Keeping the door open: Groves Inc.'s Back-Up Entry Tool

Chicago officer invents tool to keep entryways open for following officers

By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Product Editor

If you're tired of waiting for backup to get through the locked apartment door that just slammed behind you, Chicago Officer Ronald Gaines Jr. might just have a solution. He's invited the Back-Up Entry Tool (B.E.T.), a device intended to make sure your backup doesn’t have to find a way through a locked door to assist you.

Its shape and size may not be spectacular, but its function can be absolutely essential to dangerous police work. The Back-Up Entry Tool is a small black, adjustable tool that is designed to keep a door wedged open. Previously, officers, often in a rush to an emergency scene would need to leave any random object to hold a self-locking door open.

"We simply had nothing to keep the door open," Gaines Jr. said. "We used to use newspaper or junk mail or even an ink pen. If someone moved it, you were back to square one. We needed something to clamp down on the door and let people know the door was being left open for a reason."

With the Back-Up Entry Tool, officers can easily and quickly hold any type of entryway open. Backup officers, or any type of emergency response personnel, arriving later can then easily gain access to the building. Gaines invented the tool after being tired of so many calls in multi-unit apartment buildings where an automatically locking door needed to be kept open.

"Another advantage is someone doesn't have to go down to the door to hold it open. It can be very dangerous to have to leave your partner alone in a volatile situation," Gaines Jr. said.

The Back-Up Entry Tool is made of impact resistant materials and has an automatic clamping tool that allows it to fit a wide range of entries including fire rated doors.

Gaines Jr. shopped the idea for the tool to a number of distributors, including e-mailing a number of product distributors featured on He found Groves, Inc., who recognized the definite need for the B.E.T.

"Everyone we have shared this with in the test marketing and everyone that has seen it since has been more than supportive and excited about the B.E.T.," John Groves, vice president of Groves said. "I sincerely believe that through this tool, Ronald Gaines Jr. has given his fellow officers a better chance of returning home after each shift."

For more information, contact Groves Inc. (800) 991-2120 or visit

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