INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Independence County Sheriff's Office will soon use pepper guns instead of tasers.
Sheriff Shawn Stephens said the new equipment is just as effective as the tasers. The decision to switch was made because it will save the department money over time.
The pepper guns spray the same OC spray that deputies carry in cans.
"It's just propelled with a cartridge and it's in a gun form instead of a can form," Stephens said. "The SHU or Scoville Heat Units that categorize pepper spray, the pepper spray in these guns is just a little warmer than what we carry in the can."
The department has six of these guns right now. Three guns will be checked out to deputies on patrol while three will stay with guards in the jail.
Sheriff Stephens hopes to switch completely over from tasers in the near future.
That is because the new company that manufactures the tasers has enforced rules about replacing them every five years.
Stephens said that would get very costly for his department.
"These pepper guns are less expensive and it's a one-time cost," Stephens said. "You don't have to replace them because it's all mechanically operated. The only battery that's in here is to operate the laser. With the taser it's all electronic."
The first training session for the department was held earlier this week for deputies and guards to learn how to use them.
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