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American COP Jan/Feb 2012 Digital Edition - Page 48

Knives P 48 and POlice We’re betting your agency specifies which firearms you can carry. Do they do the same for utility and defensive knives? Probably not. Offensive WeaPOns OR simPly TOOls? olice agencies need edged weapons training as part of their liability production for departments and individual officers. Training should cover not only the obvious officer safety issues, but also the proper use of knives in emergency situations and daily utility use. Agencies should consider issuing or sanctioning knives that have been approved for safety and performance, and don’t have a “weaponized” appearance. And all of this needs to be defensible in court through policies and procedures. Every agency is faced with the same dilemma; most officers carry a knife of some type while on-duty, yet most departments don’t have any policy or requirements for what’s carried (or issued), and no training in proper safe usage or protocol for use of the knife. Is this a liability? You bet it is. If an officer uses a knife in an emergency rescue and accidentally cuts or even nicks a victim, you can count on a lawsuit. Agencies have extensive firearms training and policies for their use, so there should be at least some liability protection in place for the use of knives. With the proliferation of knives and other edged weapons available and in the hands of so many, the likelihood of an officer encountering an attack Benchmade’s 915 Triage Folder combines the knife and tool concept, and offers a glass breaker and cutting hook — clearly fitting well into the category of “emergency tool” rather than fighting knife. ernest R. emerson with such a weapon is higher than it has been. Do you need edged weapons training? Yes, but you don’t need to learn to fight with a knife. And there’s the fundamental flaw in the way many edged weapons programs are taught to WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2012

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