Nestled near mountains of Northern California, lies the small town of Anderson with a population of 10,000.
Their small police department has decided to give their policemen the option to carry a rather unconventional weapon. Provided they attend a 16 hour course, the officers will soon be allowed to carry nunchucks.
As strange as it may sound, the Anderson Police Department thinks this move could change the public’s perception that police are overly aggressive. They argue that the nunchucks will give their officers more options to restrain a suspect, whereas a traditional baton is mostly limited to being used as an impact weapon. According to Police Chief Michael Johnson “In an era where the general public is extremely sensitive to police techniques and use of force issues, nunchucks offer another force option that may offset some of the more aggressive perceptions the public has about police intervention.”
Nunchakus have been used by police departments in the past, but fell out of favor in the early 90’s after injuries were caused by misuse (LAPD stopped using them after they were sued by anti-abortion protesters). The invention of the taser led most police departments to abandon the idea entirely. Perhaps nunchucks could be a far better non-lethal weapon than a taser, since those devices kill people on a routine basis. However, police brutality could be better addressed by teaching these officers how to de-escalate dangerous situations, and firing those with a history of brutalizing citizens.
Without those measures, switching out their weapons will do little to stop aggressive police officers. Until police departments start dealing with the people in their ranks, not their weapons, the public’s perceptions aren’t going to change.
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