Deputies in Fresno County armed with a taser cam

FRESNO, Calif.

A weapon on the hips of sheriff's deputies in Fresno County is a witness like no other.

"The taser cam on the bottom actually not only backs up what you said, but it's evidence."

The moment the safety is turned off the taser x26, every word and movement is recorded.

Sgt. Jim Stokes said, "The lens for the camera is right here in front of the device so when the officer holds it in one hand, the camera films everything that the taser is pointed at."

The black and white video gives investigators and prosecutors the play by play of a confrontation rather than an officers word against a suspects. The cameras record up to 30 minutes and work fine in dark, blackout conditions.

Deputy Tim Herzog feels the new tool is worth the additional $400.00 cost for the camera attachment ... because it holds everyone involved accountable.

Deputy Tim Herzog said, "It really kinda backs up what is going on. Usually in an event there's two sides to every story and these days people are kinda less likely to believe what they hear but definitely what they see."

Deputy Jon Pino trains deputies with the taser before they are issued the non lethal option. "Approximately 7 to 15 feet away is the optimum range and you want to give a warning, taser, taser, taser."

Every time the taser is applied, the videotaped incident is also reviewed by a sheriff's lieutenant.

Lt. Louis Hernandez said, "We look to see if there were any training issues, if our policies were followed (like I said) and if any laws were violated."

The sheriff's office has purchased and equipped 150 deputies with the camera models.

In a day and age when cell phone cameras are often used to record police incidents, many agencies welcome an option that offers a non biased version of how an event unfolded.

Using deadly force versus non lethal is a call many deputies must make at a moment's notice.

Deputies have noticed suspects are far more compliant even when they just introduce the threat of a taser. Often times, officers never even need to pull the trigger.

"I think it's kind of a stigma that they understand that once this thing is applied it is a painful experience," said Deputy Tim Herzog. "It's not going to kill you but it will definitely take the fight out of somebody and usually with just the threat or the presence of a taser will diffuse the situation with most violent people."

When deployed, the x26 tasers release two darts with wires that attach to the suspect's body. The taser delivers up to 50-thousand volts of electricity.

The enhanced feature provides equal protection to everyone involved and the most credible factor, the camera never lies.

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