Sheriff's Office to begin using tasers

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POSTED: Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 2:15pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 4, 2014 - 9:07am

Sergeant Michael Ochoa just went through some training. Every deputy in the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office will be field-certified in using a taser. Part of the training is unhooking it after it's been used on a real person. 

"I've never been tased before," Ochoa said shortly after being tased. "It felt like I'd imagine getting electrocuted. You don't have any control of your body." 

The taser will be the third non-lethal tool on the deputy's work belt, along with a baton and pepper spray. It will be holstered opposite the deputies' shooting side. Not every situation calls for the deadly stopping power of a gun. It's in those instances when deputies can send a jolt of electricity through a target and send them to the ground.

"I had told myself that I wanted to stand up and fight it, and I was not able to," Ochoa said. "I weigh 220 pounds and I work out everyday, so. It was no go, there was no way I could've fought it."

The Sheriff's Office just bought 225 tasers, which, including training, comes at a cost of $240,000. It was paid for with money forfeited by criminals. 

Deputies have to complete an eight-hour training before they can use the tasers in the field. About 15 deputies can be trained each day and training will continue until everybody is certified. 

Interim Sheriff Eddie Guerra says he was the first to bring tasers to a county agency when he worked in the Constables office. 

"Studies show that in the agencies, it reduces injury between 30 to 80 percent," Guerra said. "That's one thing that's important to me, that the deputies are safe out there."

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