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  • EMS Removal of Handcuffs

    As I see it, there are several things to consider... and there's obviously corresponding SOP's/SOG's on the EMS side... I'm very curious to read everyones' thoughts/opinions/SOP's/SOG's on this topic. I posted this on O.com's sister site, FH.com, too.

    - Should EMS have access to handcuff keys?

    - Do you accompany prisoners in the ambulance, or follow the ambulance in a squad car?

    - If you follow in a separate car, should EMS be removing handcuffs in the absence of one of us?

    - If you accompany the ambulance, and assuming a "cuffed in front" patient that is stable, who has the ultimate say in whether handcuffs come off for something like "IV access"?

    I'll post my thoughts in a bit. (I searched for this topic and didn't find any pre-existing threads on this specific topic.)
    All Gave Some - Some Gave All


  • #2
    Originally posted by Resq14 View Post
    As I see it, there are several things to consider... and there's obviously corresponding SOP's/SOG's on the EMS side... I'm very curious to read everyones' thoughts/opinions/SOP's/SOG's on this topic. I posted this on O.com's sister site, FH.com, too.

    - Should EMS have access to handcuff keys?

    - Do you accompany prisoners in the ambulance, or follow the ambulance in a squad car?

    - If you follow in a separate car, should EMS be removing handcuffs in the absence of one of us?

    - If you accompany the ambulance, and assuming a "cuffed in front" patient that is stable, who has the ultimate say in whether handcuffs come off for something like "IV access"?

    I'll post my thoughts in a bit. (I searched for this topic and didn't find any pre-existing threads on this specific topic.)
    EMS should not take off your cuffs, they should ask you to only if neccessary. Then you cuff one hand to the bed.
    We follow the ambulance in our patrol cars.
    If requested by medical staff to remove the cuffs you best remove the cuffs. You dont want to be liable for any problems during medical care but I ALWAYS cuff one hand to the bed and make sure it is tight enough so he can not slip out of the cuffs. I found a fellow officers prisoner walking down the street after he escaped from his hospital bed. Don't let that happen to you!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SOCALCOP View Post
      EMS should not take off your cuffs, they should ask you to only if neccessary. Then you cuff one hand to the bed.
      We follow the ambulance in our patrol cars.
      If requested by medical staff to remove the cuffs you best remove the cuffs. You dont want to be liable for any problems during medical care but I ALWAYS cuff one hand to the bed and make sure it is tight enough so he can not slip out of the cuffs. I found a fellow officers prisoner walking down the street after he escaped from his hospital bed. Don't let that happen to you!
      Our EMS guys prefer us not to cuff to the bed/gurney because if there is an accident it could potentially endanger the bad guy. If they demand I take the cuffs off, I tell them he is theirs and the liability is off of me. I have had to ride in the back a few times and I let the guy know he doesn't have a chance of escape because I won't give him the wiggle room. I, too have chased other officers prisoners down the street with and without cuffs on.
      I am a Native American of non-Indian decent.

      Cleaning the pool, one gene at a time.

      I'm on a 30 day diet. So far I've lost 15 days!

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      • #4
        Access to handcuff keys? Why not. They're not illegal and there are scenarios where they would have legitimate need of them.

        Follow or accompany squad? Either one, depending on the circumstances. I would not like them removing my cuffs, but they have their own protocals to follow.

        Medical personnel have the say if the cuffs come off or not. If the prisoner needs to be restrained, the squad crew will use soft restraints. A load-and-go situation may be handled differently by the squad.

        In my area prisoners cannot be handcuffed to beds or cots. Soft restraints are used, and, if necessary, a police officer will be detailed to watch the prisoner.

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        • #5
          In my command injured prisoners are transported rear cuffed. officer rides in the back of the bus with prisoner and EMS. Prisoner only uncuffed if absolutely necessary, and then one hand is cuffed to stretcher.

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          • #6
            Thank you for the informative replies thus far.

            I too have never had a problem until last week when I found that the EMS crew on duty had uncuffed the patient/prisoner. I learned this by having the patient's hand brush by my holstered gun in triage.

            Personally, I was just going to chalk it up to a learning experience and make a point of avoiding the "follow you in" deal by riding in the ambulance in future custodial situations. However, the issue has come to a head now after some co-workers saw/heard what happened.

            Absent specific policies on the matter (this will probably be changing!), past practice has been for LEO to follow the ambo except for unusual situations or if requested by EMS crew.

