The Wetzel County Sheriff's Department will soon be sporting some new weapons thanks to funding from the Wetzel County Commission.
The department's chief deputy, Mike Koontz, reported that the department has recently acquired 10 tasers, one for each deputy at a cost of around $10,000.
Koontz reported that all members of the department have been certified to operate the tasers thanks to an eight-hour class they attended in Moundsville, W.Va. Furthermore, Koontz stated that four members of the department were willing to be tased themselves.
Pictured is the 2013 Ford F-150 that the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department has recently acquired. (Photo provided by Randy Adams of the Wetzel County Sheriff's Department.)
"It is not a requirement though to be tased," Koontz added.
The new tasers will be a useful tool for the deputies, as tasers are considered to be a less lethal use of force. "They could potentially prevent injury from both suspects and deputies by using the taser," Koontz stated. "The deputies may not have to go hands-on with violent subjects, which will prevent suspects from hurting us or us hurting them in attempts to subdue them," he said. "And in some situations, tasers are better than pepper spray because there is no cross contamination . . . When you tase someone, it only affects the person it touches," he added.
Koontz reported that the deputies will wear their tasers on their duty belts.
In another matter, Koontz reported that the sheriff's department has recently purchased a 2013 Ford F-150. Koontz stated the cost of the truck was $27,469. Another $9,000 was used for the truck to be equipped with a new radio system, light bar, sirens, inside divider, wraparound push bar, and graphs. Koontz emphasized that the department's new F-150 was actually not much more expensive than each Ford Explorer the department purchased in October 2012, each priced at $25,518,
Koontz said the truck, which came from a dealership near Charleston, W.Va., was purchased through the state bid program. He added that Sheriff John Brookover is driving the truck, but it's available to any deputy on an as-needed basis. It's also been utilized to get into "some rough-terrain areas," noted Koontz.
The Wetzel County Sheriff's Department has released the following report from last year: citations, 617; warning citations, 782; arrests, 153; drug arrests, 20; driving under the influence, 18; traffic accidents, 174; and mental hygienes, 90.