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Probation department adding more Tasers

Tasers are a tool for Erie County's probation officers who, right now, have seven available to officers who carry hand weapons. The county is now in the process of purchasing more.

Probation Commissioner Brian McLaughlin says Tasers are an alternative to the deadly force of a gun.

"We train so that when the instant does come up, you're ready. You don't have to stop and think or try to figure it out," McLaughlin said.

There have been only two uses of the Taser and McLaughlin says they were "real fights where the preference was to take him out with a Taser instead of taking a chance on escalating up to a weapon getting involved or somebody getting seriously hurt."

Those officers who have the option for a Taser are required to take a day-and-a-half of training to start and an annual two-hour recertification.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.