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These recent saves show why every cop needs a knife on duty

From cutting people free from flaming cars to rescuing furry friends, you never know when you’ll need a quality blade on the job


Sponsored by ZT Knives

By Rachel Zoch, PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Any cop will tell you it pays to be prepared, because you never know what a day on patrol might bring. Most departments don’t provide a knife as part of an officer’s standard duty gear, but these three recent saves, in which officers used their knives to rescue someone in the nick of time, show why a good pocketknife can be an essential – even lifesaving – tool on a cop’s belt.

Carrying a quality knife can help you in all kinds of ways on the job, both routine and unusual. Make sure you have the right tools to be prepared. (image/ZT Knives)
Carrying a quality knife can help you in all kinds of ways on the job, both routine and unusual. Make sure you have the right tools to be prepared. (image/ZT Knives)

Be Prepared for Anything, Including Flaming Car Crashes

Plenty of patrol officers have “flaming car” stories – but not everybody has the right tools to help in a hurry. In his second year with the Chicago Police, Officer Raul Sandoval used his EDC knife to free a child from a burning car.

While responding to a rollover crash, he found someone trying without success to rescue a child stuck in the back seat. Sandoval reacted in an instant, grabbing his knife and cutting the seat belt to free the boy, who was scared but otherwise relatively unscathed.

Sandoval says police academy instructors told him that carrying a dependable pocketknife is smart strategy and a good tool to have just in case. He says he never carried a knife before joining the force but now tries to carry one all the time, even when off duty.

“You never know what you’ll need it for,” said Sandoval.

On the other hand, Officer Dalton Foley with the Farmville Police Department in central Virginia is a dedicated knife user. He carries two knives on duty every day, and he recently used one of them to rescue an unconscious woman from her flaming car.

“It was pretty scary, if I’m going to be honest,” Foley said. “I was able to open the door and found the driver was in there. She was unresponsive, so that’s when I got the knife from the top of my vest out and was able to cut her seat belt and pull her out of the vehicle.”

He thinks he still could have rescued the woman without the benefit of his knife, but it would have been much more difficult and dangerous, not only due to the risk of smoke inhalation but also the risk of an explosion, which happened just moments after the rescue.

“Having a knife there is what made it quick,” he said. “Just one cut, and I was able to start pulling her out.”

Foley carries an everyday knife in his pocket for routine tasks like packing evidence and handling drugs. The other knife, which he keeps on his outer carrier vest close to his collar bone for quick access, is a bigger blade.

“Pretty much everybody that I know carries a knife in their pocket,” he said, “but far as I know, I’m the only one who carries a second one. The other type of knife that I carry on my vest isn’t really an everyday use knife. It’s more of a fighting, self-defense style knife.”

Foley is a big believer in everyday carry, and he even bought knives as holiday gifts for a few of his squad mates last year.

“It’s nice to have a quality blade,” he said. “I think they’re important tools, and everybody working patrol should carry at least one quality knife.”

Save Four-legged Friends and Share the Love Online

Everyone loves an animal story with a happy ending, and officers all over the world use their knives to help out furry friends every day. PoliceOne columnist Sean Curtis recently shared his harrowing story of freeing a dog dangling from a pickup truck, but here are a few other stories in which an officer was able to use his knife to rescue a critter in distress:

  • Two Kansas officers responding to a shoplifting call at the local Walmart rescued and revived a dog found hanging out of a pickup truck window by its leash. At first, they feared it might be dead, but with a quick flick of one officer’s duty knife, they freed the dog and were able to revive it.
  • Check out this video of a police officer in Chile who climbed a fence to cut loose a dog tangled in a patio awning. (Spoiler alert: The relieved dog gives the officer a big “hug” at the end.)
  • Another short video shows an officer in Howard County, Maryland (just west of Baltimore), using his blade to gently free a freaked-out fawn from a backyard soccer net. The video has been shared widely on Facebook, netting plenty of positive attention for the department.
  • A homeowner in North Carolina called the sheriff’s department for help when an elk got tangled in his backyard hammock. The deputy climbed on the roof of the house to cut the creature loose.

Most of these animal rescue stories – especially those with video – have gone viral around the country (or even the world). While your primary mission is always to serve and protect, sharing video or images of these saves, which demonstrate how police officers go above and beyond every day, is a great way to spread goodwill and get a little positive attention for your agency.

The bottom line? Carrying a quality knife can help you in all kinds of ways on the job, both routine and unusual. Each of these rescues was made quick and easy by a blade. Make sure you have the right tools to be prepared for anything on the job.

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