Marion council observes taser test

Marion City Council members watched a certified taser instructor temporarily paralyze a police officer using a taser gun during their meeting Monday.

The meeting adjourned to the city auditorium for 15 minutes so that Jessey Hiebert, assistant police chief in Hillsboro, could demonstrate the effectiveness of the taser gun on Tyler Mermis, Marion police sergeant.

Prior to tasing Mermis, Hiebert explained how the taser gun can make an uncontrollable ?bad guy? controllable.

Although a small weapon, the taser fires barbs attached by wires to batteries resulting in an assailant being immobilized.

?It (the taser) is an unpleasant sensation giving the officer a five-second leeway to put handcuffs on the bad guy,? Hiebert said.

Each five-second cycle, he said, is 50,000 volts of electricity, but what makes it effective is the impulse it sends that causes every muscle to flex.

The councilors were briefed about the new weapon in order to better understand its use and the procedural language associated with the taser manual.

Marion Police Chief Josh Whitwell said it was the first taser the city purchased and will be an advantage for his officers.

?It will be better on suspects and less wear and tear on officers,? he said.

Dan Baldwin, city attorney, said the taser is one more tool in the police arsenal and that there are more lethal weapons than this one.

Whitwell said he and the other officers are in varying stages of training.

Hillsboro?s police have been using taser guns since 2004, Whitwell said.

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