The Pocket Dump- Part 2
Sometimes it’s more about what you DON’T have in your pockets than what you do. We all carry our handgun and extra ammunition but what about the other necessities? Not every encounter is going to require us to use that gun and we had better be prepared for when we don’t need the gun. I had to learn this the hard way.
A few years ago, I lived in an apartment building with a parking garage directly under my apartment. At night, you could clearly hear anyone coming or going through the pedestrian door or opening car doors. I had returned home from a friend’s house for a birthday party and still had my off duty gun in the holster on my belt when I heard someone enter the building through the pedestrian door. What sparked my interest was when I heard someone climb the stairs and attempt to enter the hallway through another locked door. When they couldn’t get in, they walked back down the steps and I then heard a car door.
I tried to be stealthy as I entered the stairway through the locked door but motion lights on the stairway gave away my presence to the guy who was rummaging through my neighbor’s car. When he saw me, he immediately bolted for the door with me in pursuit. We exited the building to the street and I was able to catch up to him around the corner. After tackling him, I realized I was missing two critical pieces of my every day carry: my cell phone and restraints. I identified myself as a police officer and showed the guy both my badge and my gun. He was willing to stay right where he was at while I collected items he had dropped.
My problem was since this was 2 A.M., there wasn’t as much traffic as in the day time. My attempts to wake a homeowner were unsuccessful and I was a little uneasy walking that far away from the guy (my ego wanted him to go to jail). A passing motorist was unwilling to stop even though I was waving my badge in a circle above my head like I was trained to do and I think he was probably more focused on the Kimber in my right hand.
Without any means of communication to call my co-workers or a way to restrain the burglar, I made an odd decision to walk him to jail. The county jail was only about two blocks away from my apartment and I literally walked him to jail at gun point. You can probably guess the looks on the jailers’ faces were of disbelief, shock, and humor. But, this could have been a bad situation. What if he, too, had been armed and we had been in a gun fight? What if he had been armed with a knife and fatally stabbed me without any gun shot to wake the neighbors? What if he had just chosen to run away again?
I was armed, but I was unprepared. That cell phone, even though I some times hate it, is vital to relay information and call for help. Can you imagine driving along as a patrol officer and seeing some guy with a gun walking around another guy lying face down on the sidewalk? That could have been potentially fatal for me. I got caught up in the moment and wanted to catch the guy but didn’t think about my own safety or the potential consequences of leaving my cell phone inside the apartment. I also didn’t have a flashlight to search for the subject or identify anything in his hands. How hard is it to put a small light on my belt next to the extra magazine? How hard is it to carry some sort of restraint?
My every day carry changed after that night. As much as I hate that phone, it stays with me at all times. I have also invested in several flashlights. Right after this, I bought a small Tac5 flashlight from Lumaforce with a nylon sheath. The light is small enough to fit in my jeans pocket if I want it to but puts out 230 lumens. The light also can be adjusted from low, medium, high output to strobe. However, I have a Streamlight polytac light that isn’t quite as bright or compact but fits great in my coat pocket. I have also purchased a Fenix PD35. This light has actually been used at work quite a bit because it’s bright at 1000 lumens. The Fenix is 5.51 inches long so it isn’t as compact as the Lumaforce and runs on two CR123A batteries as opposed to just one for the Lumaforce. Fortunately, there are dozens of quality flashlights out there that are great for every day carry in a variety of sizes, brightness, and prices.
But, what about restraints? I stumble upon the www.handcuffwarehouse.com by accident one day. They offer several types of disposable restraints but I settled on the Tuff-Tie Disposable hand restraints. They consist of nylon, shoe lace-looking material looped into a plastic block. They’re easy to use: just put the suspect’s wrists in the loops and pull the loops closed. They’re cheap: $1.75 each. And, they’re easy to carry. I stuff a pair in the watch pocket of my jeans. But, I also have a pair of Hiatts lightweight cuffs I carry in a leather case in my back pocket from time to time. They’re great cuffs and don’t weigh a lot but it isn’t very comfortable to sit on them.
Our every day carry has to evolve and adapt with the times. There are a lot of CCW permit holders who don’t carry because it’s “inconvenient”. Those of us who do carry have to avoid becoming complacent about carrying other essential items because they’re “inconvenient.”