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The Evolution of the Police Baton
By Angel Abdulnor
Police officers are required to carry numerous pieces of equipment these days, the need for which has arisen with the need for heightened security. In the past, police equipment did not change much unless a specific need arose; this didn't come about very often. In recent years, however, it has become increasingly necessary to make changes to ensure that officers are carrying all of the equipment they need to perform their duties. This is especially important now, due to the increasing number of women joining the force. Since women generally have smaller frames than men, they don't have as much room to carry some of the larger items on their person. Police batons fall into this category.
Over the years, numerous changes have been made to address this problem. Police batons, for instance, have undergone several modifications since they were first introduced, and are now available in different shapes and sizes in order to accommodate all situations. Batons have even been made to fit various carry systems, some of which are smaller and sleeker than ever before.
Since most carry systems in use today are designed for the strategic placement of items on police belts, police equipment is modeled to fit that criterion. Perhaps one of the most notable changes is the exclusion of the police baton in many of these systems.
The police baton was first used in the early 1800s, and it quickly became one of the most recognizable items early police officers would carry. The baton became a staple, almost as important as the police-issue firearm, and remained that way for many years. Now, however, many carry systems are not equipped to fit a standard baton and many police officers no longer carry one in its original form.
Instead, the baton has evolved into a piece of equipment with a variety of forms. For instance, smaller batons have been made to fit smaller spaces. Though they differ in size from the traditional baton, they are still durable enough to get the job done. At one point, collapsible batons were made, as well. But they had one major problem: they were collapsible, which made them less durable.
Over the years, various groups have argued over the best shape and size for the police baton, as well as the best design and position of its handle. Because this argument is ever evolving, so, too, are the baton's numerous forms. Ever-changing, ever-useful, it remains one of the most important pieces of police equipment carried today.
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