Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has announced a new “pre-emptive force” policy, with jailers taking aggressive actions against potentially violent jail inmates, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As part of that tougher stance, all 600 jailers will be equipped with Taser stun guns, which deliver an electric shock when fired at someone. The jailers, who are split among three shifts, will share some 250 stun guns.
Any inmate exhibiting threatening behavior could be zapped. Clarke no longer expects jailers to wait until an inmate had already tried to attack them before responding with force. “We are tired of playing defense” in such situations, the sheriff said. “We are going on offense.” He said jailers would be trained in use of Tasers and wasn’t worried about inmates grabbing an officer’s Taser or officers using them inappropriately. “I’m tired of getting our ass kicked by these miscreants,” Clarke said. He noted several instances of officers suffering serious beatings at the hands of inmates, including one jailer last weekend who suffered broken facial bones after an inmate attack. Stan Stojkovic, a criminal justice professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said use of Tasers by jailers should be accompanied by rigorous training and clear guidelines. Overuse of Tasers could prompt violent reactions from inmates, he said.