EAST LIVERPOOL With changes in society making it more likely someone will react violently to perceived slights, and with an increase in the number of drugs in the area, East Liverpool Municipal Court Judge Melissa Byers Emmerling is arming her personnel and herself with Tasers.
"We want to be better prepared," the judge said Friday as she and several of her staff members underwent training in how to use Tasers.
"We're getting people from all over," Byers Emmerling said, pointing out that someone picked up and brought to court for a stop sign violation might actually have a "rap sheet a mile long" that includes violent offenses.
"When the public is here, they want to be safe," Byers Emmerling said, adding that her probation staff often makes home visits of defendants and they, as well as the bailiffs, serve all their own papers, such as subpoenas, often going into unknown situations.
Bailiff Shirley Flati has been armed with both a handgun and Taser since taking her position, but now the judge, probation personnel and newly-hired acting bailiff/deputy clerk Louis D'Angelo will also be armed with Tasers, but not firearms.
City Patrolman Fred Flati (husband of Shirley Flati), who serves as the police department's firearms instructor, taught the class, which involved Patrolman Chris Green being shot with a Taser to demonstrate for court personnel how it affects suspects.
Green, a muscular cage fighter, was taken to the ground by one shot from the Taser by Flati.