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Why radio placement is important for correctional officers

Gordon Graham with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Let’s talk about radio placement on your duty belt. This is especially important for our friends working in corrections operations

There is a relationship between radio placement and the potential for officer injury during a violent encounter with an inmate.

So, where on your duty belt do you carry your radio and why does it matter? “Gordon, it’s not that big of a deal. You’ve never done the job.” I’ve talked to plenty of people in your business, veterans, who tell me this is a big deal. There is a relationship between radio placement and the potential for officer injury during a violent encounter with an inmate. And the last thing you need is getting hurt. 

Let’s assume that you have a belt-carried radio with a microphone that is attached by a cord. This seems to be the most common radio set up these days. 

Questions for you: Is the mic clipped to the epaulet on your shoulder? Do you have to reach across your chest to access it? Do you have to turn your head and look to one side or the other to speak into it?  

Consider placing the mic in the center of your chest. You can easily reach it with either hand. You don’t have to look away from an inmate to speak into the mic. And you don’t have to raise your elbow exposing or compromising the other equipment on your belt. 

How do you have the mic cord routed? Is it exposed? Does it run up your back and over the shoulder? Could an inmate grab it and take it away? Or, could it be used to choke you? 

Consider running the mic cord under your shirt and have it exit under the first or second button. This way the cord is out of an inmate’s grasp. It won’t interfere with your ability to access other tools on your belt. And you are much less likely to lose it during a physical struggle. 

How is your microphone secured? Most corded mics have a spring-type clip that can dislodge during intense physical movement. Consider one of the simple and, I might add, inexpensive devices designed to hold the mic in place during a struggle or while running. 

So, there it is. Radio and microphone placement is a tactical consideration that can prevent serious problems when you take advantage of these tips. 

That’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

For more tips from Gordon, click here.

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