Mystery...Suspense...Sci Fi...Romance... The joy of writing fiction - meeting new people in places that don't yet exist.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Handcuffing and Arrest Techniques from the WPA
As promised, here's a little of what I learned at the Writers' Police Academy. This session was on Handcuffing and Arrest Techniques, with instructors Stan Lawhorne and Dee Jackson.
The first objective with dealing with a violent suspect is to secure him/her. Stan and Dee demonstrated a number of hand to hand takedown procedures but this is not the preffered method.
Ideally, the officer will be able to order to suspect to lay facedown, arms spread, palms up. (Dee entertained us at this point with a number of the excuses they get for refusing to lay down, including, "Hey, that ground's all wet. I ain't laying in no puddle.")
The office then approaches the suspect, kneels down and applies the weight of one knee to the suspect's shoulder - not the neck or the side (ribcage area) where the weight could cause injury. The officer applies the handcuff to the near arm first and orders to the suspect to raise his/her other arms. If the suspect is uncooperative at this point, the officer is in the best postion to lean across the suspect and grab the other arm without losing control.
Believe it or not, most handcuff keys are interchangable. A handcuff key is simply a small rod with a "nipple" on the end. This is a standard universal handcuff key.
Most handcuff manufacturers provide this type of key with a new pair of cuffs. Stan explained that these keys are small and can be difficult to work with in the field so many officers purchase keys with a larger grip surface (below - bottom) or a key holder into which a small key can be inserted (below - top).
Since handcuff keys are universal, they are very easy to purchase and not that hard to make. Thus, officers have to assume many of the people they need to cuff will have their own key. This is one of the reasons hands are cuffed behind the suspect's back. The correct position for handcuffing is with the palms facing out and the lock opening facing upward to make it impossible for the suspect to pick the lock.
The most common types of handcuffs are chain and hinged.
Although the chain variety are easier to carry, the hinged provide better security (less flexibility to the wearer).
The cuff circle is made up off a fixed wider side (the dark side in the picture below) and a moving narrow side (the lighter side). Cuffs are not opened to apply to the wrist. The narrow side is slapped against the wrist with enough force to push it through the opening in the wider side and it will swing full cirle and come back into the locked position around the wrist.
Because the lock is a simple rachet style, it will continue to get tighter as pressure is applied. To prevent the cuff from getting tight enough to cause injury - either through struggle or deliberately by the suspect in an attempt to have the cuffs removed - most cuffs now have a double lock that can be applied to fix them in place.
Okay, that's today's lesson on handcuffing and arrest techniques. Any questions?
Groaner of the day: Is an FBI sketch artist a bureau drawer?