While seasoned criminals often need harsh and extended punishment as a means of correcting behavior, sometimes one experience is enough to help someone see the error of their ways.
In December, 21 year old Anthony J. Danser was sleeping off a night of hard drinking in gazebo when Officer Julianna Trunko arrived at the scene. Smelling alcohol, Officer Trunko found a nearby open container. After checking his pulse to make sure Danser was simply passed out, an ambulance driver arrived at the scene to assist Trunko in handcuffing and transporting Danser to somewhere safe.
Without warning, Danser suddenly struck officer Trunko, leading to a swollen eye but no other injuries. He was arrested and taken into custody, and later pled guilty to attempted assault on a police officer.
While assaulting an officer is a serious offense that typically leads to prison or a jail sentence, Judge Jim Conway instead assigned him to three years of probation instead. Conway believed that Danser’s situation was not likely to recur.
Since the incident, Danser’s life has improved dramatically. He has written an apology letter to officer Trunko, which Judge Conway thinks might be one of the best he has ever seen. Danser attends weekly AA meetings, and has even secured full time employment.
For the first 60 days of his probation, Danser will be confined to house arrest and only allowed to leave for his job and his pregnant fiance’s appointments. There is a discretionary 90 day sentence that could be applied as well by Danser’s probation officer, but, considering the positive changes that he has already made, that seems unlikely.
In Danser’s case, and others like his, sometimes a probation sentence is the wake up call they need to turn things around.