Roanoke police finally adding another less-than-lethal tool to their belts

36 officers now carrying Tasers

ROANOKE, Va. – Police in the Star City now have a new tool to add to their belts.

Years after most large departments in the commonwealth, Roanoke police are finally using Tasers.

After training all day Monday in the classroom, in the field and feeling the jolt of the Taser for themselves, a group of newly certified officers is ready to take to the streets with a new weapon.

"The best way to describe it is it feels like your insides are burning," Roanoke Police investigator Brad Daniels said. "It completely incapacitates you. You cannot move, you cannot function, you cannot do anything."

In training, officers learned about which suspects the less-than-lethal tools will work on.

"If they've been on a lot of drugs or anything of that nature, it's probably likely not going to work," Daniels said.

They also learned when they should step up their tactics.

"Between 10 to 14 seconds, if it doesn't work between those two, then we recommend changing to a different use of force option," Daniels said.

Right now, 36 Roanoke police officers, mostly field training officers, are carrying Tasers. Since the first officers started carrying them around the end of June, they’ve had two successful deployments. The department just ordered 20 more, mainly for senior officers, and is considering expanding that to all 250 officers down the road.

"Our goal is not to go out there and kill somebody. Our goal is to make sure everybody goes home safely," Daniels said.

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