|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
TPD generates $543 in Tase-A-Cop event
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Although Trinity Police Chief Steve Jones may have regretted agreeing to the Tase-A-Cop fundraiser on Saturday, by Monday he was all smiles. Jones was “elected” in a $1 per vote contest during the 63rd Annual Trinity Community Fair to receive a five-second jolt of 50,000 volts from a police Taser. “We did very well considering the event was basically rained out on Saturday,” Jones said, noting almost all of the voting occurred on Friday, which is traditionally the day with the lightest fair crowd. “If we would have had clear skies on Saturday, I feel we would have gotten well over $1,000,” he added. The final tally was $573.76. He noted the 76 cents came from a young girl of about 8 or 9 years of age who wanted to cast a vote but did not have a full dollar. All of the proceeds will be used for police/community projects such as the March Against Crime and Drugs. The names of six full-time and reserve officers were offered to the public for votes with the “winner” having to take a “ride on the lightning” during the Saturday afternoon fair activities. A last-minute feature to the event was the auctioning of the right to pull the trigger on the Taser. Former Trinity Police Sgt. Tommy Park was in attendance and bid $125 to win the experience of Taser his ex-boss. Jones noted that when he first agreed to the fundraiser, he knew he would almost certainly be the one to take the Taser ride. During the days leading up to the fair he had a running joke telling people that Officer Donald Givens was seeking their votes. “I want everyone to know that I am extremely disappointed that even though Officer Givens was asking for their support, he didn’t get it,” Jones joked again on Monday. Jones noted he and all Trinity police officers who carry Tasers have experienced the effects of the non-lethal weapon as part of their training. Held like a traditional handgun, instead of bullets the Taser fires two prongs that are attached to the weapon by long wires. When the prongs strike a subject, they imbed into the skin and form an electrical circuit. “It feels like someone is running inside you between the two points of contact – like balls of electricity bouncing back and forth,” Jones said. He noted that the electrical current shuts off all control of muscles and causes the body to collapse to the ground. “You can still hear everything going on around you and your mind is still functioning, but you have no control of your muscles,” he said. While receiving a Taser jolt can in no way be described as pleasant experience, Jones said he prefers it to other non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray. “Although it hurts, once the five-seconds are up, its over. There are no after effects. “When you use pepper spray on a suspect, the suspect is not the only one who will feel the effects. The officer using the spray will feel it and anyone standing nearby will feel it,” he said. In addition, pepper spray gets in clothing and hair and contaminates the area in which it was used. Jones noted that if it were used inside a building, its smell would linger for an extended period. Jones said he wanted to use Saturday’s event to give the public a better understanding of the weapon. He had planned to present a talk about the device but due to the heavy rain, the crowd became anxious and he decided to go directly to the demonstration. As part of the event, officers fired a standard police Taser at a paper target to show the crowd how the weapon would normally be deployed. When Jones went for his “ride,” instead of firing the prongs into him, the wires from the Taser were manually attached to him using alligator clips. Sgt. Randy Wheeler and Givens held Jones by the arms to keep him from falling while Park pulled the trigger. Jones was then lowered gently to a mat until his five-second ride was completed. Officer Larry Barak served as the event’s “executioner,” which meant he was in charge of the Taser and served as the safety officer for the event. In the voting, Jones won with 189 votes while Givens did come in second with 132. Other “candidates” included Wheeler with 69 votes, Officer J. Johnson with 44, Officer Justin Sikes with 41 and Officer Felix Morales with 27.