News 8's Carlo Cecchetto goes through sheriff's weapons training - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

News 8's Carlo Cecchetto goes through sheriff's weapons training

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Why didn't they use a Taser? Why'd they have to shoot that guy? These are the questions law enforcement often hears after violent incidents involving officers. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department let the News 8 CrimeFighters behind the scenes of their weapons training in Miramar to get a better understanding of the weapons they use, when they use them and why.

The sheriff's department uses deadly force as a last result. Their everyday arsenal starts with a stick. Solid hits to major muscle groups bring assaultive individuals under control. A stick or even a flashlight can also be used other ways as well.

Pepper spray is used primarily on groups or individuals defying orders.

"Eyes will start watering and tearing, trying to get it out. Then you'll see the nose will start running -- a lot of pain," a sheriff's deputy said.

But it doesn't work on about 15 percent of the population. Next is the Taser.

"Certainly some advantages Taser has over a baton, for instance, is distance," a deputy said.

Tasers can hit targets up to 25 feet away an incapacitate a suspect. And I can tell you from experience, they hurt. But know that Tasers don't stop everyone cold. Some situations are just for the dogs.

"Typically a dog or canine is an intermediate distance," a deputy said.

For instance, a belligerent driver refusing to get out of his vehicle. Pepper balls are effective at a little longer range, and if they don't work, try bean bag rounds from a shotgun.

"It's equivalent to about a 90 mph fastball," a deputy said.

How to decide when to use what? A PRISM video simulator offers hundreds of scenarios to help deputies make the right choice.

"Golden rule, if you will -- what we impress upon deputies is that the earlier deployment of a less lethal option generally leads to a safer resolution for everyone involved," a deputy said.

That means pepper spray or Taser first, but there are times where deadly force is the only option. Deputies' primary weapon is their handgun: a .40 caliber Glock.

"Shooting from 10 yards in, it's relatively accurate," a deputy said.

The gun is built to fire off multiple rounds quickly. Shotguns can be used with two types of ammunition. One is a heavy, penetrating slug, the other is buckshot. Finally, the AR-15 rifle -- easy to fire and accurate from longer distances as well as up close.

Less lethal weapons are used against those refusing to comply with officers' orders or showing assaultive or aggressive behavior. The policy on use of deadly force is that it can be used to prevent serious bodily injury or death of a deputy or officer or anyone else.

I want to thank all the sheriff's department personnel who walked me through their training. It was an eye-opening experience.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.