September 26, 2007

Tasers help weight-challenged cops save trousers

Heidi Gill, the Ohio lady in the photo above, was out on the town drunk and disorderly. She drank too much alcohol and was behaving badly enough to get herself 86ed from a bar. Her behavior was bad enough that the police decided to arrest her. In the process, Heidi got herself seriously Tasered.

But the policeman tasked with subduing and effecting Heidi's arrest, Patrolman Richard Kovach was suffering from gross obesity, and needed an assist to get her under control. I know it isn't politically correct to criticize cats for being fat, or to make shape-ist assumptions that fat people are lazy or lacking in will power. Even so, there are some jobs for which it might seem that a normal, stable body weight would be a bona fide occupational qualification. Who would hire Richard Kovach to be a jockey?

After watching the video of Heidi's misadventure, I've tentatively concluded that Patrolman Kovach could have manhandled Heidi into submission without resort to such a shocking arrest aid as his Taser. The only reason I can see for the patrolman's not using his hands is that he was concerned about splitting out his uniform pants, which he has to buy with his own money.

I'm all for keeping dangerous drunks off the road, but I think we need to pay our police enough (or give them a uniform allowance) so they don't have to resort to Tasers to save their pants. It looked to me like patrolman Kovach was trying to tase Heidi into the car as if he had a cattle prod.

Of course, some will ask, "Would you rather the cop had cracked her skull with his truncheon or shot her with his pistol?" Certainly not. Its a trick question: those weren't the only options. Kovach could have bent over and grabbed the little lady. I thought policefolk were taught basic take-down methods. Even if Heidi were exhibiting the supernatural strength sometimes attributed to cats on drugs, the cop could at least have kept her in place, summoned and waited for backup.

Heaven forbid that anyone should think patrolman Kovich used his Taser to make this drunken babe dance because he enjoyed doing it. Or was too lazy to wrestle with her. He just didn't want to risk splitting out those costly pants. Of course, I wasn't there.

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