Deputies Forced to Stop Using Stun Guns
It’s a stunning development for two North Central Florida law enforcement agencies. They have to pull the plug on all of their electronic weapons immediately. Now the agencies are trying to figure out how to pay for new electronic weapons.
Marion and Levy County Sheriff's deputies were using Karbon Arms electronic weapons; generally referred to as a Taser.
"The problem with that is that they had an infringement on the manufacturing of the Karbon Arms against the actual "Taser" which is another stun gun company," said Capt. James Pogue with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
In January Taser International won a copyright infringement case.
"So now because of a court order we've been ordered to take all the Tasers from our officers and basically destroy them," said Capt. Pogue.
Right now Marion County deputies are fighting crime without this electronic weapon.
"If we don't have a Taser that means we have to go hands on. There is always a risk of the officer getting hurt, or the person that we are dealing with or of if there is public or citizens around maybe even one of them gets hurt," said Capt. Pogue.
Levy deputies are using older backup models. Marion County has to replace about 250 "stun guns" used by deputies, correction officers and undercover staff. Capt. Pogue with the Marion County Sheriff's Office said the Tasers are priced at about $1,000. Meaning the agency needs about $250,000 to purchase the weapons.
"Then we have to retrain all of our officers because it's a different type of stun gun," said Capt. Pogue.
For the past few months Sheriff Chris Blair has fought to get more funding for his agency and now he has no choice but to reach out to the board once again.
"We had no idea that this lawsuit was going to make us where we were going to have to come up with $250, 000," said Capt. Pogue.
We tried contacting Marion County Commissioners this afternoon but no one was available.
The Levy County Sheriff’s Office also doesn't know where they will come up with the money to replace their Tasers, either.
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