Police Officer Weapons: Impact Weapons; Firearms; Less Lethal Devices and other Tools of the Trade
– Ed Wortman, Chief of Police, ret.
To understand police weaponry, one must first look at the sometimes uncertain and explosive nature of police work. People do not call the police, the doctor, or an attorney when they are having fun. Police officers are often the most visible representatives of any government, quickly identified by their uniforms and vehicle markings. They are expected to respond and resolve, often with only fragmented information, dynamic, emotionally charged situations which can be both tense and unpredictable. The U. S. Supreme Court recognized this in the case of Graham v. Connor (1989) when it opined that; “police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”
Police officers like any other professional or craftsman, want to do a good job, using the best and most appropriate tools they or their company can afford. Like any tool, one size may not fit all craftsmen or situations, so manufacturers and departments must adapt to things like officer stature, hand size, the task at hand and the potential for success. We will look at the broad spectrum of weapons available to the police officers as they protect the public and themselves, including
- Impact Weapons (batons or clubs)
- Less Lethal options, Firearms, and other weapons or in the case of Police, tools.
See police weapons from the Wortman collection on display in the museum.