UPDATE: WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Tasers are making a comeback. After almost five years off the shelves, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office is putting the device back into the hands of its deputies.
Winnebago County Senior Deputy Matthew Jarvis says it's great to have the tasers back.
"It's going to give us more options. When we're using them now, it's already going to be an elevated situation and before, you only had a couple options. Now, with a taser, you can gain compliance and have an extra tool to use."
The county put the tasers into storage five years ago because of legal and health issues nationwide. Now, 117 county deputies are being reintroduced to the "smart" weapons with stricter guidelines, including when the weapons should be sued. It's part of a plan to keep police safe.
"Officers get punched, they get kicked, they get spit on, people try to choke officers out. So anytime that we can reduce that risk and increase their survival rate and their safety, I think it's a good thing," says Deputy Chief Scott Meyers.
The stricter rules also make it safer for those getting tased. Deputies can no longer shoot at the chest. They are being taught to aim at the stomach or back. These changes are to avoid any cardiac problems.
"You just have to be more aware of your surroundings. Before, it was tase them and everything will be find in any area. Now, they want you to limit the areas where you're going to aim at."
Jarvis says that shouldn't be a problem and it will just be nice to know that it's there. He hopes just the presence of them will cause the person to comply faster.
With the new "smart" weapons, the county will be able to look over more information than ever before if the taser is shot. Thanks to HD cameras on the tasers, they can see the duration of the shock, how many pulses entered the body, and if it was a good hit.
Rockford Police say they are bringing tasers back as well, but they do not have a timeline on when they will have them.
Winnebago County is also in the middle of testing out body cameras which will give that administration another angle on any incident that needs to be reviewed.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) --- Almost five years ago, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies got rid of their tasers because of their potential to cause heart attacks or death, but in just over a month, they will have them back.
Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers says they are bringing them back because the weapons and training have been improved. The department’s 106 deputies are expected to get the tasers in their hands in about 30 to 40 days. In the meantime, they will all be retrained.