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Police officers to carry Tasers in schools

UPI | January 7 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Police patrolling Jacksonville, Fla., middle and high schools will be armed with Taser stun guns in addition to their regular guns, batons and pepper spray.

The Duval County Sheriff's resource officer will be authorized to shock anyone including students if they resist arrest or demonstrate a threat, the Jacksonville Times-Union reported.

"It's just another tool," said Rick Lewis, director of personnel and professional standards in the sheriff's department.

The weapons fire electrified barbs that can shoot up to 21 feet and shock suspects with 50,000 volts of electricity.

Police say Tasers are one of the safest weapons to subdue a suspect and saves the lives of both suspects and police. Critics say, however, Tasers have resulted in the deaths of some suspects.

School officials said the announcement took them by surprise. School Board members Brenda Priestly Jackson and Kris Barnes said they opposed the plan.

"Can't a couple of adults take down a child?" Barnes asked.

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