Sheriff says safety dictated taser purchase
Sheriff Bob Alkire said Monday his department purchased tasers and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team equipment asﾠ a matter of safety.
ﾓWe needed something between hand-to-hand combat and deadly force,ﾔ Alkire said. ﾓWe needed a non-lethal weapon that could neutralize somebody without permanently hurting them.ﾔ
The sheriff said he first regarded the safety of the citizens, including the ﾓbad guy,ﾔ and the safety of the officers.
Invoices show the sheriffﾒs derpartment purchased three tasers for $2,399.97, along with power magazines, air cartridges, and holsters for another $734.10.
In addition, the department got a single shot launcher, four liq1uid rounds and two powder rounds for the launcher for another $772.89.
The money has come from his budget, he said, and also from grant money and concealed weapons fees. Further, Pocahontas Countyﾒs deputies have come in first in the state for writing tickets during ﾓClick It or Ticket,ﾔ a program designed to encourage seatbelt use. Funds do not come into the sheriffﾒs budget, he said, but rather is paid to a company for and equipment purchase.
ﾓIt canﾒt compare to the cost of officers or a suspectg getting hurt,ﾔ Allkire said.
Alkire noted that deputies today couldﾠ face greater dangers than anyone could foresee. He said people in rural Pennsylvania probably did not expect the milkman to shoot and kill Amish schoolgirls.
ﾓI hope and pray nothing like that ever happens in Pocahontas County,ﾔ he said.
While no incidents in Pocahontas County came to his mind, he did say his officers assisted Randolph County law enforcement with a shootout in several years ago.
That incident led to a few law enforcement officers being wounded. The suspect holed up in a farmhouse near Montrose after shooting an officer in another county.ﾠ Pocahontas County officers responded to the scene.
ﾓAll we had was our sidearms,ﾔ he said.
Alkire also said that drug abuse, particularly meth, has led to officers potentially being in more danger when they are out on a call.
ﾓPeople on meth have five times the strength of normal (people),ﾔ he said.ﾠ However, the sheriff said prescription drug abuse is still Pocahontas Countyﾒs number one problem.
ﾓThereﾒs an old saying, ﾑif you fail to plan, you plan to fail,ﾒﾔ Alkire said. ﾓI donﾒt want to come on a scene and say, ﾑwhat do I do now?ﾒ Iﾒll know what to do.ﾔ
Three officers have been trained to use the tasers and the department has policies and procedures about their use, the sheriff said.
Ultimately, itﾒs up to each officerﾒs discretion when to use the taser, he continued.
ﾓThe main thing is safety,ﾔ Alkire reiterated.