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Living History: Sheriff's Dept. adds shocking new tool

Wadena County Sheriff Mike Carr, Jailer/Dispatcher Scott McKellep, and Chief Deputy Steve Young catch reporter Sonja Hegman as she reacts to a jolt from a taser. File photo.

15 years ago

Excerpts from the May 22, 2003 Pioneer Journal

• Taser part of sheriff's department tools

A shocking new method to subdue criminals can now be used by the Wadena County Sheriff's Department.

In mid-January the sheriff's department bought a taser that shoots an electrical current to disable an aggressive person. It works by disrupting a person's nerves and muscles at the same time with electrical current.

The purpose of the taser is to gain control over someone who is out of control, Chief Deputy Steve Young said. The taser's charge can be activated for as long as five seconds if a person is too far out of control. But it takes only about a quarter of a second to incapacitate someone with a taser.

About 50,000 volts run through a taser at 26 watts and 16 amps. This is only one-hundredth of the level that can electrocute someone.

The taser used by law enforcement can reach someone up to 21 feet away. It gives law enforcement an advantage that other methods do not.

"When someone is rushing you, seven yards isn't far," Young said. "The person could get to you before you get your gun out."

Before firing the taser, the shooter lines up the shot with a built-in laser.

"It's pretty accurate," Deputy Bob Swenson said. "You'd need a gale force wind to knock it off track."

40 years ago

Excerpts from the May 24, 1978 Pioneer Journal

• Vandals cause $500 damage to home

Vandalism to a Wadena home, estimated at $500, was reported to the PJ by Joyce Kopp, Wadena Police Department, this week. The incident occured May 17 at the home of Dan Stanhope.

The vandals gained entry into the house through a basement window, Kopp said, and poured syrup throughout the house, sprayed shaving cream on the walls and broke various items in the house. The vandals also attempted to start a fire on the living room carpet, he said.

The WPD, took two Wadena juveniles, ages nine and 12, into custody May 19 in connection with the incident, Kopp said.

The two have been released into the custody of their parents and the matter has been referred to the county attorney for further disposition.