            The details: I had a prisoner in custody for several felony and misdemeanor charges (property crime related, no crimes against people). He needed medical evaluation following a crash into a pole (SRS deployment, about 2 feet of intrusion into engine compartment... no obvious injuries) and subsequent police canine bites (arm, thorax... small punctures and scratches). Also, the guy was intoxicated.

            The EMS crew requested I move the cuffs to the front once they had him in the ambo on a backboard. I was completely fine with that. I stepped in the back to find an EMT in the process of removing the handcuffs with a handcuff key. I politely told him that I would handle it. The cuffs were moved, and I made the statement/question "I'll follow you guys in?" I was told "okay."

            I stayed directly behind the ambo the entire ride. At the hospital, well I already said what I found there. I was told the cuffs were removed by the medic to "get an IV in."

            Now I've played the EMS game for a while, and NEVER have I EVER considered removing handcuffs from someone. Sure, if theyre circling the drain, I'd ASK an officer for cuffs to be removed/adjusted.

            Sooo.. this is why I asked about this issue. I was seeing red initially, but decided that I could have prevented the situation from occurring from the beginning simply by riding in the ambulance.
            All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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            • #7
              Anyone can have a handcuff key...even the suspects.

              Accompany them in the ambulance.....only for a dying declaration. If not, we usually follow right behind.

              If the patient is handcuffed, then they are in our custody and the handcuffs stay on. A cuff attached to the side of the gurney works well... or a pair of leg irons.
              This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Resq14 View Post
                At the hospital, well I already said what I found there. I was told the cuffs were removed by the medic to "get an IV in."
                I realize each medical situation is unique, but I've seen hundreds of IV's go in without the need to remove a cuffs. I'm wondering what part about "I would handle it" didn't the medic understand

                Absent any form of official policy, perhaps it might be a good idea for your guys to ride to ride in the van with your in custody's. EMT's and Medics ain't too bright when it comes to common sense, they need visual aids sometimes
                "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson
                ______________________


                ComptonPOLICEGANGS.com

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by exComptonCop View Post
                  Absent any form of official policy, perhaps it might be a good idea for your guys to ride to ride in the van with your in custody's.
                  That was the conclusion I reached, too, after I calmed down. I guess I wanted to run this by everyone to make sure I wasn't being unreasonable or anything.
                  All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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                  • #10
                    This is the sort of thing we ought work out ahead of time. If we don't, we end up trying to thrash it out on the roadside, 3 miles south of nowhere, in the rain, at zero dark thirty.
                    EMS has much better equipment for immobilization than LE. Put the subject on a backboard, with a spider strap and head immobilizer, and he's there to stay.

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                    • #11
                      Our local EMS will not transport a prisoner in the ambulance without an officer riding with them. My agency and the EMS crews work well together and they usually don't ask us to take the cuffs off. The problem I've always run into is at the hospital when doctors and nurses want them off. Then it depends on how the prisoner has behaved. If I had to fight him to get the cuffs on then they don't come off unless he is unconcious and dying or going into the jail.

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                      • #12
                        cleaning up
                        Last edited by cogslave; 07-24-2007, 08:51 AM. Reason: just because

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cogslave View Post
                          I've never had a problem with EMS wanting the cuffs off, but every couple of years at the ER, some liberal doc demands they be taken off and we leave the room. After the POS punches/kicks/spits on the doc and knocks the nurse on her rear end, they want them back on asap. I have found it quite amusing.
                          That is also my experience. Most of the medics in the field are good and rarely interfere. The ones that have are usually very new on the job with little real world experience. It only takes one battle in the back of moving rig for them to get the picture.

                          Docs on the other hand.... I had one scream and yell about a "patient" being cuffed. I removed the cuffs after an admonishment about him being their problem now. I stepped outside the door to prevent an escape. In less then two minutes, the doc is nursing a black eye and screaming and yelling that prisoner (not "patient" now) is out of control. Unfortunately for him, we were now in another state (we're a border community, all the hospitals are on the other side), and informed him that I had no real power there other than to prevent an escape. He would need to have his security or the local PD deal with it now. Oddly enough, I rarely have a problem with that doc anymore.
                          Originally posted by kontemplerande
                          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                          • #14
                            EMS should have restraining stuff anyway right?
                            We scream for fear of suffering silence. - Savage Garden

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                            • #15
                              Granted we see some ****ty stuff, but i have most respect for EMS, coz they will see some stuff that would make me sick!!!
                              We scream for fear of suffering silence. - Savage Garden

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