How many police officers do we have to lose to poor prisoner searches before people start taking this seriously? All too often I read about the grieving family of a police officer who was killed by a prisoner who had a concealed weapon and/or handcuff key on their person.
Mobile, AL – February 2012
A Mobile police officer was killed after the robbery suspect he was transporting used a handcuff key to remove his restraints and produced a three-inch knife to stab the officer multiple times. The suspect then escaped with the dead officer’s firearm and shot another police officer.
The violent felon (with prior felony arrests) went through the hands of multiple police officers before being transported to the local jail by the murdered officer. How many times was the suspect searched after the initial arrest? I’m guessing none.
Why did this prisoner still have his personal property? It is frequently a good idea to remove all property from the prisoner prior to transport. This helps you in making sure that you found and removed everything. It also removes anything from the prisoner that can be used as a weapon, even if you don’t recognize it as such.
Take a close look at this news video. Watch the suspect’s hands while he is being walked out to the patrol car.
Even if you can’t remove everything from the prisoner while on the scene, certainly you can if you transport the suspect to the precinct to be interviewed by detectives or for processing. From the video, it appears the suspect was at a police facility prior to the officer’s final, fatal trip to the jail.
Hidden Keys, Covert Weapons
What did that necklace contain? I suspect it held a handcuff key that he used to remove his restraints. According to the suspect’s step-father, the suspect learned to make jewelry at a local community college. However, all types of knives, handcuff keys and other contraband can be hidden in or on a necklace.
For example, take a few of these items that I found on Amazon with just a few seconds of searching:
- Non-Metallic, Covert, Hide-Out Handcuff Key
- Universal Handcuff Shim Pick
- Zipper Pull Hidden Handcuff Key
- Non-Metallic, Covert, Hide-Out Zipper Pull Handcuff Key
- Dragon Head Necklace Dagger
- Cross Necklace Hidden Knife
I have also previously reported on products like the ArchPort concealment shoes.
We have to take – very seriously – the searches of prisoners we perform. Our very lives depend on how we conduct searches.
Police search articles:
- Your Partner Searched Him, So Should You
- Police Search Refresher
- Be Wary of the “Minor” Crimes
- Please Conduct Good Searches and Skip McDonald’s