Deputies experience TASERS first hand
by Shaka S. Lias
Feb 06, 2011 | 3268 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Deputy J.L. Duncan, center, expresses the pain of the TASER as it hits him in the back. He is held up by Capt. Derek Cochran, left, and Deputy Tony Ross. 
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Some say it's a little more intense than childbirth, while others compare it to being hit in the back with a bat. But one thing is for sure, Sheriff Clark Millsap never wants to do it again.

"It was probably the worst five seconds of my life," Millsap said of being tased. "It locks up your muscles, and you cannot move it you wanted to."

Last week, Millsap along with 15 of his deputies, investigators and others participated in a TASER training class which included classroom instruction and being tased by one of the two certified TASER instructors -- Maj. Carey Millsap and Lt. Randy Stewart.

Clark Millsap said being tased was mandatory for himself and most of his staff.

"Before you can carry a TASER on duty, you have to know what it will do to you," he said.

On Friday, the second TASER class began with 30 of Bartow County's finest. The first part of the class included five to six hours of classroom instruction where they learned about the history of the TASER and the medical effects it has on a person.

During the session videos were shown of actual suspects being tased and their reaction. Also, the students were tased just as last week's class and the upcoming four to five classes Millsap expects to hold.

Capt. Mike Shinall, who welcomes the tool, said being shot was a rough ride and compared it to being shocked from an electrical outlet.

"It reduces the risk of injuries to individuals we have to deal with on the street and also reduces the risk of injury to officers," Shinall said.

Lt. Mike Pressley described being tased as interesting. "I can't say that it was incredibly painful, but it completely immobilizes you long enough to get handcuffs on."

Pressley said he can see how it will be a great tool for law enforcement officers.

Deputy Jena Ogles, who has given birth to three children, said the tasing is "a little more intense."

She said it feels like a severe muscle cramp. "Every muscle in your body is cramped up at one time."

In training each person was shot in the back, but Shinall said while that is not always possible, it is preferred because of the reduced risk of hitting a vital organ.

The department's nursing staff and paramedics were on standby during the training as a safety precaution.

"When the probes are taken out, sometimes you have a little bit of bleeding," Millsap said.

Currently the department has six TASERs, but Millsap said they are working to get more through a grant. He said he'd like for the entire SWAT team and Drug Task Force to have TASERs, as well the patrol and criminal investigations department.

Deputy Sheriff Sam Bulter, whose been shot, said while the TASER is not as bad as a bullet, being hit with the TASER is not a fun thing.

"At least we know what kind of reaction we're going to get from the other side," Bulter said.

Knowing the effects of the gun will also be beneficial in case an officer has to testify in court. Millsap said they will know from personal experience what it does to the body.

And, speaking from personal experience, Millsap advised anyone in a situation involving law enforcement to avoid being tased.

"Just from my five-second experience, if somebody were to say, 'If you don't stop what you're doing, I'm going to tase you,' my advice to them is to stop what you're doing and comply with the officer's orders."