Column: Citizens’ Academy Amps Up the Pain
By Jacob Mathias
Sometimes I question my own judgement.
This week at the Portage County Emergency Services Citizens’ Academy, my classmates and I met at the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office to learn about defense and arrest tactics (known as DAAT). We learned how law enforcement determine when and how to use force.
There’s a lot to learn about the use of force — too much to write about here — but I would recommend that everyone check this class out themselves. It really adds new perspective about an officer’s actions, and like many who are quick to jump to conclusions when they see online videos containing alleged excessive force, I am now reconsidering my own initial reactions.
Back to my poor judgement.
During this class, my classmates and I were given the opportunity to expose ourselves to a piece of police equipment: the taser. I volunteered to take a taser shot.
How bad could it be?
The answer is: so bad…I think.
I was second in my class to get tased. The woman who volunteered before me screamed — no exaggeration — bloody murder as soon as the shock hit her, like someone you only see in horror movies. I really thought she was overreacting, but my confidence was shaken.
I don’t know that I can fully comprehend the experience of 50,000 volts of electricity flowing through my body. I think it hurt, but I’m not sure. It was certainly uncomfortable.
When the taser probes hit me in the back, I immediately lost control of any function. I hoped I could be the tough guy in the group and just clench my teeth and grunt through the five-second jolt. That was not the case.
Imagine you’ve fallen asleep on your side and awakened to half your body’s muscles asleep and tingly. No — multiply that by 1,000 and you might have an idea.
I fell forward, safely guided to the floor by my two spotters, while screaming out vulgarities with every awful feeling I had.
Oddly, as soon as it was over, the pain was gone. Other than two tiny bleeding puncture wounds in my back, I didn’t feel any different than before.
Like I said, I think it hurt, but I’m not entirely sure. However, don’t let my ambiguous feelings comfort you. It was a truly awful experience and if you commit a crime and an officer threatens to stop you with a taser, I’d listen.
It’ll be the worst five seconds of your life if you don’t.
Stay tuned next week as I continue my education at the Citizens’ Academy.