheriff”. Neither the County Commission nor taxpayer funds were involved.

The training was conducted by a certified instructor as required by law. The taser is one of the most thoroughly researched and tested law-enforcement devices of modern times. Since the implementation of the taser, studies have shown that there are fewer injuries to officers, suspects, fewer escapes and the threat to the public is reduced in many ways. It could also be said that because of fewer “runaways”, and/or escapes, it reduces the costs of searches and apprehensions, therefore saving taxpayer money.

The training phase was very detailed as to how and why the taser works and how and when its use is advised.  Furthermore, the deputies were invited the opportunity to experience for themselves what it was like to be “tasered” themselves. Sheriff Murray Blackwelder raised his hand and volunteered to be the first. He said he would not ask any of his deputies to do anything he would not be willing to do. With the exception of two, every deputy volunteered to “experience” the taser. However, only two officers were actually tasered, of which Blackwelder was one. The sheriff did say later, “I don’t regret doing it, but I will never do it again!”

Before being issued a taser and the authority to use it, the officer is required to receive the training and certification. Anytime a taser is used by law-enforcement, a detailed report is required. An incident causing the use of a taser gets almost as much attention and investigation as the use of a firearm. Generally speaking, law-enforcement goes to great lengths to assure that officers use this equipment in a safe, prudent manner. The taser is employed in most cases before the use of a firearm and after all other reasonable methods of containment have not produced the desired results.

Sheriff Blackwelder said that he is sure this is going to better secure his road patrol officers. Many of the deputies not only work alone, but in many instances, they are long minutes from the nearest assistance when personal confrontations and other threats arise. The distribution of the tasers will go to one at the jail, one in the front sheriff’s office and 16 will go to the road officers.

Sheriff’s department personnel said they hope the tasers will never be needed and that just the sight and existence will be enough to deter anyone from the personal confrontation or attack. The best advice is to obey the law, comply with instructions from the law-enforcement officer and not find yourself in a possible situation to be the recipient of the taser.

The “Friends of the Sheriff” donations have enabled the department to become one of the best trained and equipped sheriff’s departments in the state of Tennessee. Sheriff Blackwelder says that not only he but also every member of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office is very grateful for what this organization has done for them, and in turn, for Lincoln County.