New High Tech Taser being used in Polk County

11:28 AM, May 9, 2011   |    comments
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  • Bartow, Florida - There's a new taser in town that looks like something out of a James Bond movie. It packs a powerful punch and can stop the bad guys in their tracks longer than a stun gun can.

    Polk County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members say the taser has already saved lives.

    They point to a terrifying scene from inside an Auburndale home last Christmas when a convicted sex offender, 27-year-old Jason Robinson, was accused of brutally attacking his brother and threatening to kill the entire family.

    In victim's statements to police Jason's brother Adam Lee Robinson explained to detectives after the alleged incident, "He starts stomping on my ribs and he actually jumps up and stomps on my testicle."

    Jason is accused of barricading himself inside the house and that's when the Polk County SWAT team members moved in. Paul Butler is a member of the SWAT team and says, "So we pushed the front door of the house open with that to try to get his attention. I  utilized a shotgun that we have with the TASER XREP round."

    Polk County Sheriff's Office is one of only about two dozen law enforcement agencies in Florida using the powerful new TASER Extended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP). 

    It's fired from a 12 gauge shotgun from up to a 100 feet away. It's 14 grams, has wing like fins that spread open as it takes flight.  It has painful probes and pins that stick into your body. It packs all the powerful punch and stopping power of a stun gun and is enclosed in a 12 gauge shotgun shell and when it hits you it locks up your muscles.

    John Angleton is the taser coordinator for the sheriff's office and says, "It's the most excruciating pain imaginable. It locks everything up. For one you cannot move. You can breathe because you're screaming at the top of your lungs."

    The TASER XREP keeps a suspect down for 20 seconds instead of 5 seconds which is how long the traditional taser keeps a suspect down. The traditional taser also has to be fired from a closer range within 21 feet.

    While TASER XREP rounds cost a hundred dollars each SWAT team members say they're worth the price because they save lives. 

    They say the rounds saved Jason Robinson's life.  Deputy Butler says, "When he fell - he fell within inches of a butcher knife that was on the floor but thankfully he fell on top the XREP round. That round immobilized him and allowed us to get in and secure him."

    Butler adds, "So that 20 seconds gives us plenty of time to get into the home or get into wherever we're at or close the distance between us and the suspect and take them into custody before they're able to do something to harm themselves
    or harm us."

    The TASER XREP is only available to law enforcement agencies and not the general public. While the cartridges are expensive Polk County Sheriff's Office only allows their SWAT team to use them.

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    Tammie Fields, 10 News

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