DERIDDER, La. — Some community fundraisers have dunking booths. Throw a ball, hit the target, dunk a public official.
But at the “Spring Break Splash” in DeRidder on Saturday, the grand prize in the police union raffle is the opportunity to “tase a cop.”
DeRidder Police Chief John Gott describes it as a “fun deal,” and he praises his officers for coming up with the idea themselves.
“I’m not making them do it- by no means,” he says, adding that he’s had positive feedback on the unconventional fundraiser, “from people who say ‘I’d pay to see that!’ ”
The “Splash” is the police union’s annual event to raise money the officers spend on buying toys for needy children at Christmas. But for the first time this year, someone with a winning $5 raffle ticket will turn a police department weapon — on an officer.
“Feels like getting shocked- your muscles lock up,” says Chief Gott, who readily admits that he’s never been tased himself. “It’s a couple of seconds of an electrical jolt that will go to the officer- that’s it.”
A description on the “DeRidder Police Officers Union Local 222” Facebook page assures skeptics that the tasing will be “informative and educational as well as entertaining.” It also makes getting tased sound practically painless.
“There are clips on the end of the wires. One is attached near the shoulder and one is attached near the waist. There are two spotters, one on each side of the officer being tased. When the trigger is pulled, the spotters will gently lay the officer down on the mat.”
In a town of about 11,000 people, Chief Gott calls tasers the “safest things in law enforcement we have going for us,” and he says he’s only heard a couple of negative comments about the raffle from people who were concerned that a child might win and get to pull the trigger.
Not so, according to the union’s description– only an adult can win the chance to fire the weapon on the willing officer.
Chief Gott says he’s pretty sure he knows which of his officers has volunteered to be on the receiving end of the electric jolt, but didn’t reveal the name.
“The most amazing thing,” he says, is that “it’s the guys’ idea, completely their idea and their time… I’m proud of my guys for giving back.”