Sunday, January 11, 2009

Police Equipment From The Past.

Los Angeles, CA—I noticed that the uniform pockets of most local L.A. area police uniforms had sap pockets. I asked some of the coppers if they carried saps. They all did not even know what a sap or a blackjack was. I felt like a real dinosaur knowing I was old enough to be the father of these grown officers.

They carried other items in the sap pockets like flashlights or collapsible ASP batons.

Blackjacks are round and saps are flat. They are impact weapons designed for close up and personal combat. The bigger blackjacks will smash skulls and break bones. The idea is a person can be subdued with these impact weapons in short order.

I own five of these law enforcement relics in good condition. The two best I have are the Convoy blackjack and the Texan sap. I also have a great pair of deerskin gloves with six ounces of powered lead protecting each fist.

Saps were great to use for plain clothes assignments because regulation police batons are too difficult to conceal.

These weapons are outlawed for civilian possession in many states. They became a sore point (no pun intended) with minority groups and by the early 1970s were outlawed for police use. They became a public relations nightmare because of their effectiveness.

I have used both saps and blackjacks in street combat and found them to be helpful in causing aggressive suspects submit to arrest. I also found that often the mere display of a blackjack or sap was as counter-productive as waiving a red flag at a bull.

During the Blackjack Age, many suspects who were truly fearless wound up in dire need of dentures or suffered broken bones and fractured skulls with those associated neurological disasters.

In 1967 pop singer, singer Jimmy Rodgers was pulled over by an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer on the 405 San Diego Freeway. It was widely believed that the officer struck Rodgers in the head with a blackjack. Rodgers had little memory other than to say he was attacked. Rodgers endured a long recovery and rehabilitation period. The city settled out of court for $200, 000.00.


Anonymous said...

My father carried one of those for twenty years as a NYPD copper in his suit coat pocket and while it was a "messy" tool to use, it did stop those who would have tried to hurt him in their footsteps. but as i said, they created a lot of blood and wreck his coat stains.. the old copper

Anonymous said...

The ten inch flat. Saved my skinny tush more than three times. Less likely to cut if you used a forearm swing toward the side of the jaw or neck. One man car in the 60's on the midnights I had to plan on using it.

SabraUltra said...

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Anonymous said...

I remember When I came on and got one of theses. An old timer told me that these were great. They turned a little copper into a big copper.

Anonymous said...

Denver cops still use the sap. I've used one several times to good effect.

Anonymous said...

due to lapd viol the 1st amend rights of pro-life folks, they also lost knunchucks. Metro Division broke the wrists of passive resitant demonstartors as they simply sat on the ground.

Very Old Timer said...

Hey Paul , Don't know if you can remember back that far but when I was in the old academy on O'Brien St. there was a blind guy that ran the the little store within the building . His name was Hershel and that's where I purchaed my first flat sap that's still somewhere hidden in my house . If I can remember correctly . There was an incident on 76th & Stony Isl. about 1970 where a CPD officer was involved in a street stop and had to use his sap during a fight with a traffic stop and the guy was hit on the side of his head which caused him to fall on the curb and hit his head then died . That's the reason saps were banned in Chicago .

HI-CALIBER Private Investigations said...

Paul the ole 6 shooter wheel guns are fading out too.

Thankfully. I upgraded to a semi.
In one of my shootings I had to reload another magazine. Had I used a wheel gun then, I'd be dead and the suspect would probably still be alive today.

He had killed before me to. He was even previously shot. A year prior by on off duty LAPD Sgt whom the suspect stabbed and robbed at an ATM machine.

The citizens ought to be able to protect themselves as did that off duty Sgt

One less lethal-munition that I'm not fond of is the taser.

Anonymous said...

Al-u-min-nium blunt trauma!!

Anonymous said...

I always preferred the good ol' sap, it fit in the rear wallet pocket and it came out real quickly in a jam.