Knightstown police chief takes hit from stun gun to raise money
There was a stunning fundraiser Friday in Knightstown where police brought out a crime-fighting tool not to catch a criminal, but to raise money for the force.
They ended up bringing in more than $30,000 for the Knightstown Police Department as people paid to see Police Chief Danny Baker take one for the team.
"Never say never" is how the saying goes. Friday, though, it seemed Baker wasn't paying attention.
"I said I'd never do this again," the chief explained about his decision to get shot with a stun gun. He's already done it twice, once in training and another time to raise $500 for police equipment a few years ago.
"I know I've been called an idiot and a few other names on the Internet for doing this. That's fine. No names can hurt me," Baker said.
The chief explained that a stun gun can hurt, though.
He agreed to be shot with one again to raise money for new police cars. The department only has one vehicle that works right now.
"Budget cuts are so bad. I've been promised police cars for four years and every time they set that money for 'em, something happens and they have to cut them out," Baker explained.
About 100 people turned out to see Baker get shot with the stun gun in the middle school gymnasium.
"Brian, whenever you're ready, I'm not," the chief said to the two men holding him on either side, right before another officer used the stun gun on him.
"You ready, Bill?" Baker asked.
"Taser! Taser!" someone shouted before hitting Baker with the stun gun as he fell forward on a gym mat. Two officers were on either side of him to catch him as he fell, moaning on the ground.
"I got a cramp in my leg," Baker said laying there, before getting up.
Following Chief Baker's lead, the town treasurer, Bart Whitesitt, got stunned too.
"It hurt a lot. All I could see was white and blue flashes," said Chief Baker.
Painful, the chief said, but worth it.
"I love my town. I love the people of this town. I love my officers," he added.
At the event itself, people in the crowd donated $800 in cash. The biggest contribution, however, came in the form of a $25,000 check from radio host Glenn Beck.
Baker currently drives the only working police cruiser in his department, an old military Hummer with a police light bar added to the roof. The three other vehicles in the fleet are in need of repairs.
"You can hear it coming three blocks away. We have put all new lifters in it and it still rattles like crazy," Baker said. "It needs an engine. It's actually for sale as is."
"All small towns are struggling here in the state of Indiana right now, you know," said Whitesitt.
Whitesitt was able to crunch numbers to lease one car for the department, then agreed to also take a hit from the stun gun.
"It's a certified system that is safe from the State of Indiana for police, so that is good enough for me," he said.
"If I had a pacemaker or defibrillator, I would be more worried," Baker said Wednesday afternoon. "I am hoping to fill the gym up. It's kind of a competition between the ball game and us."
Baker hopes to raise enough money for three police cars in all. American Eagle Equipment in Noblesville also got wind of the event and donated labor to install the police lights on the new cars.