For three years, the corporate foundation for Taser, the nation’s largest maker of stun guns, has donated thousands of dollars to the families of police officers killed in the line of duty. USA Today says that this year, as police deaths have jumped nearly 30 percent, the foundation is holding a charity Las Vegas poker tournament featuring Playboy Bunnies. Tomorrow’s tournament at the Palms Casino Resort is being promoted as “Beauty and the Bet.” A law-enforcement survivors group said the event threatens to sully the goal of honoring the memory of fallen officers. “While the Taser Foundation is doing a very nice thing to financially support the surviving families of fallen officers, it would be our hope that they would conduct their fundraising in a manner that could not sully their mission,” said Suzie Sawyer of the Missouri-based Concerns of Police Survivors.
Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said the foundation has sponsored three prior charity poker tournaments, all of which have proven to be the “most successful” fundraisers for the officers’ families. The Taser Foundation has supported close to 500 families of fallen officers with more than $1.7 million. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which maintains a memorial to fallen officers in Washington, D.C., has received $100,000 from Taser to support the memorial and $100,000 to support a plan for a law enforcement museum slated to open in 2011.