Hospitals are a real pain
in the @%%
There will come a time, many times in
fact, when you'll be responsible for a
prisoner within a hospital setting.  You'll
soon learn that doctors hate handcuffs.  
It doesn't matter what treatment the
prisoner requires. Whether it's a
lacerated lip, or an ingrown toe nail, you'll
probably be asked to remove the
handcuffs.  If you question the need to
remove the handcuffs relative to the
treatment, the fall back reason is usually
difficulty in taking the prisoner's blood
pressure reading.

The very first thing you have to consider
is this:  You are the only person present
who is totally responsible for that
prisoner's actions once those handcuffs
are removed.  If he punches out the
doctor; overpowers you; gets control of
your gun; shoots people; escapes, or
engages in lesser destructive behavior,
the causative factor will go right back to

decision to remove the handcuffs.  
No, not the doctor's decision...your
decision.  If you think for an instant that
anyone else will accept any level of
responsibility for your prisoner's potential
reign of terror, you're dreaming.
I was out of the police academy a mere
two weeks when I was assigned to guard
a prisoner who was recovering from
surgery for a gunshot wound.  He'd been
shot during a gun battle with a police
officer in which the police officer was also
wounded.  The prisoner had his left hand
cuffed to the bed railing.  His first
communication with me was his demand
that I release the cuffs, so he could go to
the bathroom.  Yea... right.  I called the
nurse, and I requested she provide Mr.
Personality with a portable urinal.  To my
surprise, the nurse became indignant.  
She informed me that the prisoner was
physically able to go to the bathroom, so
I should remove his handcuffs.  When I
refused, the nurse stormed from the

Moments later, a doctor entered the
room.  I quickly realized this guy didn't
have his heart in this exchange.  As the
nurse stood behind him, arms folded,
and starring right through me, the
doctor ask me to remove the handcuffs.  
I may have been inexperienced, but I
wasn't stupid.  I refused.  The poor guy
kept going, so I gave him an out.  I
offered to have my sergeant respond.  If
my sergeant gave the okay, I'd remove
the cuffs. The doctor declined the offer,
and he directed the nurse to use the
portable urinal.  I actually felt bad for the
prisoner... just a little.  The way she
shoved that bed pan beneath him had to
hurt more than the surgery.  
"There will come a time, many times
in fact, when you'll be responsible for
a prisoner within a hospital setting."
~ Barry M. Baker
A lot of people who contemplate a police
career don't associate police officers with
guarding prisoners.  You may think that
once a suspect is arrested, that suspect
becomes the responsibility of corrections
officers.  In most jurisdictions, the
process for transferring a prisoner to
corrections is my no means an immediate

Since the health and well being of
persons arrested is of such great
concern -- primarily because of the
potential litigious implications -- a
prisoner who requests, or demands, a
trip to the hospital will almost always be
granted that request or demand.

Guess who's going to be responsible for
guarding that prisoner during his or her
emergency room visit?  Oh...and don't
expect to be put at the head of the line.  
With all the concern these days about
workplace hazards, hospitals haven't yet
put potentially dangerous criminals on
their lists of hazards.  

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