Davidson County training staff on addition non-lethal weapons

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Jail staff and patrol deputies in Davidson County are being trained to use less lethal weapons to make it safer for deputies, jail staff and inmates.

In 2019, there were more than 80 non-compliant issues inside the Davidson County Jail.

Sheriff Richie Simmons the numbers were disturbing, and were connected to a number of issues.

In at least one instance an inmate broke the sprinkler head off their ceiling to try and flood their cell.

Traditionally, county authorities used tasers and pepper spray as a deterrent on non-compliant inmates. Those have brought certain issues in the past, that the sheriff’s office is trying to address.

Pepper spray, the sheriff described, can an issue because of a single individual inside a pod housing other inmates. When the pepper spray is issued, other inmates would feel the impact of that spray.

The office has created an Emergency Response Team that consists of four squads of three individuals trained to use less lethal weapons.

Those weapons include shotguns designed to shoot bean bag shells, rubber bullet projectile canisters and pepper-spray filled paintballs.

These allow staff inside to be more accurate with their enforcement. These non-lethal weapons are also meant to be a deterrent to inmates, due to their effective ability to stun, or invoke a feeling of pain, to a non-compliant inmate.

The sheriff’s office also has trained and equipped four squads of two patrol deputies to use these weapons.

They are in the process of adding more deputies on the streets with the specialized training request to use this equipment.

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