In the hands of a well-trained law enforcement officer, no non-lethal-force tool has the precision or intimidation factor as a baton. Correctional officers and anti-riot police task forces are routinely put in tough situations in which unarmed, but highly aggressive perpetrators are engaged in close quarters. In many cases, officers are hesitant to deploy an electronic control weapon (ECW), either because of imminent contact or policy mandates.
Pepper sprays can be difficult to control due to wind or close proximity, and are not always effective. Some suspects are enraged rather than cowed by sprays and that only serves to intensify a confrontation. For those reasons, officers would be wise to hone their skills and make the Baton their go-to defense tool when dealing with unarmed subjects or protestors.
Evolution of Police Batons
Early batons were a little more than a type of firm blunt force instrument that put law enforcement on equal footing with unruly citizens. Some were specifically designed for security officers in restaurant establishments or other local gathering spots around town. Some batons were nothing more than an ax handle. Regardless of the design, or lack of, batons served as an equalizer in physical confrontations between authority and the common people.
During the Victorian Era, officers took a sense of pride when mastering “Billy Club” techniques. English officers carried batons with the Royal Coat of Arms to note they served the Crown. Some went as far as to decorate them with their family crest. But clashes during the 1960s Civil Rights marches caused a backlash against the use of batons.
The baton evolved and was rebranded in the 1970s. It was called a Tonfa baton. The “Y” gap on the short-side of the defense tool allowed officers to use leveraged force to make criminals comply during arrests. However, it was misused by many and was replaced by other, safer, models. By the end of the decade, expandable batons emerged as an ultra-lightweight defensive tool. But the modern baton is more than a blunt-force instrument or equalizer.
Why Batons Are Used In Correctional Facilities
The baton may be the most determined intermediate, self-defense, and control item in a police officer tool kit. In correctional facilities, it is very possible that an inmate or a group of inmates attempts to cause harm or pain to a correctional officer or another inmate. When an inmate decides to get out of order, a baton allows them to safely and securely move the inmate to a wall, and to put them into handcuffs if necessary. With the baton, the officer will not need to apply blunt force, instead, they need to skillfully and securely push the inmate up against a wall or door to help guide them into their next position.
Batons Are Multi-Purpose Defense Tool
An aggressive inmate may attempt to pick up a stick or another object in a correctional facility. When this happens, a skilled officer will need to learn the best practices and techniques to master authority in unruly situations. These are techniques officers will learn and use when handling a baton in a correctional setting:
- Baton Strikes: Officers target appropriate body areas in accordance with the threat level they encounter. A secure strike is usually delivered by a downward motion with the top of the instrument making contact. This technique tends to be the most effective because the side of the tool harnesses less force, and the tip may glance off.
- Low Strikes: Using the same downward force motion, lower extremity strikes are generally intended to impact leg muscle groups and weaken the aggressor’s mobility. They tend to be painful and that, in itself, may serve to subdue a suspect.
- Defense Against Edged Weapons: When a perpetrator produces an edged weapon in close quarters, officers are advised to create distance before drawing a sidearm. While the situation may call for deadly force, the baton can be utilized to quickly impact the wrist or arm, resulting in the suspect dropping the weapon.
- Defensive Blocks: An unarmed aggressor could very well have hand-to-hand fighting skills. Those with a background in boxing or martial arts pose a heightened risk. The baton can be used to deliver a painful block to kicks and punches.
Police officers continue to use batons as standard gear so they don’t rely on deadly force during violent confrontations.
Law Enforcement Can Rely On Haven Gear Batons
By recognizing that an officer’s baton continues to serve as a leading non-lethal defense tool, Haven Gear is proud to offer a 34-inch and 28-inch Anti-Riot Baton. Short batons can be utilized as an accessory with protective patrol gear, as the longer baton is strategically designed for civil unrest and well-suited for use when front lines officers need to adorn full riot suits. Each size can also be used in multiple correctional situations. Both products are crafted with durable but lightweight polycarbonate and an accompanying lanyard. For more information about riot suits and accessories such as batons, visit Haven Gear and fill out a form today.