One of the things they try to instill with new officers is not to get involved off-duty, unless someone’s life is in danger. Then they tell the new guys that “for matters of discipline”, they are considered on-duty 24 hours a day.
Anyone see a problem here?
So, they tell you not to get involved but if you see something and don’t do anything, you could face charges and disciplinary actions. Lots of cops don’t get involved off duty, some don’t get involved even when on-duty, and some cops just can’t help but get involved. Guess where I fell?
In the early 70’s “Tasers” or “Tazers”, were just being developed and were not common knowledge even among police departments. Very few cops in Hawaii had ever heard of then or knew how to use one.
It was midweek day so that means my Saturday and Sunday fell on Tuesday and Wednesday. Everyone, but other cops, was working so I decided to go to an afternoon movie. As I was walking to the theater I see a guy walking on Fort street mall wearing a low slung holster on his hip and I recognized it as one of the new Tasers. The police department didn’t even have any of these and the only reason I knew about it was an article I had read a few weeks earlier.
At this time there wear no regulations on the Taser. Electric stun guns and such were not common and were very expensive. I seem to remember they were several hundred dollars at that time.
I followed this guy around hoping to see an on duty officer, which I finally did after several minutes. Remember, no cell phones. I had the on-duty call the sector sergeant and asked him to come to our location. My Taser guy was inside a store so we could wait a few minutes. The sergeant got there before the guy left so I was able to “brief” him on what I had seen. I explained to him what the taser was, how you used it, and basically said here’s an arrest for you.
I did not count on the fact that neither the sergeant nor the on-duty wanted to make an arrest. The sergeant basically told me if I didn’t make the arrest, the guy could walk away. If I wanted him off the street, I’d have to make the arrest. Well, there goes my movie.
I waited till the guy came out of the store, showed my badge, placed him under arrest for being “Offensively Armed”, relieved him of the Taser, put him in cuffs, and just waited for the blue/white for transportation to the station.
While I’m standing there the Sergeant was looking at the Taser, pointed it at the brick wall side of the building and touched the trigger. It went “boom”. Taser’s then were actuated by a small pistol primer. This is what sent the “probes” down range. They also had wires attached to the main battery that then delivered the 50,000 volt charge to the probes.
When it fired, the probes hit the brick wall, bounced off, knocking out a large chunk of brick, bent the probe barbed ends, and fell to the ground. Now the sergeant, being the curious sort, reached down to pick up the fallen probes. As he was reaching for them I noticed he still had the trigger pulled but before I could warn him, he delivered 50,000 volts to his own hand.
As one might imagine the resulting shock dropped the sergeant to his knees, but it also made him let go of the trigger. Only the on-duty officer and I saw what happened. When the stun wore off, the sergeant made us swear we would never tell anyone what had happened. Knowing the sergeant as we did, we promised to never repeat what we had seen. Until now.
Since I had “made the arrest”, I had to go to the station for booking, reports, and such. I didn’t have to brief the watch commander because the sergeant went right into the commander’s office to “advised him of the arrest”. I think he just wanted to make sure I didn’t say anything about him tasing himself.
By the time all was done, I had missed my movie so I went on home. Don’t know if I ever saw that movie, hell, I can’t even remember the name.
A few months later I find myself working for this same sergeant, one of the perks for keeping this story to myself, and just before roll call I see him “checking out” his newly issued “mace” canister. I calmly sat there and watched him mace himself in the face. He managed to get out of the room and into the locker area before it affected anyone else. Nobody could figure out what I was giggling about because I figured he wanted me to get quiet about this too.
Now you got to admit, it’s not often someone taser’s and mace’s themselves, and still manages to become Chief of Police.