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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Good Idea From Kentucky

The wristband provides immediate visual communication.
Most patrol officers have at least one story about drawing their weapon on a suspect, only to find out the suspect was a police officer working in “plain clothes.” These types of incidents occur fast, and sometimes—when the plain clothes officer is holding their gun—the results have been deadly.

In 1993, a plain clothes police officer in Kentucky was mistakenly shot by a uniformed officer during a foot chase. That incident led to a complete review of all plain clothes officer responses, and to officers carrying a new piece of police equipment.
The wristband is worn on the officer's gun hand (shown here being
tested at the SCALE Regional Training Center in Scott County).

That new piece of police equipment is a bright green reflective wristband that officers “slap” on to their gun hand when they want to be identified as a police officer. The band is 3 inches wide and has the word POLICE lettered on it. You can’t miss it. It is stored as a coil that quickly curls around an officer’s wrist, shirt, or jacket and stays there. There are no snaps or Velcro, and the wristband can be put on in less than a second. Officers keep the band on the gear shift lever of their car when not in use.
The wristband forms a coil when not in use.

In addition to receiving the wristband, all Kentucky officers receive training on a common protocol to be followed when a plain clothes or off-duty officer is going to be making an arrest and may be interacting with uniform officers.

The Kentucky program of common training and the highly visible wrist band has been successful. I think it has merit for the Minnesota law enforcement community as well. Let me know your thoughts. I can be reached at (651) 281-1238 or

                 Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…More details on the IACP Reducing Officer Injuries Final Report

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


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