Sheriff: Less than 2 in 10 deputies carry tasers in Spokane


by, Marissa Bagg

Posted on October 26, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 26 at 6:02 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY -- Sunday's deadly shooting in Spokane Valley raised questions about the use of use deadly force, but not all law enforcement agree tasers are the best way to subdue a suspect.

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies used deadly force in three shootings with suspects during the last two months. Two of those suspects died as a result, including Quentin Dodd, who was shot to death on Sunday after an armed confrontation near Progress and Valleyway Sunday evening.

During the last few weeks, KREM 2 News has received a number of viewer questions and calls about why officers haven't used tasers out in the field when confronted by suspects.

"That's why they have mace or tasers for people like that," said Charles Dodd, Quentin's brother.

According to Spokane County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Robb Sherar, less than two in ten Spokane County Sheriff's deputies carry a taser. Sherar said they're too expensive - about $800 each - and some deputies prefer not to use them.

Sherar said deputies handling a taser don't stand a good chance against an armed suspect, because it's not enough to stop the threat.

"It goes along with the old adage, you don't take a knife to a gunfight, you don't take a taser to a knife fight," said Sherar.

Even when he was on patrol, Sherar said he didn't carry a taser.

"I myself didn't see a need to carry a taser because I was comfortable with the tools I was used to," he said.

In training, deputies aren't specifically encouraged to use tasers, but it's one option they have to subdue a uncooperative suspect. They're trained to at least match the intensity of a threat, and Sherar said often that means reaching for their firearm.

"More often than not the deputy will go to lethal force because that's the most effective weapon to stop the aggression, the threat," he said.