Police use Taser on Craig resident in domestic dispute

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A Craig police officer used a Taser on a Craig resident recently, marking the first time the nonlethal "stun-gun" has been used in a public place.

Officer Travis Young used a Taser on Edward Smercina, 34, at the man's residence in the 800 block of Ranney Street during an April 13 incident involving a domestic dispute, police said.

An affidavit of the incident was not available Tuesday.

The man accepted a plea agreement in court Tuesday to one charge of domestic violence menacing, said Deputy District Attorney Jay Cranmer.

Cranmer said a police report of the night's event indicated that the man had been drinking alcohol.

Charges of harassment and resisting arrest were dropped in the plea agreement. The man also was sentenced to take a drug that makes a person violently ill when they consume alcohol.

Cranmer said the man "didn't seem to be bitter" about an officer using a Taser on him.

Craig police Capt. Jerry DeLong said each incident in which an officer uses a Taser is subject to investigation.

Detention officers at the Moffat County Jail have reported using a Taser on a few inmates since police got the weapons in February 2004.

Craig police officers have access to at least four Tasers and are expecting to receive two more. Officers have the option to check them out during each shift, DeLong said.

Officers typically take ad--vantage of checking them out when starting a shift, he said.

Officers are required to take refresher courses on using the Tasers every year.

They recently completed a one-year test, DeLong said.

He said the Tasers are intended to halt a suspect and avoid physical confrontation. The "stun-guns" can deliver as much as 50,000 volts of electricity.

The weapons emit a series of high-voltage, low-amperage electric pulses.

"It gives us another tool to use in the performance of our job," he said.

DeLong said an investigation is warranted every time a Taser is discharged, whether the incident is accidental or intentional.

An investigation ensued after an officer accidentally discharged a Taser recently, DeLong said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craig-dailypress.com

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