Following the cold-blooded killings of two upstate New York firefighters, a Bergen County police officer’s wife asked for a reminder here about two hidden-in-plain-sight dangers facing law enforcement: plastic handcuff keys and paracord bracelets.
“As if we don’t have enough to worry about when our husbands go to work,” she told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “These things are becoming very popular.”
The bracelet is made of 8-10 feet of cord with extreme tensile strength. Although the makers say it can be used for fishing line, lashing, or snares, they can be put to more dangerous use.
It also holds a second threat — a buckle that can hide a universal handcuff key.
Both sell for under $20.
Earlier this year in Alabama, a robbery suspect removed his restraints with a handcuff key hidden in a necklace, then stabbed a police officer to death.
What frustrated authorities most was that the killer had passed through the custody of other officers before the slain officer picked him up to be transported to a local jail. Search opportunities were missed, one said.
“How many police officers do we have to lose to poor prisoner searches before people start taking this seriously?” another commentor asked.
Slightly larger than a nickel, the flat, round keys are actually made from a “thermoplastic resin” blend.
They can evade metal detectors and be hidden in several places — on shirt tags, in a zipper pull, behind buttons or attached with silicone to watches and other items.
The makers claim these were designed for “hostage evasion scenarios” and could be “a life saver for travelers abroad.”
“Using their thumb and index finger on one hand, [users] can silently twist out the universal cuff key from its retaining ring and unlock the cuffs.”
Manufacturers sell other dangerous items, as well — including small knives that can be hidden in necklace medals and charms.
How do criminals get these items?
Where else? Online.