The Cedartown Police Department recently had training sessions for 30 of its officers in using the devices. This is the first time the department has ever had Tasers, according to one official.
Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome and Lt. Craig Payton received their Taser training two weeks ago and now are teaching the rest of the officers.
The department had been planning to buy Taser for some time and the city commissioners had agreed to the purchase. It was included in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funding, according to Newsome.
However, Newsome said the CPD had to wait on the money to come in to actually make the purchase.
“We’ve been working with the city financial people to make sure when the money was available, we placed the order,” he said.
The total cost was $30,000 and that included everything needed to carry the devices, Newsome said.
Twenty-five devices were bought. All police officers, except for school resource officers, will carry them, he said.
Newsome said the Tasers would help subdue combative suspects without physical contact. That, he said, would reduce injuries.
“Statistically, agencies utilizing Tasers have lower instances of officer injuries, lower instances of injuries to suspects, lower workman compensation claims, and lower lost time,” he said.
Newsome said any call could result in a physical altercation.
“The public really doesn’t know how many people will fight police to not go to jail,” he said.
Newsome said Tasers work well because they don’t cause any lasting injuries, but work on muscles and nerves to momentarily paralyze a person.
“It’s annoyingly painful. It’s not the pain that makes it work. When the electricity is passing through you, you are incapable are using your skeletal muscles,” he said. “When it’s over, it’s over.”
Newsome said officers are happy with the new devices, but will never be thrilled to have to use them.
“We don’t desire to hurt people. We don’t want to hurt people. We know it’s the nature of the beast, that everyone won’t go peaceably,” he said.
Newsome said officers are hoping just having the Tasers will make some suspects take pause before starting a fight. He said that has already happened once in the two weeks he has been certified.
He said a suspect was prepared to battle him in one incident.
“I displayed it, yelled what was going to happen, and he stopped immediately,” he said.
“I anticipate the best way of Tasers helping us is everyone knowing we have them, so we won’t have to use them,” he said.
Newsome said many suspects fear the pain of the Taser and that will stop them from accelerating a dangerous situation. Officers, who must experience a taser as part of their training also fear the pain, he said.
That’s why the taser experience was the very first thing the officers did in training.
The rest of training included book work and field training.