Baton twirling in style

They say that a best line of defense is a full body armor suit, complete with a bulletproof chest protector, a riot baton with pinpoint jabbing action and a Darth Vader helmet. Boy, they aren’t lying.

With Denver gearing up for the Democratic National Convention Aug. 25-28, the feds are shelling out 50 Really Big Ones to pay for all types of security control and dispersal products available in today’s law enforcement marketplace. Today let’s take a look at the body armor and shields for sale by law enforcement free-marketeers.

Body Armor: A veritable cornucopia of options is available: full-body suits, chest protectors of both the bulletproof and non-bulletproof varieties, knee and elbow pads, shin guards, etc. Some of the chest guards even come with a built-in CamelBak to keep you hydrated as you thwack anarchists.

Those riot cops who don’t want bruises to brag about later will choose the RedMan DRS 360 (pictured left) available for a cool $1,200. Do NOT dry clean your body armor.

Clubs and Batons: For the law enforcement officer looking to get a little closer to the action, nothing beats a baton. ASP brand batons are “the first choice of the world’s most tactically advanced law enforcement agencies.” Telescoping batons are the tool of choice for U.S. police forces. Average baton sizes (extended) range from 16 inches to 31 inches. The

36-inch Shields: Today’s riot cop has a dazzling array of shield options. There are big shields and little shields, round shields and square shields, light shields and heavy shields, clear shields and opaque shields, electrified shields and inert shields.

The expensive ($595 a pop) but awesome Stinger shield can be used as a standard shield or can be activated to deliver a special surprise. The shields are constructed of 1/4-inch polycarbonate Lexan and feature nine sparking display points on the front to provide a visible deterrent. The N.Y. Department of Corrections uses it at Riker’s Island.

The much more cost effective ($95) Clear Capture shield is a roughly rectangular two-handed shield with a special curve to allow an officer to effectively squash and detain an unruly protester against a wall.

Ballistic shields are way more expensive ($1,200 – $3,500) than riot shields but they’re what you want when the bullets start to fly.

Helmets & Gas Masks:

Like riot shields, riot helmets are generally not bulletproof. They’ll do a terrific job of protecting a riot cop from flung feces, rubber chickens and baby-doll parts, though. A discerning police department will choose just how scary it wants its riot cops to look – from the fairly innocuous GI Joe to the full-on Darth Vader.

Read the full series:

Tuesday: Bringing On The Big Boyz

Wednesday: Happiness is a Red-Hot Pepperball Launcher

Today: Baton twirling in style

Tomorrow: Going directly to jail.

We extend huge thanks for assistance with this package to a Colorado researcher and writer who does not plan to participate in the August convention but nonetheless prefers to remain unnamed for fear of retribution.

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Cara Degette

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