GUTHRIE, Okla. — Law enforcement officials with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office are being trained to use ‘Phazzers’, a less lethal weapon with similarities to a taser.
A battery is connected to a circuit and when the trigger on the tool is pulled, it can expel gas or shoot darts. Unlike past platforms, Phazzers can only be shot three times before it needs to be turned off before continued use.
Deputy David Washam, of the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, says it’s useful in detention settings where there’s a higher possibility of hostile or violent people. It will primarily be used to gain compliance or control in situations.
Because it has to be turned off after three shots, Deputy Washam says it will be helpful in terms of liability.
“We’ve seen cases where nationally, because the situation’s ramped up, or whatever’s going on with the training, the officer or whoever’s using it is squeezing the trigger over and over and it actually resulted in death,” he explains.
Phazzers also have the capability to shoot pepper balls, pepper powder, rubber balls, and paintballs using different cartridges.
According to Washam, the alternative tool is about $500 cheaper per piece in comparison to tasers.
"It’s going to save us and the county a lot more money to use this weapon,” he tells NewsChannel 4.
Currently, only one patrolman with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office is using the tool on a regular basis.
We’re told the jail staff is quickly moving to using Phazzers. At least two dozen will be needed to equip all members of law enforcement within the sheriff’s office.
Training generally involves an eight-hour course. It includes scenarios where a Phazzer would be used and what the five-second charge feels like when applied on a subject.
"It’s just like a gigantic charlie horse across wherever it’s shooting you,” says Washam. "If the dart is like, in the shoulder and stomach, it’s going to create circuit in all of the muscles between those two ports."
The next training sessions will be held in the coming months.