When do you have your weapon and flashlight out while on duty??
Posted on December 27 2015
Recently I did some research into when and how often officers draw their duty weapon during the course of their shift. What I found was that there were three (3) factors that affected the results: the type of assignment the officer had, the type of area the officer was working and the time of day the officer was working.
However, all through my research the one thing that remained constant was WHEN (for what reason) officers drew their weapons. Overwhelmingly the times when officers drew their weapons were as follows:
1. When the officer encountered a threat and felt that deadly force may be required to stop the threat in order to protect his or her life or the lives of others.
2. When a subject was not complying with an officer's commands and the weapon was drawn for the purpose of "constructive authority" which is allowed as per the Attorney General's guidelines.
3. When clearing a building/area in which a suspect was believed to be.
Of the above three (3) scenarios the most common one for "most" officers would be #3. This is something that many officers do....sometimes a few times per shift while working nights. You get a call for an open door at a home or business and you need to clear the building prior to securing it. And when it comes to working at night, this brings us to another tool commonly used by police officers working the night shift....their flashlight.
Most officers carry a flashlight on them at all times. Even if you're working dayshift you never know when you are going to enter a building, basement or attic which has no light. Therefore it's imperative to always have some sort of light on you while on patrol. And when it comes to working the night shift, having a flashlight on you at all times is a given. Some officers are even known to carry two flashlights....a primary and a backup. Why? Because if you've ever been in a situation at night when your flashlight goes dead....it absolutely sucks. It can also be a scary situation in which your safety could be compromised as well.
When doing some basic research into when officers utilized their flashlights at night the responses were pretty much the same across the board: MV Stops, building clearings, and even just speaking to a subject on the side of the road. For the most part officers working the night shift used a flashlight ALL THE TIME no matter what it was they were doing.
Now let's merge the above two topics for a minute and discuss when an officer would need their weapon and flashlight out. My research found that during the three situations in which officers most often draw their weapons (listed above) their flashlights would be in use as well. Of course during building clearing you would want to use good tactics and only actuate your flashlight momentarily here and there so as not to give up your position and become a target.
But what about the rest of the time?? What about ALL that you do on the night shift when you DO NOT have your weapon out?? These are ALL the instances on the night shift that you need and would have your flashlight in use but WOULD NOT have your weapon out. Some examples would be: MV Stops, checking the exterior of homes/businesses (residential and business checks), speaking to a subject(s) roadside, searching a subject's person for weapons/drugs, searching a vehicle for weapons/drugs, handcuffing a subject. Would you agree that these are all examples of situations that you WOULD NOT have your weapon out? So when in one of the aforementioned scenarios how comfortable is it to have a flashlight in your hand while conducting such activities?
I, for one, can't stand having a flashlight in my hand while searching a subject. I see some officers tuck their flashlight under there arm while searching a subject while others put their flashlight away altogether (back on their belt, etc.). But many officers report "liking" to have a light out while searching a person so they may illuminate the inside of pockets. And when it comes to searching a vehicle having a flashlight helps to illuminate under and between car seats and any other tight spaces in which drugs and/or weapons could be hidden.
When it comes to handcuffing most officers, once again, either tuck their flashlight under their arm or put it away in a pocket or on their duty belt. However many officers "like" having light on a subject while handcuffing them. If a struggle ensues while handcuffing a subject it's nice to have illumination. And if your light is tucked under your arm it will most likely be on the ground before you know it. Having your light stashed in your pocket or back on your duty belt won't do you much good in this scenario either.
Up until now officers have simply had to deal with the nuances and dangers of these scenarios as an inherent part of the job. But fortunately a product was recently invented by a police officer which finally helps officers take care of this concern for safety and tactical lighting. The product is The Exxtremity Glove by 221B Tactical.
The Exxtremity Glove is the first and only tool of its kind. It allows for full use of BOTH hands while on the job (or conducting any activity for that matter). The high-powered light on The Exxtremity Glove can be mounted on the back of either hand using a patented attachment system. And an optional pressure pad can be inserted into the glove allowing for "true" one-handed operation.
The Exxtremity Glove can be actuated via a multi-function switch on the back of the light which allows for momentary as well as full lighting. And a double tap of the pressure pad or the main switch on the light activates a powerful strobe feature. This strobe can not only temporarily blind a subject but can also be used as an officer safety tool while directing traffic in the dark or while walking back to your patrol car.
Now you can safely and confidently search a subject, search a vehicle, search the perimeter of a structure, handcuff a subject and do much more with The Exxtremity Glove.
Something for police officers specifically to know is that The Exxtremity Glove is NOT for use in situations in which you would have your weapon drawn. Although it can be used in these situations if you DO NOT have a weapon-mounted light OR if you simply hate having to hold a flashlight in your off hand while you have your weapon drawn....something I personally can't stand! We are all "better" at shooting with BOTH hands on our weapon as opposed to one.
Roughly 80% of police departments nationwide DO NOT have/allow weapon-mounted lights. The reasons for this are many. However my research found that the number one concern around authorizing weapon-mounted lights is the potential "improper use" of the light. To put it simply....they didn't want their officers "using their gun as their flashlight."
But once again, The Exxtremity Glove is NOT just for shooting situations. Its primary uses are for the aforementioned scenarios in which one would NOT have their weapon drawn. Once again, these are: MV Stops, checking the exterior of homes/businesses (residential and business checks), speaking to a subject(s) roadside, searching a subject's person for weapons/drugs, searching a vehicle for weapons/drugs, handcuffing a subject.
Officers around the country are using The Exxtremity Glove and have instantly realized its value and relevance. However many outside law enforcement have recognized the benefits of The Exxtremity Glove as well. Paramedics, EMTs, HVAC technicians, mechanics, dog walkers, limo drivers, runners and many others have all of discovered the benefits of having BOTH hands free from holding a flashlight while performing their duties/activities.
Does it take some getting used to? Of course! But just like with any radical innovation there is a learning and acclimation period while using this product. However, the reports are unanimous across the board...."once you get used to it you'll never go back to holding a flashlight in your hand EVER again!"
How much SAFER and efficient would YOU be with a powerful flashlight beautifully and ergonomically attached to your hand, keeping both hands free to use, opposed to having to work around having a flashlight in your hands? Think about it.... The Exxtremity Glove