Whitesburg KY

Jenkins police will get Tasers

Beginning in February all five Jenkins police officers will be trained to carry and operate Tasers.

Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens is hoping the electroshock weapons will help deter people from acts of violence.

“The goal is to not have a fight with anyone,” said Stephens. “The presence of the Taser on the officer will make people think, ‘hey, I don’t want to get zapped.'”

Stephens ordered the Tasers last week and his officers will soon be trained on how and when to use the devices.

Although the police department hasn’t had violent encounters in a while, Stephens said officers will have Tasers in case something were to happen.

Stephens said Tasers will be used on “someone who is coming toward us in a threatening way.”

“Generally we will use it on someone we feel we need to use something other than words,” said Stephens. “Right now if someone is hitting, we would have to hit them back ourselves with our hands or use a baton which causes more damage than the Taser would,” he said.

Stephens said a Taser won’t cause permanent damage, unlike a baton.

“It’s considered a minimum use of force, non-injury,” said Stephens. “The damage you get are fishhook holes from the probes and some bruising.”

Stephens said being zapped with a Taser gun causes a temporary loss of muscle control and “makes them cease any action they are doing.”

He said Jenkins will be the first department located in Letcher County to buy and use Tasers.

The devices will be purchased with drug forfeiture money. Stephens said each Taser will cost a little over $1,000.

The Tasers will have cameras attached which will capture both audio and video clips.

“We don’t need to fire the Taser in order to use the video and audio capabilities,” said Stephens.

In a situation where a Taser is used, the cameras will film footage before, during and after.

“Now we can bring that into court and can show what actually happened,” said Stephens.

“Anytime we can get someone to comply without force, that is the best way and the safest way,” he added.

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