Sheriff: New training, gear at Upstate jail will save taxpayers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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Sheriff: New training, gear at Spartanburg Co. jail will save taxpayers money

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Two of the giant schnauzers training at the jail, Koah and Max. (March 24, 2014/FOX Carolina) Two of the giant schnauzers training at the jail, Koah and Max. (March 24, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Sheriff Chuck Wright (L) with Capt. Joseph Garcia and the K9s. (March 24, 2014/FOX Carolina) Sheriff Chuck Wright (L) with Capt. Joseph Garcia and the K9s. (March 24, 2014/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said a month long training course at the jail will help keep guards and inmates safe.

Wright said new equipment will also help bring dangerous situations to an end quicker. He said a new unit has been formed at the jail to handle dangerous situations.

Wright said the sheriff's office contracted U.S. Corrections-Special Operations Group (C-SOG ) to conduct the training. The six deputies on the unit will be armed with protective gear, riot control devices and state-of-the-art shotguns designed to fire non-lethal rounds.

Captain Joseph Garcia is with C-SOG and said the training has tested the deputies physical, mental and decision making abilities.

"When Sheriff Wright brought us in he said ‘I want to make my jail dramatically safer for both inmates and our staff,'" Garcia said.

Garcia said the deputies also worked with two Giant Schnauzer K-9 officers. The only dogs of their kind in the world, according to Garcia.

"They [K-9's] are trained for hostage rescue, riot control, removing prisoners from their cells and escorting inmates," Garcia said.

During a demonstration at the jail on Monday, Garcia showed FOX Carolina how the K-9's could bring down an armed inmate and protect a guard from a group attack.

Wright said all of this was paid for by money set aside in his department's budget for training.

"It's an investment," Wright said. "We don't want our officers hurt, and we certainly don't want our inmates hurt."

Wright said the training and new equipment will give the jail a tier-one security classification. He said the designation will save taxpayers money by lowering the county's liability in court cases involving the jail.

The new tactics learned during the training will also reduce guard and inmate injuries, lowering medical bills, according to Wright. And he said in case of an emergency, no outside help would have to be called in at the expense of taxpayer dollars.

"A SWAT team is trained to do whatever," Wright said. "A SOG (special operations group) team is trained for the extraction of inmates safely."

Wright said the department is considering purchasing one of the K-9 officers to work full time at the jail, but a final decision has not been made.

Copyright 2014 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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