Police chief of Alachua gets a shock to his system


Published: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 12:01 a.m.

Alachua Police Chief Robert Jernigan got zapped with an electronic Taser weapon Monday during officer training, but no one got in trouble.

Jernigan knew full well he was going to get jolted - it was part of a demonstration of the 22 new Tasers the department recently purchased.

"I wouldn't want to go through that again. But I didn't say a single cuss word - I did good," Jernigan said before Monday night's Alachua City Commission meeting. "I didn't bring it here tonight because I don't want to have to use it on anybody."

Tasers disable people by hitting them with an electrical charge. While they are considered nonlethal, critics of the device say some suspects have died after being shot with Tasers.

The city bought Tasers for each of the 19 officers, as well as a few extras. They were tested and demonstrated Monday.

  • ACCIDENTAL 911 CALLS: One false move can lead to accidental 911 calls, authorities are finding out.

    With many cell phones preprogrammed so that the touch of one button dials 911, people are unintentionally dialing the emergency number when they bump against the button while the phone is in their pocket or purse, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

    The FCC has sent out a notice that between 25 percent and 70 percent of all wireless calls to 911 are accidental.

    "If there's a 911 call-taker whose taking a call that's not an emergency, that could keep them from a call that is an emergency," said Linda White, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

    Cell phone users can turn off the auto dial feature. And on Jan. 1 of this year, all handsets certified by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association - a trade association for the wireless industry - will not be factory programmed to dial 911, according to the FCC.

  • SPEAKING OF 911: The Alachua County Sheriff's Office needs people to take 911 calls, White said.

    The salary starts at $21,768 and includes health insurance, Florida state retirement and paid vacation.

    For more information on telecommunicator positions, call the human resource department at 367-4040.

  • A FEW GOOD FIREFIGHTERS: Gainesville Fire Rescue also is looking for new people.

    Because of promotions and retirements, the agency is planning to hire at least 12 firefighters this year.

    An open house will take place this weekend for those who may want to apply. Participants will receive an orientation, learn about the hiring process, how to apply and what career options are available in the fire service.

    Two sessions will take place Saturday at the GFR Training Bureau, 1026 NE 14th St. One is set from 9 to 11 a.m. and the other from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    Reservations are not required.

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