How Do Officers Safely Remove Cuffs From Violent Prisoners?

How do officers safely remove cuffs

Here’s a question from writers that pops up from time to time. “Once officers arrest a combative suspect, how do they safely remove the handcuffs when they arrive at the police station or jail?”

Honestly, there’s no hard and fast rule. Generally, it’s whatever works best at the time and place. Or, if the receiving agency has a set policy in place officers will adhere to their rules. However, if available, officers can have the suspect step inside a holding cell and then close and lock the door behind them. The prisoner then places his cuffed hands through or close to an opening in the cell door. Having bars or a steel door as a barrier between officers and prisoners allows officers to safely unlock the cuffs. The opening in the cell door is also used to pass prisoners their food trays.

If officers are removing cuffs from a prisoner’s wrists outside a cell they’ll typically apply a wrist-lock technique for control before unlocking the restraints. Two or more officers should be present anytime they’re removing cuffs in an unsecured area.

Holding cell

The picture above is of a typical holding cell. The platform to the right is the bed. As is the case in most cells, a stainless steel toilet/sink combination is available for, well, you know…

A polished steel mirror hangs above the sink. The heavily scratched and dented mirror is held to the wall with bolts that can’t be backed out without a special tool. The thick steel door is equipped with a tray slot and peep hole. You can also see a round piece of stainless steel on the upper door. This is actually a receiver for a computerized device called “The Pipe.”

Jail officers in this particular facility carry the pipe with them as they make their rounds, touching the end of the apparatus to each receiver throughout the jail or prison. The receiver uploads the time and date into the pipe’s database. At the end of the officer’s shift he/she inserts the pipe into a terminal inside the jail’s master control room. The computer then records every movement the officer made during the day. There are also many, many security cameras throughout the institutions.

One additional point. If the prisoner is “acting out”, the cuffs stay where they are until he calms down.

So there you have it, the answer to the question of the day.