Multiple news articles reported on March 5th of an unusual incident involving a man in handcuffs and a patrol car.
On Friday, Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a 30-year-old male, named Cody Dwayne Hynum. Hynum had been stopped by deputies for stealing a pickup truck and then attempting to steal another vehicle. Like is procedure, Hynum was placed in handcuffs and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle.
Deputies failed to take into account that Hynum was arrested for auto theft and kept an eye on him while in the patrol car. Instead, Hynum kicked out one of the rear windows and climbed out of the back of the vehicle. From there he climbed in the driver’s seat and stole the patrol vehicle. This is not to say that the deputies are to blame, things happen.
Hynum then drove the car into a fence and attempted foot bail. Being still handcuffed, he didn’t make it far and was caught in woods near the scene of the crash.
This isn’t the only time that this has happened. In November 2015, a woman from Pennsylvania led officers on an 80 MPH chase with her hands cuffed behind her. Salem, OR in February 2017, another woman stole a police car after manipulating the position of her handcuffs. She too wrecker her car. A Indiana man in 2016 kicked out the cage in a patrol car and stole the car.
This article, and ones like it, serve as a great reminder to officers to keep their situational awareness high. If you are not aware of your prisoner’s actions, it could be your patrol car stolen next.
What can you do to prevent something similar from happening?
Keep Your Keys On You
There is a habit that we all get into of leaving our keys in the car with the doors locked. I do it sometimes and our local departments do it all the time. When it comes to having a prisoner in the back of your car though, it is time to take those keys out of the ignition and keep them on you. That way, if they do break out of the back, they can’t drive your car off.
Crack the windows if it is hot, or if you have bars on your windows, lower the windows completely. You shouldn’t be leaving the prisoner in the back of the car for too long anyways. The longer they are in the back of the car, the more likely there is to be an issue.
Monitor Prisoners at All Times
When you place someone in the back of your patrol car, do not leave them unattended. Make sure you, or another officer, is standing by. They don’t have to be right at the door but they should be able to hear if glass breaks or the car starts. Most departments have guidelines or best practices that involve this.
Use Hinged or Rigid Handcuffs
Chain handcuffs are the most commonly used handcuffs among security and law enforcement. They were required for my loss prevention and uniformed security positions. Now, I carry one set of chained Peerless P010 and Hiatts hinged handcuffs. Using hinged handcuffs makes it harder for a prisoner to move their cuffs around to the front. It also makes it harder to wiggle. Rigid handcuffs also work the same way.
The more a subject has trouble moving in the back of the car, the less likely they will be to get out.
Buckle Up For Safety
The seatbelts in the backseat of your car is there for safety during driving but it also works to retain the prisoner. When they are handcuffed they will find it difficult to undo the seatbelt or move at all. This will help to keep them in the seats. Further reducing the chance of an incident involving your patrol vehicle.
Utilizing these practices, you can reduce the chance of having a patrol car damaged or stolen. This will also increase officer safety and decrease potential cost to the department. Both are good things. Read more of our articles if you want to continue your training and/or get refreshers. It never hurts to continue your education and training.
About the author:
Ian graduated Seattle University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held positions as an Auxiliary Department of Public Safety Officer, a Security Patrol Supervisor, and as an in-house security officer for a major medical center. Through all of this he has picked up a wealth of experience, training, and education that he is happy to pass on to others. Ian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.