FARMINGTON — After voluntarily getting shocked by a stun gun Wednesday in front of a crowd of onlookers, the Franklin County sheriff said he now knows just how painful it is to be on the receiving end.

“I tell you, if you’re a bad guy, you do not want to take that ride. That was the longest five seconds of my life,” Sheriff Scott Nichols said after he was helped from the ground by other members of the department.

About 50 people came to the stun gun demonstration, which was part of the Sheriff Department’s first open house. While some members of the crowd reacted with sympathetic wincing, others in attendance, including department members, were straining to snap a good photo.

Nichols said he hopes to make the open house an annual event, though he added he plans to get stunned at it only this year.

To be authorized to carry a stun gun, officers first need to be shot with one. Nichols said he was the only person in the department who had never been shot with a stun gun, and he said it was important as the department leader to go through the process.

Marla Dubay, of New Vineyard, said she respects Nichols for publicly taking a hit from a stun gun and was surprised to learn the deputies who carry them have been shocked by one previously.

“I think it’s nice that the fellas who are using the Tasers know what it feels like. It could prevent overuse,” she said.

Along with the stun gun demonstration, the open house included a chance to meet the entire department and a tour of the newly completed $600,000 dispatch center.

Nichols said the dispatchers are a vital and instrumental part of the department and that the upcoming upgrade from their current cramped quarters to the new building is long overdue.

John Calloway, chairman of the Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee, was in attendance and said he is glad the public had a chance to see in person what their county taxes pay for.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s good to know just how our money is being spent,” he said.

Dubay said she came to the demonstration with her husband, Dennis, to learn about the equipment that the deputies use. She said she was surprised by some of the technical equipment, such as the span of the radar used to detect speeding.

“I learned a lot,” she said, after looking over one of the cruisers lined up in the parking lot for inspection.

Nichols said after the event that the open house successfully served as a way for people to meet their local law enforcement outside of a crime or an emergency setting.

“I think it went great. The public got to see the people that work for them and mingle together in a friendly environment,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

kschroeder@centralmaine.com