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A shocking lesson: New Taser weapons class certifies host of area lawmen

It's called a Taser - the latest weapon to be introduced to law enforcement officers across the country.

The sophisticated non-lethal weapon, which transmits electrical pulses, usually through retractable wires, recently has become one of the latest modern-day weapons being carried by lawmen in both McDuffie and Warren counties. The weapon is specifically designed to contract the muscle tissue in order to incapacitate a rowdy suspect or someone wanting to be combative with officers.

"It's a highly effective weapon," said Sgt. Mike Hobbs of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. "This particular weapon can help a law enforcement officer, if used properly."

Serving as an instructor for a special Taser class last Thursday, Sgt. Hobbs showed fellow officers with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, Thomson Police Department and Warrenton Police Department how to safely use the Taser weapon.

The classroom training also included Sgt. Hobbs demonstrating the use of the weapon with officers feeling the effects of the Taser. After going through the assigned instructions of the class, those attending were certified.

During the morning portion of the class, two city police officers from Thomson and two from Warrenton were targets of the Taser. The officers also were targets of jokes by several of their law enforcement brothers who attended the class and used their cell phones to snap photographs of them being shocked.

"Everybody likes having a little fun when we have these kinds of classes," said Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle of the Thomson Police Department.

McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Maj. Ronnie Williamson said local deputies are now armed with Tasers and that they have been used several times since deputies became certified to use them in the field.

"These weapons are very useful to our deputies," said Maj. Williamson.

Several Thomson police officers are already equipped with Tasers.

Web posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008

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