The Cherokee County sheriff and deputies will soon have an alternative to lethal force when dealing with violent people being arrested or held as prisoners.
At the request of Sheriff Dave Scott, the board of supervisors approved the purchase of six Taser guns for the sheriff's department.
The Taser gun fires two pins attached to wires up to 25 feet to deliver a debilitating electric charge through up to two inches of clothing.
In some situations, such as threatened use of a knife, a law enforcement officer now has no choice but to go directly to lethal force. In other situations, such as a prisoner tearing up a jail cell, deputies would not use something less than lethal force, risking injury to themselves as well as the prisoner.
"Even if it never gets used, it would be a heck of a deterrent," Scott told the supervisors at the Tuesday meeting.
"These are needed more than other things. I don't suppose you could trade radars for these," Ron Wetherell, supervisor, joked.
Each Taser costs about $1,000. The sheriff's department has not specifically budgeted for these but the department does have some funds remaining in its budget, partly because a vehicle cost less than what was budgeted for it.
The request from the sheriff's department started a work day on Tuesday that was schedule to go through the morning and on into the afternoon while the supervisors worked on the budget for the next fiscal year that begins July 1.