Sheriff tests out stun gun

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Deputy Sandy Loomis, right, shows commissioners two Taser probes taped to the back of Sheriff Matt Murray. Deputies opted to tape the probes for the demonstration because when shot from the hand-held unit they can tear or burn clothing.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Supported by a deputy on each side, Sheriff Matt Murray twitched, his body visibly contracting. He started to curse, catching himself as deputy Michael Brockett jolted him with a three-second electrical pulse from his stun gun.

The room filled with laughter from Curry County Commissioners and spectators.

The demonstration Tuesday morning by the Curry County Sheriff’s Department showed commissioners the benefit of less-than-lethal apprehension methods.

“It was enlightening,” Murray said with a smile when asked about the experience.

Murray explained he was incapacitated during the shocking burst to the point he would have fallen without support.

Taser stun guns save lives and help officers subdue suspects in a safer way, Brockett said.

“The Taser will actually pay for itself with less litigation,” he said, explaining the units, which have onboard cameras and infrared light capabilities, cost about $1,200 each.

“I say it’s money well spent,” Commissioner Robert Sandoval said.

Deputy Sandy Loomis told commissioners all deputies carry the Taser stun guns, and over the past few years have probably deployed them more than a dozen times.

“In the long run it’s going to save one of our deputies from getting hurt,” he said. Loomis explained the units make it possible to incapacitate suspects for extended periods of time while waiting for backup, a possible scenario for deputies who in the course of their rural duties may find themselves miles from assistance.

How Taser stun guns work
The unit shoots two probes into the skin at a maximum distance of 35 feet away. Attached conductive wires send electrical pulses into the body for up to five seconds at a time, affecting the sensory and motor functions of the central nervous system, according to www.taser.com, Web site of the manufacturer.