It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
A month ago, a 72-year-old woman was pulled over for speeding in Texas, and after not cooperating with an officer, she found herself on the receiving end of a taser. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner spoke with local law enforcement officials on whether they respond differently to senior citizens.
When a police officer turns on a siren like this, the driver fears getting a ticket.
But the officer sometimes fears how the driver will react to being pulled over.
Sergeant Dan Bracker is an officer with the Missouri Highway Patrol.
He says officers treat every driver the same, whether they are old or young.
“The patrol looks at every situation, every car stop differently and the greatest tool afforded to us is discretion, and we can use that discretion. A lot of times a senior citizen will heed a warning a lot better than a 25 year old, so maybe they will get a warning when a 25 year old will get a ticket, but that’s discretion,” Bracker said.
Bracker says declined to comment on whether the Texas officer made the right decision or not, because that’s a different patrol and a different area.
He says for the most part, the officers in the Missouri Highway Patrol don’t carry tasers, but they do carry mace.
Bracker says he wouldn’t mace an elderly person unless it were an extreme situation.
“We don’t automatically draw the gun or draw the mace and say ‘This is what we want!’ We use our voice as a tool to calm the situation down. So, yeah, we are trained. We’re trained with verbal Judo. We’re trained with all kinds of situations. We have continual training, yearly training. Maybe we learn through other peoples’ mistakes, maybe we learn through our own mistakes sometimes,” Bracker said.
He says the Missouri Highway Patrol has to have probable cause to pull someone over, and that its officers don’t profile drivers.
Bracker says state troopers would like to go throughout their careers never having to draw their weapons.
For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.