On Watch: Tools of the Trade

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“On Watch” is a new column by HPD Officer Henry Strazytski. Henry is a 15 year veteran of the force, recently transferred in from Toledo, Ohio.  He will be covering crime and police reporting, explaining police work, and police Life.

Here is some information for everyone on  what a Police officer typically carries on his duty belt and what it is used for..

1) Sidearm & Ammunition – Most officers carry semi-automatic pistols, most commonly Glocks or 1911s. There are a few officers who still carry old style Double Action Revolvers.

2) Handcuffs – for restraining Suspects. Usually double-locking. Common models include some by ASP and Smith & Wesson.

3) OC Spray. OC (shorthand for Oleoresin Capsicum) is a chemical irritant derived from Cayenne  Pepper. It tends to cuase a burning sensation on skin, eyes, etc. Police Grade OC is usually 10%strength. It has a good street reputation for neutralizing drunks, druggies, and psychos.  Some brands are a mix of OC and CS ( 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile commonly called “tear gas”).

4) NSLD – aka “stun gun”. Typically work by causing pain and  neuro-musclar disruption, though they don’t always work. Examples of “T” failures include the Notorious Rodney King Incident in 1991- a LPD Sgt. Tried to stun King twice, and both times, he pulled out the barbs. Some people may be able to shake off the effects of a NLSD. Example here is a 2009 Incident in Okaloosa County, Florida. In that case, two OCSD deputies were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a National Guardsman who was charged with domestic violence. After he took the ride of the NLSD, he was able to draw a gun and kill both deputies. (For more information on the OCSD incident, see an issue  of American Handgunner. For more on the Rodney King incident, see Massad Ayoobs’ book “The Ayoob Files”).

5) Search Gloves – special gloves designed to protect against needles and razor blades when searching a suspect.

6) Radio

7) Exam gloves – for dealing with medical situations: sick people, wounded, bleeding etc, and for crime scenes to avoid contamination.

8) Body armor – generally made of Kevlar. Designed to stop pistol bullets and give protection , dependng on level of protection and type against knives. May be supplemented with trauma plates for additional protection against heavier ballistic threats

9) Baton – many different types. Examples are the side handled Monadock PR-24 and the telescoping ASP. The ASP is the most common one carried by the HPD.  Designed to deliver blows. Most have a program of wrist drags and Armlocks to make the use of a baton more effective. See the article in the above mentioned book by Massad Ayoob for more on such uses.

Special Gear: most of this is rarely seen , though occasionally we do use it in HPD.

1) FNH 303 Nonlethal Device – a device for shooting rounds of indelible dye, or of OC by compressed air or CO2. Designed as a means of dealing with violent suspects and riot/crowd control.

2) Beanbag & Rubber – buckshot rounds for shotgun. Nonlethal rounds for shotguns, designed for violent and psychotic suspects and riot control.

3) Stungun/Mossberg X12 Shotgun – a joint effort by the two makers to develop an extended range NSLD. Its a specially modified Mossberg 500 shotgun with a miniaturised stungun stuffed into a modified shotgun shell.

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