Indiana Conservation Officers carry tasers for extra protection - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana Conservation Officers carry tasers for extra protection

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Indiana Conservation Officer being tased as part of training Indiana Conservation Officer being tased as part of training

HARRISON COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Working without a radio or cell signal, Indiana Conservation Officers often have to be their own back up.

That’s why the officers are training with newly purchased tasers, which will give them a second line of defense. During the training, many officers were tased themselves.

“It is very hard to put into words,” said ICO Jim Schreck.

Schreck said being tased as part of his training to carry the weapon was one of the most painful experiences of his life.

“It's a lot of volts of electricity, that's what it feels like. That's the only way I can relate it,” he said.

Despite the pain on the officers’ faces, Schreck said it was worth it. Often times officers are alone in the woods or on a boat so a taser is just another tool in their tool belt.

“Just due to the area of where we work, it makes it another option to have if we're by ourselves and encounter a dangerous individual, which sometimes we do,” Schreck said.

And if they're deep into a remote area he says a lot of times their radios don't work and they're lucky if they get a cell phone signal.

“Our back up may be a long way away or may not be coming at all,” Schreck said.

While conservation officers do carry a gun on their belts, a taser can be used without shooting and potentially killing a criminal.

“Our leadership has realized it's a less than lethal force option,” Schreck said.

However, he added it's still not a weapon to be taken lightly.

“It's a conducted electrical weapon that is capable of incapacitating someone,” Schreck said.

The tasers which cost about a thousand dollars each were purchased with help from local prosecutor and sheriff's offices. Schreck says he's grateful for the extra protection when he never knows who he'll run into next.

“Everything from a homicide suspect to someone fishing without a license. It's that whole spectrum that we run into,” he said.

There are about 200 conservation officers in Indiana. About half of them now carry tasers.

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