Fulfilling a campaign promise to equip Smith County Sheriff's Office deputies and personnel with the tools they need to do their jobs, Sheriff Larry Smith announced today that 49 tasers are now on the streets and all personnel for whom the device is applicable have completed TASER training.

Tasers are Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs) and are used worldwide by law enforcement to temporarily incapacitate dangerous, combative or high-risk subjects who pose a risk to law enforcement officers or themselves. Tasers are generally recognized as a safer alternative to other uses of force.

“In the spring, I had three members of my office in the hospital in the middle of the night being treated because they had to physically subdue a suspect who was on drugs and was violent,” said Sheriff Larry Smith. “Had they had tasers, they would most likely not have been injured, and the taxpayers wouldn’t be footing their medical bills. When people are on drugs, sometimes the only way to subdue them is to use a taser."

The tasers cost $62,000 and were paid for by private citizens, business donations and re-appropriated grant funding. The grant funds were originally earmarked for in-car printers for county patrol vehicles.

“Obviously, the safety of our patrol officers and the citizens of this county is a higher priority than the ability to print documents in a patrol vehicle,” said Sheriff Smith.

Sheriff Smith said members of his staff were tased during training so that they could understand what the devices do to a person and how they work.