By Connor Roe, Summer Associate
Recently a 60 Minutes show discussed the history of the Taser. During the
show, the host, David Martin, cited an expert who spoke about “Lazy
Cop Syndrome”. It’s an interesting theory that states cops are
more likely to tase a difficult suspect rather than use the skills they
learned in training to subdue them. A perfect example of this would be
the University of Florida taser incident. You may know it as the “Don’t
Tase Me Bro!” video on Youtube. In that video (that went viral quickly
after it was posted), a student was being disruptive during a speech given
at the school by John Kerry. Numerous cops dragged him out of the auditorium.
If you’ve seen the video then you know this is when the student shouts
his famous line, “Don’t tase me bro!” You’ll then hear
the sound of a taser and cries of pains. Now the student was being unruly,
I can’t argue against that. But can anyone say that the only way SIX
COPS could subdue him was to tase him? I highly doubt there was one officer
in the auditorium who couldn’t take him one on one. I would even venture
to guess that there’s not a single cop in this country that couldn’t
take this teenager on. So why break out the taser? Lazy Cop Syndrome.
It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. People want
to be successful without being stressed. More work equals more stress.
The path of least resistance may result in success without the stress.
The cops could have wrestled him into cuffs or dragged him out by force.
They could’ve even spent time talking him down into a reasonable state
of mind. The officers were taught all of these skills in the academy.
But they were also issued a high-tech device that quickly subdues any
suspect with little to no serious harm to any party involved. Needless
to say, they took the path of least resistance and tased him.
However, technology could also be the solution to this new problem. As
more and more police cruisers are being outfitted with cameras, officers
are feeling more and more like they’re constantly under review. Imagine
if a camera was installed that watched you while you worked. Would you
be as inclined to make personal calls, play solitaire, or take long lunch
breaks? Of course not! When people are videotaped working, they work harder.
In fact, this too goes back to human nature. People perform better when
they’re on camera. People are survivalistic. We will work harder in
order to ensure our jobs are not at risk if the video tape is reviewed.
A study was conducted in which many cops were interviewed after cameras
were installed in their cruisers. Some officers even stated that they
felt as if they were performing for the camera when they pulled someone
over. Also in the interviews, a majority of the cops reported an increase
in their professionalism and their performance. And it all makes sense.
You never see the officers on the TV show “Cops” unjustly beating
up on a person that didn’t have it coming. Cameras keep everyone accountable
for their actions. Suspects included.
As more cops are having cruiser cams installed in their patrol cars, it
is likely that their will be fewer and fewer cases of Lazy Cop Syndrome.