Harris certifies new employees with Taser

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 8, 2004

Anyone driving by the Butler County Jail recently, may have noticed that Sheriff Diane Harris was gunning down her deputies and jail staff.

If you thought that, you were wrong.

Harris was simply testing a weapon in her department’s arsenal to stop the bad guys. As part of their ongoing certification, they had to see how the weapon they’ll use on others affects them first.

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While she has had the weapons for a while, this was the first opportunity she had to train her newest employees including Jail Administrator Al McKee.

Simply, the Taser 26 shoots 50,000 volts of electricity into an aggressor’s body, rendering him or her unable to attacker further.

&uot;These Tasers help protect the deputies and correction officers from an assault,&uot; Harris said.

&uot;It subdues the aggressor so it allows the deputy time to get on the aggressor and get him or her handcuffed and in custody.

We do this rather than fighting with him or her or using deadly force.&uot;

The Taser has almost 100 percent effectiveness rating. It combines the injury reducing benefits of traditional stun technology with a quantum leap in stopping power via new Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) technology. In police studies, the new Advanced Taser has a higher instant incapacitation rate than a 9mm handgun.

The Advanced Taser shoots out two darts that conveys 50,000 volts over the wires and over-rides the central nervous system providing takedown power.

EMD weapons use a more powerful 18 to 26 Watt electrical signal to completely override the central nervous system and directly control the skeletal muscles. This EMD effect causes an uncontrollable contraction of the muscle tissue, allowing the Taser to physically debilitate a target regardless of pain tolerance or mental focus.

The TASER provides for maximum safety for both the officer and the subject by bringing dangerous situations quickly under control before force escalates to lethal levels.

Aaron McKee who is a correction officer at the jail was first in line to try the Taser.

Carefully, the probes were disconnected the two wires were attached to his body with invisible tape.

The sheriff then handed him a knife and told him to come at her.

He looked a bit apprehensive but dove for her, only to find himself falling face first and then rolling on to his back.

The very small jolt stopped him cold in his tracks.

&uot;Man, you can hear everything around you and you want to say stop, but you can’t,&uot; he said.

Next up was Process Server Keith Hall.

When he was connected, the sheriff again told him to rush her.

Simulating an aggressor who might not immediately make his move, he talked to the sheriff in an attempt to distract her and then he tried to rush her.

Once more, the &uot;aggressor&uot; hit the ground and lay there twitching.

Jail Administrator Al McKee was the next subject to feel the power of the Taser. This former Marine is known for being tough. However, when he rushed the sheriff, and went face down, it was obvious he had met his match.

&uot;When that hit, I couldn’t do anything,&uot; he said. &uot;I just lay there flopping around like a fish out of water.&uot;

Harris was pleased with the tests and said it was vital that all employees in her department understand the use of the Taser and what it does to subjects they use it on.

She said it is also good for them to understand that there are ways to subdue an aggressor with less lethal methods than with a firearm.