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American COP March/April 2011 Digital Edition - Page 46
KIcK ‘Em In ThE KnEEs n recent years we’ve spent an awful lot of time focusing on the use of ECDs as a viable less-lethal option within the use of force continuum. While ECDs are great to have in our bag of tricks, in our zest to bang the drum for high-tech gadgetry we’ve almost turned our backs on impact weapons. And it’s easy to slip comfortably into a frame of mind, a comfy set of regulations and “if this, then that” rules, allowing us to believe — falsely — technology will bail our sorry asses out of anything. Because it won’t. Remember, we successfully blew up two space shuttles, arguably the most over-engineered pieces of technology in existence. How might this relate to the $500 piece of technology on your duty belt you’ve come to rely upon to save your butt? It’s actually very easy to understand. That bit of high-tech will probably work, more than likely save our bacon and will take down the bad guy. Except when it doesn’t. suzi Huntington WhacK‘Em In ThE . I This combo pack keeps things readily available and with you. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes When I first joined in 1985, my agency had recently begun issuing PR24 batons; the older cops fondly remembered carrying “straight” sticks and saps. Yup, I’m not even sure those pockets just under your wallet pocket on the back of your pants is still called a sap pocket; I think they 46 No, he’s not demonstrating cop disco moves; he’s showing the proper technique to snap open an expandable baton. If you don’t do it right, you run the risk of it collapsing when you need it most. call ‘em flashlight pockets — whatever. The old guys would say, “Not many problems you can’t solve with an oak straight baton,” looking skeptically upon the “new fangled” baton of my generation. And they were probably right. Until political correctness came into play, a talented cop could wield 24" piece of oak like a symphony conductor and solve virtually any problem at hand. Sometimes the suspect came away with a lump or bump, but nobody got seriously hurt — usually. And there were no batteries to die, no modules to replace, no holsters to carry, just a simple bit of low-tech that bailed hundreds of thousands of cops out of hot water. So what. So what? So what we’ve essentially lost a keystone of police training today in many areas? So what we’ve become slaves to battery packs and technology to save us? So what we’re losing a real-world skill, the ability to protect ourselves simply, with impact weapons that should always be at-hand, and don’t go bad since there are no batteries to die? This loss of basic police skill, at many levels, may be leading us down a rocky road. What if you pull both triggers on your zippy-zapper and the threat still looms? Have you trained enough? Do you even have an impact weapon on your belt — all the time? It’s like turning the car ignition key and nothing happens. Now what? Push? Call for help? Hope someone else is there to help you? What if nobody else is there to help? Options All is not lost, though. If your agency is relying more and more on hight-tech to WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • MARCH/APRIL 2011