Governments' Lighter Side

TASER time


Via City of Van Meter Facebook page

Van Meter, Iowa, city officials may introduce a hot new dance craze at next week’s Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance – the freeze & fall.

Participants in the “It Is TASER Time!” raffle at the annual dance will purchase tickets and vote to taze Van Meter City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the event, which takes place July 18, according to a post on Van Meter’s Facebook page. One winner will do the honors, but could choose to save the city official from experiencing the TASER’s sting. The winner will receive assistance from a certified officer if they choose to taze, according to the post.

Raffle tickets will go for $5 a pop, and the proceeds will go toward the city’s fire and police departments. Department officials hope to raise $10,000 through the dance and atypical raffle activity, Paul Porter, chaplain for Van Meter’s fire and police department, told American City & County.

Anderson envisioned TASER Time as a unique way to entice participants and raise more funds for the Des Moines, Iowa, suburb’s safety agencies, Porter said. Two GoFundMe pages were created to gain online donations.

“Several individuals from the police and fire departments have been actively selling tickets, but we don't have any totals yet,” Porter told the AC&C.  “Some in the community have raised objections to the idea.” 

According to Amnesty International, TASERs were responsible for nearly 500 deaths between 2001 and 2012. However, according to TASER’s statistics, the devices have saved more than 148,000 lives from death or serious bodily injury.

Because of the possibility of bodily harm, Porter is hosting and promoting his own GoFundMe page in hopes of becoming the “It’s TASER Time!” winner, so he can opt not to taze his colleagues.

“My goal is to purchase as many raffle tickets as possible increasing the chance that one of my tickets will be drawn,” he said. “I am confident that (Van Meter Police) Chief (Bill) Daggett will take every precaution to make sure the event is safe. However, if there is even a slight chance that something could go wrong, I'm not sure it is worth the risk.”

Van Meter Police Department’s GoFundMe page lists $20 raised toward the $10,000 goal. Porter’s page has raised $25.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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