Commentary by Des Woodruff
“Taser-Taser-Taser!” I heard these words just before my body fell helplessly to the floor, experiencing immense, debilitating pain. Once the 50,000 volts quit paralyzing my body, the agony immediately subsided.
As a student of the latest Westfield Citizens Academy, I chose to experience the effects of the infamous Taser – a non-lethal gun delivering 50,000 volts of pure “torture.” The Taser seems to be a significantly beneficial and effective alternative to a traditional firearm, but still does not receive a lot of use within the relative safety of northern Hamilton County.
The Westfield Police Dept. regularly conducts a Citizens Police Academy in order to build understanding of the crucial and often dangerous work these professionals do for our community. This latest academy consisted of 11 weekly classes. Each evening was packed full of police-related information and hands-on activities. While enrollment was free to any Westfield resident who passed a criminal background check, this student gladly would have paid tuition for the engaging, adrenaline-feeding experience I received.
The officers allowed us to shoot their weapons, drive their squad cars (with lights and sirens active), use simulated (paint-dispersing) weapons to rescue mock students from a shooter in a school and learn basic hand-to-hand combat skills. The academy also demonstrated taking fingerprints, provided a tour of the dispatch and jail facilities, gave instruction on crime investigations, and dynamically demonstrated how the K9 units function. Furthermore, each class attendee had the opportunity to go on a police ride-along with one of the officers.
Those in attendance ranged from general citizens to other city leaders such as Westfield City-Council President Jim Ake. Westfield Police Chief Joel Rush often attended the different classes, making himself available for questions from the students. No questions were off limits, and we were encouraged to inquire in great detail. We strive for a “Platinum level” of service, said Rush while explaining his ongoing goals for the department. Based on my class experience, every officer embodies this philosophy.
To enroll in the next Citizens Police Academy, visit the WPD website or follow it on Facebook for upcoming details. While being Tased is entirely optional, every attendee is guaranteed a stunningly informative and positive experience.
Des Woodruff is a Westfield resident and the president of FreeTradingVideos.com.