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Sharp Edge of the Badge

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 37 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2010 Pages: 22,24,28
Jonathan Kozlowski
Date Published
May 2010
6 pages
Various experts in knife design, features, and use in law enforcement discuss factors that should be considered when an officer selects a knife to be carried in his/her work.
In selecting a knife for use in law enforcement, not just any knife will do. Factors an officer should determine before selecting a knife are how it is going to be used, how it will be held, and where it will be carried when not in use. In determining how a knife will be used, a new officer should ask veteran officers about how they have used their knives in the course of their jobs and the knife features that facilitate the most likely law enforcement uses. Some knife uses by law enforcement officers include for rescue (e.g., cutting a person loose from a seatbelt in a vehicle accident); for defense against a person trying to take an officer's firearm from its holster; and as a backup weapon when other weapon options are not available or are inappropriate. For defensive use, an officer should make sure that a folding knife has a mechanical structure that is adequate and that it can be deployed quickly and easily. Some officers may choose to carry both a folded and fixed knife for different purposes. The knife design not only pertains to use, but also how and where the officer will carry the knife, i.e., tip up or down, on the strong or weak side (according to whether the officer is right-handed or left-handed), and whether above or below the waist. How knife design and use influence these decisions is discussed in this article. Also, officers must be provided structured training in using their knives for various purposes and in various contexts most likely to be encountered in their work.


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