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Concealed Scissors during Felony Warrant Arrest

Event Summary

I was assisting another officer who heard a woman screaming for help under a bridge where transients are known to frequent. A male and female were contacted. Both were cooperative and provided their information. Investigation revealed that no crime occurred. The male placed his hands into his front pockets as he approached me. He complied with a request to remove them. However, he placed his hands behind his back. He kept his hands behind his back and out of view while I spoke to him for about three to five minutes.

Dispatch advised by radio that the male had a felony warrant for his arrest. My partner was listening to the information channel and also heard this information. She walked towards me in preparation to assist me in detaining the male. We took control of his wrists and applied handcuffs with his hands behind his back. He was compliant and there was no incident. This all happened quickly and efficiently. I observed a large pair of sharp pointed scissors in the male subject’s rear pants pocket. The scissors were pointed up and easily accessible. The male subject’s hands were near those scissors the entire time that I was speaking with him. Earlier while speaking to the man, I was thinking to myself, “I need to tell him to keep his hands where I can see them.” Why didn’t I? Was I complacent? Was I disarmed by his appearance of wanting to be cooperative? The male could have easily taken the scissors and used them to assault me. I was standing only a few feet in front of him. An assault would have likely ended in serious injury, if not death. Maybe he never intended to assault me. Maybe he was put off by the second officer and how quickly we both detained him. What if I was alone? What if the conversation had been drawn out longer? I will handle this situation differently next time.

 

Lessons Learned

  • Subjects carry weapons in their rear pockets.
  • Don’t become complacent with persons that appear to be non-threatening.
  • Always keep your guard up, especially in this type of setting.
Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):
  • Always ask subjects to keep their hands where you can see them.
  • When appropriate, re-position yourself to scan the rear waist-band area.
  • Always ask a person if they have any weapons on them.

 

Full Report

Concealed Scissors during Felony Warrant Arrest

 

 

Employer Information

Type of Law Enforcement Agency: Police Department – City, town, or village

Agency Size: 250 – 499 Sworn Officers

Approximate Population Served: 100,000 – 499,999

Region of Country: West – Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, UT, NV, WY)

 

Involved Person Information

Duty Assignment: Sworn – Specialty Unit

Was the involved person a supervisor? No

Years of Experience: More than 5, but less than 7

Age: 26 – 30

Sex: Male

Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino

Race:

  • White

 

Incident Information

Type of call/activity officer was responding to or engaged in: Domestic Disturbance/Dispute

Incident initiated by: Self-initiated/Observed

Classify the incident: Almost resulted in officer injury or fatality

Date of Incident: July 2017

Initial assessment of call:

  • Felt prepared
  • Thought it would be routine

Dispatch provide accurate incident description? N/A

Number of officers on scene at time of incident: 2

Did the incident involve a pursuit? No

Incident Summary:

I was assisting another officer who heard a woman screaming for help under a bridge where transients are known to frequent. A male and female were contacted. Both were cooperative and provided their information. Investigation revealed that no crime occurred. The male placed his hands into his front pockets as he approached me. He complied with a request to remove them. However, he placed his hands behind his back. He kept his hands behind his back and out of view while I spoke to him for about three to five minutes.

Dispatch advised by radio that the male had a felony warrant for his arrest. My partner was listening to the information channel and also heard this information. She walked towards me in preparation to assist me in detaining the male. We took control of his wrists and applied handcuffs with his hands behind his back. He was compliant and there was no incident. This all happened quickly and efficiently. I observed a large pair of sharp pointed scissors in the male subject’s rear pants pocket. The scissors were pointed up and easily accessible. The male subject’s hands were near those scissors the entire time that I was speaking with him. Earlier while speaking to the man, I was thinking to myself, “I need to tell him to keep his hands where I can see them.” Why didn’t I? Was I complacent? Was I disarmed by his appearance of wanting to be cooperative? The male could have easily taken the scissors and used them to assault me. I was standing only a few feet in front of him. An assault would have likely ended in serious injury, if not death. Maybe he never intended to assault me. Maybe he was put off by the second officer and how quickly we both detained him. What if I was alone? What if the conversation had been drawn out longer? I will handle this situation differently next time.

 

Environment Factors

Did the incident occur indoors or outdoors? Outdoors

What type of location was this? Road/Street/Highway

Was the involved officer aware of previous calls or incidents at this location? Yes

Did dispatch provide accurate information on the location? N/A

Lighting conditions at location: Daylight

Was there inclement weather? Yes, but it did not contribute to the incident.

 

Subject Information

Number of Subjects Encountered: 2

Did subjects have known criminal history? No

Did the subjects have any weapons? Yes – Edged Weapon

Were the subjects under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Yes

Did the subject(s) appear to be emotionally disturbed? No

Did the subject(s) resist arrest? No

 

Lessons Learned

Type of accident or incident averted:

Assault on a police officer.

Contributing Risk Factors:

  • Complacency
  • Decision making
  • Subject(s) under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Subject’s possession of a weapon

Contributing Protective Factors:

  • Presence of backup officer

Lessons Learned:

  • Subjects carry weapons in their rear pockets.
  • Don’t become complacent with persons that appear to be non-threatening.
  • Always keep your guard up, especially in this type of setting.

Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

  • Always ask subjects to keep their hands where you can see them.
  • When appropriate, re-position yourself to scan the rear waist-band area.
  • Always ask a person if they have any weapons on them.



How relevant are the lessons learned in this incident to you and/or your agency?
4.00 avg. rating (83% score) - 2 votes

One Comment to "Concealed Scissors during Felony Warrant Arrest"

  1. Reply J Sproule September 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

    The use of contact/cover officer roles in this instance may have also been useful in mitigating the risk from the scissors, as the cover officer, being positioned to the side of the subject, would likely have been able to see the scissors very early on in the encounter and neutralize that threat.

    It’s unclear if circumstances prevented the use of contact/cover tactics in this case, but whenever possible, they should be used.

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