Dining Out More Safely
by PoliceOne Contributing Editor Scott Buhrmaster
In light of yet another report of an officer being targeted for attack while eating, consider these tips for keeping yourself safe in a public eatery, particularly while in uniform:
-- Take a close look at your food before digging in. Lift the bun, stir the soup, poke around the salad, etc. while watching for foreign objects or substances. Also consider smelling your food before taking your first bite. Last month an officer was seriously injured after biting into a burrito laced with cleaning solution. Taking a whiff before eating might help sniff out a silent but effective attack.
-- Avoid sitting with your back to the door and if possible, sit where you can get a clear view of the entire restaurant. Just as a kitchen, filled with knives, forks, glassware and heavy metal objects, can be one of the most dangerous places in a home, so it is with restaurants. If someone is looking to target an officer, a restaurant setting can present a golden opportunity. Don't be caught with your back to an attack.
-- If you're in an unfamiliar place, make sure to take inventory of your surroundings. Where's the nearest exit? How many routes in and out are there? Where would you take cover if an attack were to occur?
-- Consider different restaurant settings and practice for defending yourself within them. These questions may help:
- Can you get out of a chair quickly and immediately engage a subject?
- Have you practiced drawing from a seated position?
- How would you keep yourself from being cornered in a booth should an attack occur?
- Could you quickly use a table as a barrier between you and an attacker?
- Have you and your partner discussed how you could both get away from your table or out of your booth without bumping into each other or otherwise tangling?
-- Remember that some of the things in a restaurant that can be used against you, like knives, forks, and heavy plates, can also be used to protect yourself in worst-case-scenario situations.
-- Although tactical awareness is a must in a restaurant, as it is in ANY setting, do allow yourself to relax while eating. In addition to helping you avoid destructive digestive issues, relaxing while you eat lunch or dinner also provides you with an important mental break.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Retaliation