Helpful hints for protecting yourself from 'booby traps'


Following the recent report of California officers being targeted by booby traps, here are seven things to keep in mind that can help protect you from falling prey to hidden traps.

1. Look up. While searching a house during a raid in the Midwest, officers noticed an open closet door that blocked the view of a window. Before closing the door so they could see the outside view, an officer wisely looked up and happened to spot two pieces of metal stretching from the top of the door to the top of the window ledge and piled high with other heavy chunks of metal and a hammer. Had the door been closed, the pile would have crashed down on officers’ heads. Use this incident as a reminder to look up before closing doors. It’s also important to keep in mind that fact that suspects have also been known to hide in areas above officers’ heads. Don’t just focus on what’s in front of you and behind you. Remember to look up.

2. Look down. During a search, remember to stay alert to what’s at ground level. If you’re in a house, do you see any suspicious looking floorboards? Any unusual sagging in rugs that could indicate they’re covering a hole? Any trip wires stretched across your path of travel? Anything sticking up from the floor, like nails or other sharp objects?

If you’re conducting an outside search, stay alert to ground traps as well. If you’re walking a trail do you see any odd piles of brush that could be covering a hole? Anything strung across the trail…like barbed wire? While responding to a call of a party in the woods, officers in a western state found strips of barbed wire strung across a trail at ankle level rigged to slice officers’ flesh. They also ran into a log placed across the trail. When an officer stepped over it, he fell into a hole covered on the other side. His injuries were minor, but had he been running, it could have been another story.

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