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Dougherty Co. Sheriff’s Office shows importance of taser training

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Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 7:20 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Kim Potter trial raised a lot of concerns on officer training when it comes to tasers and firearms.

The Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office gave WALB News 10 a close look at what taser training looks like in southwest Georgia. They allowed WALB to see exactly how an officer learns to use and pull their taser.

They are able to spot the difference between their firearm and their taser when they are set up in their holsters.

“We stand roughly just like this with our hands, where we can use them where we need to so if we were drawing a weapon and I’m in a use of force situation that requires a leather weapon, we would immediately go this way. Which is a very comfortable position but if I’m in a situation that requires less leather, if I’m gonna use a taser, I now have to twist my body and reach over and undo the retention device,” said Todd Krievel, a deputy with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office.

Dougherty County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Krievel said repetition is key with taser training.
Dougherty County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Krievel said repetition is key with taser training. (WALB)

Krievel said repetition is key.

“We do that over and over and over again. Unroll. You build that muscle memory and the brain says, ‘hey, taser situation, it’s over here and not this way,” said John Ostrander, chief jailer with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office.

After incidents like the Potter trial, where the former veteran police officer was convicted of manslaughter after she fatally shot 20-year-old Dante Write, has raised concerns about officer firearm training.

“Now, we’ve never had an incident in Dougherty County where an individual has been shot and they were meant to be tased, and hopefully, we’ll never have one,” said Ostrander.

John Ostrander is the chief jailer of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.
John Ostrander is the chief jailer of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office. (WALB)

“If somebody is going to use the taser in a lethal force situation that person yells, ‘taser, taser, taser.’ Because when the taser does pop in a high-stress situation, you can get what we call a ‘sympathy fire.’ And if somebody deploys a taser and you hear that pop in a high-stress situation, if you don’t train enough for it you’ll actually get an officer to deploy a firearm after a taser and has rendered the suspect immobile,” said Krievel.

Krivel said taser training is so essential before an officer goes out into the field.

“It’s much better in a training environment to make a mistake, where we can sit down and we can play-by-play, kind of like what a football team does once they go through a game they go back and watch the game and they go, ‘okay, well, this was good but here’s somewhere else you made a mistake,” said Krievel.

The sheriff’s office doesn’t just hold training for Dougherty County. They have provided training to officers all across the state.

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