Don’t Cuff in Front
Category: Law Enforcement
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for corrections and law enforcement officers, and it deals with safer handcuffing positioning.
How many cops and correctional officers have been hurt, or even killed, by someone who was handcuffed in the front? One is too many, and there have been a lot more than one.
Now, we’ve all seen it and you know what I’m about to say. How many times have you witnessed someone who is in custody, or who has just been arrested, handcuffed with their hands in front of their body? Just watch the evening news, and you’ll see plenty of “bad guys and girls” handcuffed in the front as they are escorted into the police station, the jail, or a courtroom. WHY?
If you’ve made the discretionary decision that someone needs to be handcuffed, then consider this; handcuffs are intended to restrict the movement of the hands and arms. So, if we’re going to use them, why in the world wouldn’t we use them as they’re designed? The hands are the most dangerous parts of our bodies if you think about it. How many cops and correctional officers have been hurt, or even killed, by someone who was handcuffed in the front? One is too many, and there have been a lot more than one.
Now, there are some exceptions such as the elderly and women who are known to be pregnant, or if you’re using supplemental restraints such as a black box, or a belly chain, which can restrict the range of motion of someone’s hands and arms. And, sure, you’re going to have those situations where you have someone who is large in stature and not all that flexible and they’re going to tell you that they can’t be cuffed in the back. In my experience, and that of thousands of cops and correctional officers, two pairs of cuffs hooked together behind the back will resolve that problem in most instances.
Whatever the case, know your agency’s policy and abide by it. You’ll know that when you decide to handcuff someone, there are likely few exceptions that would require handcuffing in the front. Otherwise, handcuff arrestees or inmates with their hands behind their backs.
And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.