POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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POLICEMAG.COM 25 prying tools while he was a SWAT officer for "light breaching." But when he switched to working narcotics, he found he need- ed a knife that actually worked as a cutting tool to slice open bags and other drug packaging. He ended up replacing all the knives he'd used on duty in the past. Uniformed officers often use knives as rescue tools for acci- dents and medical emergencies. For these purposes, a carbide tip for breaking windows is popular. It can be used to get an injured person out of a crashed car as well as to remove an of- fender from a vehicle. A blade that can make easy work of the fibrous material of a seat belt is also important for rescue work. Officers who want a knife specifically for rescues often prefer a blunt sheepfoot blade to safely cut and remove seat belts or clothing from people without cutting the wearers. It's common for officers to carry several different knives, and possibly a multi-tool, to serve different purposes. "ere really is no one-trick pony for [law enforcement work]," Cabrera says. A KNIFE AS A WEAPON Carrying a knife for use as a weapon on duty can be a tricky subject. Many agencies don't allow officers to carry knives on duty for use as deadly force weapons. And they may or may not provide training for defensive tactics using knives depending on their policies. "From a utilitarian point of view, a folding knife has a little bit more clout, if they want to write it into their protocols without it seeming too ominous," says Cabrera. "Most municipalities are looking at what looks good to the public." However, as far as what works best to fight and survive, Cabrera recommends a fixed blade for use as a weapon. It's easily deployed and not prone to breaking because of its simple, solid construction. Undercover officers often can't carry handguns with them so they prefer folding knives for use as a weapon if needed. Many people carry them, not just police officers, so it shouldn't throw up any red flags. As Janich observes, many officers purchase a knife with the intention of using it to prevent a gun grab. But most don't train to effectively use it in that capacity. "ey'll look for a knife that they can carry comfortably on their lefthand side simply because they think that's what they should be doing, whether they have the skills to back it up or not," Janich says. Instead, he advises purchasing a knife for what you'll really use it for. With that said, there are officers who have successfully used their knives to save their lives in deadly confrontations. An offi- cer who was handcuffing a suspect had only gotten one cuff on him when the suspect swung his hand and hit the officer with the handcuffs. "e guy went after his gun, and the officer drew his knife and used it to kill the suspect," Janich shares. For this reason, Janich wants to remind officers that which- ever knife you choose to carry, it's imperative to always train the way you're going to use it. KEEPING IT SIMPLE Officers prefer different knives based on their assignment, training, and agency policies, but most are looking to meet the same needs. "In my experience, officers like small, discreet knives; something that's going to quickly attach to their duty belt and not attract any attention," says Cabrera. Beyond that, it's a matter of finding the best fit for individual circumstances. "Look for the best quality they can reasonably afford, and make the most educated choice they can," advises Janich. R E A D I N E S S S U I T E Learn more: envisagenow.com/solutions

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