Right now the Washington County, Tennessee detention center has a little more than 550 inmates. The officers working in the jail only carry a chemical spray like pepper spray in case they need to defend themselves against an inmate.
But soon the deputies working in jail will have Tasers. "The sheriff decided he was going to take the money out of the drug fund for purchasing," says Captain Bryan Horton.
At first Sheriff Ed Graybeal was hesitant to purchase Tasers, but after doing some research the department bought some and in the last year and a half they've been used six times. "Anytime you need to use non-lethal force the officers have the options of either using their chemical agent or Taser," adds Horton.
That’s why the decision was made to give Tasers to some officers working inside the jail. "What the sheriff looked at was to give officers another tool to protect themselves and not have to potentially hurt a suspect or an inmate,” Horton says.
To give you an idea of how strong the Tasers are, the average outlet has 110 volts; the ones officers carry have 50,000 volts.
All of the officers carrying Tasers know just how 50,000 volts feel, because part of the training includes getting Tased.
That’s just part of the eight hours of training required to carry a Taser. It’s a process they're hoping to be wrapped up by May.
For each officer to get a Taser it will cost about $1,000. That is for the Taser, batteries, cartridges and training.