AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Richmond County Deputy Marshalls will have a less lethal option when it comes to making an arrest. On August 31, the Richmond County Marshal's Office finished its stun gun certification. One of the initiatives that the Marshall had when he got into office was equipping all the sworn personnel with a less lethal weapon.
"We want them to use it in the correct fashion. Not as a means of punishment but use it as a means to control an individual who needs to be controlled and taken to jail.", explains Colonel Bill Probus with Richmond County Marshall Office. And all week long deputies have been trained at the Augusta Regional Airport on how to use a stun gun. It's a long training that consists of academic work and applying the taser on the training dummy. But the hardest part is in the beginning. "For those who have not been exposed they do get exposed to the taser for its effects to get an understanding of what neuromuscular incapacitation really means." The Colonel wants the community to know that they are committed to proper officer safety. "If you put an officer in a situation where all he has is a gun, thats the only tool he has. The situation may not warrant that and we recognize that. That's why we have decided to undergo this project here."
He also says they are doing their part by making sure there is another option before an officer reaches for a gun.
Stun gun training started less than two weeks ago for the Richmond County Marshal's Office.
The goal is to equip all 50 certified deputies with a less lethal means of apprehension.
The weapons have already played a vital role in this past Friday's arrest of Octavius Mack.
Police reports say the 36-year-old physically resisted arrest and was hit with a stun gun after a short chase.
Mack was the first felony illegal dumping case for the Marshal's Office in 20 years.
Without one, Marshal Ramone Lamkin says the arrest would have been much more difficult.
It's important to note that stun guns can still cause serious harm, but Marshal Lamkin says he has no doubt his deputies will use them responsibly.
"We don't tase people in wheelchairs, we don't tase people after they're handcuffed and things of that nature," he said. "But if the officer's in a situation where he feels he has to use a Taser, then we give him the flexibility to use it."
The last day of training takes place Thursday at the Augusta Regional Airport at 8 am.