MARION COUNTY, Fla. - When certain central Florida deputies patrol the streets now, they will be missing a valuable tool that kept them safe: stun guns.
A federal court ruled the brand used by Marion County deputies is illegal.
An attorney for the sheriff's office told Channel 9's Angela Jacobs not having the stun guns puts deputies lives in danger and that they've become a vital component of law enforcement.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office attorney Gregg Jerald said sometimes the very appearance of a stun gun is enough to make a suspect stand down.
"It's not just the ability to use the weapon, it has a deterrent effect as well when the officer has the ability to pull that out and gain compliance from the suspect," Jerald said.
Due to a federal trademark infringement lawsuit, the Sheriff’s Office is now left scrambling to replace nearly 200 Karbon Arms units that were purchased just two years ago.
Officials said deputies still have other devices, like pepper spray and extendable batons, but replacing the stun guns is paramount, and the number needed even greater.
"One-hundred eight-six for the patrol guys and then the sheriff has several specialty units, tactical, investigations unit, fugitive's unit, property crimes guys, so the total number of need is around 250,” Jerald said.
In the meantime, the Sheriff's Office has been in touch with other electrical weapons makers and Jerald said they'll keep weighing their options.
"We're going to work studiously to get the situation rectified and get some types of devices back in the hands of our deputies," he said.
The sheriff attorney sent a letter to county commisioners to update them on the situation and Sheriff Chris Blair will be meeting with them this week.