Local News

Halifax County Officers Considering Use Of Tasers

Posted September 23, 2004

— The Halifax County town of Weldon may be small in size, but its police force will soon carry the latest heavyweight weapon used to subdue suspects -- Taser guns.

Instead of shooting a bullet, the Taser shoots 50,000 volts of electricity. Before authorizing the use of Taser guns, Weldon town leaders wanted the officers to find out what an electrical jolt from a Taser gun felt like.

"When I got hit with a Taser gun, it was like an electrical charge through your body," Weldon Police Detective Gene Harris said. "It's a sudden charge and unexpected. It overwhelms you to start with."

Taser guns are small and can easily be worn on a police officer's belt. However they are expensive at nearly $1,000 each.

Even Roanoke Rapids with a much larger police force than Weldon, purchased just two of the weapons. They will be used when an officer calls for back-up.

"It's an alternative to using impact weapons, which a lot of time, can result in injury and chemical sprays, which often incapacitate the officer as well," said Roanoke Rapids police Chief Greg Lawson.

Critics claim Tasers can be lethal, but in the Roanoke Valley police expect positive results.

"A person who has felt the charge myself I believe it's going to be a big asset to law enforcement, not only our department but any department," Harris said.

Weldon is expected to be certified to use the Tasers soon. Roanoke Rapids plans to have Tasers in use by the end of the year.

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