The new off duty

Click here to read "12 rules for off-duty conduct", an online extra to complement "The new off duty"!      In February 2006, Law Enforcement Technology published "12 rules for off-duty conduct," a primer on the transition between on-duty and...


     Originally, we were looking at the lightest pair of handcuffs available. We quickly abandoned this quest after talking to officers who have employed such tools in the past. Handcuffs made of materials other than steel have a reputation of failure. Handcuffs by definition are temporary restraints. Besides temporarily restraining suspects, they can be used for aerial denial. An officer can lock business doors or disable equipment, including an automobile, with a good set of cuffs and some mechanical knowledge. Deny terrain during an active shooter incident is a combat multiplier.

     Officers should carry standard steel chain-link ratcheting handcuffs with heavy-duty rivets. Although hinged handcuffs are generally more secure, chain link is more versatile. Cuffs generally run between 10 and 16 ounces. We selected Peerless Model 700 Handcuffs for this article. They are serialized, reinforced cuffs with welded links, double locks and engineering designed to some of the typical vulnerabilities found in lesser models. Peerless Model 700 Cuffs weigh 10 ounces.


     The off-duty flashlight should fit in the pocket, be bright enough to back up the primary light and use a common power source or have an extraordinary runtime. It should have a push button momentary switch or preferably a momentary/constant "on" switch. Our pick for this was easy: The Pelican 360 has all of these features and delivers 100 lumens from two AA cells. The 2.5-watt unit weighs 4.6 ounces and has a bright white high-intensity LED — it gives more usable light that many high tech tactical torches and would excel in disaster recovery ops because of its durability and power consumption. This is the epitome of an on-duty/backup/off-duty torch.

Be off duty

     Although it might seem contradictory to the purpose of this article, a heightened state of awareness is stress inducing. The other part of off-duty conduct that officers should practice regularly is actually being "off-duty." That is, they should be encouraged to use vacation time rather than cash it in, and do things that have nothing to do with their job. The new off duty is about being efficient while off, and then knowing when to really be "off."

     Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif.

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