When the Van Meter, Iowa police department's single patrol car went out of commission a couple of weeks ago, Van Meter police chief Bill Daggett told Fusion they lacked the funds to purchase another one immediately, and so he took to surveying the town in his personal vehicle while the police car sat in the shop.
Luckily, no arrests needed to be made in the interim, but shortly thereafter Daggett and city administrator Jake Anderson started brainstorming ways they could raise funds in the 1,100-person town to perhaps pay for a second squad car (and maybe some other amenities like a radar gun to slow down drivers around town).
Their idea for a fundraiser? Let anyone shoot the city administrators with a taser gun for $5! Via the Des Moines Register:
For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, Van Meter is offering its residents a chance to use a police Taser on a city official.
City Hall is selling the tickets as part of a public safety fundraiser. The raffle winner will get the chance to use a Taser on City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance on July 18.
Contrary to popular belief, however, an untrained citizen will not be given free reign to wield the taser gun. According to Daggett, an officer will have his hands on the taser at the same time as the citizen, and will be aiming below the waist, per Anderson's request. Because of this, whomever receives the taser shot will only be incapacitated below the waist for five seconds, max, Daggett said.
"I will tell you that my officers would much rather be tased than be pepper sprayed," Daggett told Fusion.
Daggett designed the posters hanging around town himself, though he's never actually seen the iconic YouTube video that spawned the "don't tase me bro" meme.
"The reference wasn’t to that, it was to a lot of people who look at the tasers and use that phrase," Daggett told Fusion. "It’s become that iconic phrase and that was the only thought process."
Anderson's surprised the fundraiser's received the attention it has, saying no one blinks an eye when someone gets dunked in water.
"The attention is giving me more anxiety than the taser itself," Anderson told Fusion.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.