Police and city use technology to protect public - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police and city use technology to protect public

June 28, 2007

Valdosta - In the past law enforcers typically had only one option when arresting an unruly suspect.

A gun.  And deploying it could be lethal.  "If I fire this at someone the potential of someone receiving serious injuries or death is extremely high," says Commander Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police.

Now police have more alternatives through an array of non-lethal weapons including tasers, pepper spray, and rubber bullets.

They're allowing police more alternatives when making an arrest.  "The idea with these devices is to allow us to restrain a violent or aggressive offender or someone who's resisting arrest without resorting to this," Childress adds.

And they're saving lives all over the country.  Police say using non lethal weapons like the taser will help reduce injuries for both the officer and offenders.  "There have been occasions where I pull the baton out when someone's resisting arrest.  Just by seeing you pull that out, they surrender."

Valdosta Mayor John Fretti is at the forefront of putting these weapons on the belts of the city police.  "If it saves one life its worth it. And if it saves one less struggle with a suspect, it's worth it," Mayor Fretti says.  "I believe in protecting the police.  I believe in protecting the suspect and if less lethal devices now through proven efforts from the National Chiefs of Police do that, then I'm all in."

He helped the department purchase many of these and they are now waiting for the arrival of some new tasers.

They hope they'll help the officers in their goal to keep Valdosta streets safe.


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