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Ga. jail’s no-TASER policy for COs raises concerns

Under Muscogee County Jail’s current policy, only sergeants and above are allowed to carry weapons


In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, a Taser X26 sits on a table in Knightstown, Ind.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

By Corrections1 Staff

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, Ga. — A no-TASER policy at a Georgia jail has raised concerns about safety for COs and other employees at the crowded facility.

The Ledger-Enquirer reports that under the current policy at the Muscogee County Jail, only sergeants and above are allowed to carry weapons. Sheriff Donna Tompkins said that while a sergeant doesn’t have to necessarily be the one to use the TASER, one has to be present when it’s deployed.

“On the street, obviously, our deputies do have tasers,” Tompkins said. “But in a correctional facility you’ve got to have very close monitoring of any weapons in your jail because there’s always the possibility that if that inmate gets that weapon then we’re in deep trouble.”

The issue comes as the jail experiences an increase in inmates, particularly in murder defendants and gang members. In September, Tompkins said murder defendants made up 6 percent of the inmate population at the over-capacity facility. She also said the jail was down 30 officers.

Tompkins said guns are also not allowed in the facility. She said COs must rely on their verbal and physical abilities to defuse situations.

A meeting will be held on Nov. 17 with some of the employees to discuss concerns and safety. Tompkins said she expects the no-TASER policy will be brought up and is willing to listen to their concerns on how to do things differently.

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