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Citizens Police Academy: Week 7

by Paul Saulnier
May 14, 2014

Cuffed the Easy or the Hard Way

Officers Michael Woods and Ken Belson lead the night's discussion on the topic of suspect detention and possible arrest.

Sergeant Matt Waugh introduced Woods and Belson, the newest members of the police force who both are currently on the night shift. Officer Woods started in the Auxilliary Police with no intentions of becoming a full time officer. He owns and operates a martial arts school on Woodland Street (Next Generation Martial Arts) where the session was held. Officer Belson in addition to his regular police duties, is trained in the Rape Aggression Defense program led by Detective Ciara Maguire Ryan (see article on domestic violence:

Class began in the basement of Next Generation Martial Arts where the officers discussed the fine art of putting hand cuffs on a suspect without incident. But first Officer Belson displayed the typical belt wore by officers and the items it contains.

The old Billy Club is now a collapsible stick that looks more like a monopod for a camera when extended to its full length of almost three feet. It can be used to deflect blows from a suspect, whack or poke a suspect or shoved between the body and a folded arm to free the arm for cuffing.

Cuffs currently come in two forms. One with a hinge between cuffs, like the one in the foreground below preferred by Officer Woods or with a chain between cuffs, like the one in the background preferred by Officer Belson. Every cadet is given the chain type upon graduating. After that officers have to buy them themselves.

The proper (and safe) way to cuff a suspect was demonstrated by the officers:

Turn around, lean forward, put your hands behind your back with your thumbs up.

If approaching from the left, the officer will instruct the suspect to look to the right. This prevents the suspect from knowing the exact location of the officer which helps prevent the suspect from turning on the officer at the last second. Officers often insert a finger between the wrist and the cuffs to prevent the cuffs from clamping on too tight.

Removal of the cuffs can also be a tense moment for officers so a system is followed. The suspect is told to put the first free hand on top his his head as the officer pulls the other arm back away from the suspect, thus keeping a safe distance and discouraging thoughts of attack and escape by the suspect.

Any class member who wanted to cuff a fellow classmate got the opportunity to so do.

The class then moved to the second floor to learn about how a reluctant suspect is subdued and cuffed. For officers dealing with an uncooperative suspect this can be a serious situation these days with so many people strung out on drugs. Officers are provided with extensive training on how to deal with a suspect: expect the worst case.

Officers will often explain to a suspect that the officer needs to cuff the suspect for the protection of both.

Above, Sergeant Waugh teaches a student how to put the cuffs on a desperate criminal before performing a full body search. The first question: Do you have anything in your pockets that could stick or cut me?

Kiel found a knife and a gun but missed a second knife in the suspect's sock.

Kiel then became the suspect and was searched by classmate Martha, who made sure she did not leave any weapons hidden anywhere on the suspect.

To demonstrate what happens to a suspect who resists an approaching officer, the students stepped aside and the the two officers subdued each other...

But Office Woods couldn't resist getting Kiel back out on the floor for a little more "hands on" training.

It is amazing how a well trained officer can immobilize a suspect in a split second with just a few moves.


Posted in Police/Fire.

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