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December 3rd, 2010
Taser Report Du Jour

FORT MYERS — The Lee County Sheriff’s Office fired a jailer who used his Taser excessively, turning it against his wife, his son and even the boy dating his daughter.

Deputy Gene R. Ulbrich, a corrections deputy hired in 2007, violated agency rules for handling a weapon, according to an internal investigation. Sheriff Mike Scott fired Ulbrich on Nov. 23.

According to the report, Ulbrich, 39, fell under scrutiny after the mother of his daughter’s boyfriend called the Sheriff’s Office to complain her son had been stunned with the weapon.

Investigators looked into Ulbrich’s use of the weapon and found he was already on his third Taser of the year, having returned two within a short period of time in February. They also looked at the number of times he used the weapon.

A Taser records each instance the trigger is pulled, allowing investigators to analyze the use of the weapon. Deputies, in turn, are required to record every instance they use a Taser against someone.

Investigators found that Ulbrich pulled the trigger frequently, both while he was at work and off duty. On April 7, when Ulbrich was off-duty, he pulled the trigger 10 times between 4:14 p.m. and 5:41 p.m., investigators found.

On May 17, a work day, investigators recorded 17 trigger-pulls between 6:47 p.m. and 10:01 p.m. They found no use-of-force reports written by Ulbrich on either day.

Outside of an incident, deputies are advised to pull the trigger at most once a day to ensure the weapon works, according to Sgt. Stephanie Eller, an agency spokeswoman.

“If you let it sit for a long time without firing it, it could misfire it,” she said.

Ulbrich used his Taser as a gag, the investigation concluded, apparently removing the cartridge and pressing it against members of his family. He used it on his daughter’s boyfriend, at the boyfriend’s request, investigators found. He also used it against his wife, while Ulbrich was driving.

“He just tapped me real quick and took it off...” his wife, Dawn Ulbrich, told investigators.

“He was like, ‘How did that feel?’” she said. “I was like, ‘Don’t do that again.’”

Dawn Ulbrich suffered a small burn on her legs, she told investigators.

Gene Ulbrich began work on July 31, 2007. He earned $35,294.22 annually.

 


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