Cop Safety in Restaurants

By Calibre Press  |   Dec 2, 2019

Search the news and you’re guaranteed to find reports of officers being targeted for attack – either through physical assault or food tampering – while eating in or ordering from a public restaurant, fast food or otherwise. If this isn’t a scenario you consider and train for, it’s time to start.

Here are some officer safety tips to keep in mind when eating in or ordering from a public restaurant:

1. Look, smell & poke. Take a close look at your food before digging in. Lift the bun, stir the soup, root around the salad, etc. while watching for foreign objects or substances. Also, consider smelling your food before taking your first bite. Taking a whiff before eating might help sniff out a silent but effective attack.

2. Don’t be caught with your back to an attack. Avoid sitting with your back to the door and if possible, sit where you can get a clear view of the entire restaurant. Keeping a good visual can play a critical role in spotting developing trouble quickly. Just as a kitchen filled with knives, forks, glassware, and heavy metal objects can be one of the most dangerous places in a home, so it is with restaurants. If someone is looking to target an officer, a restaurant setting can present a golden opportunity. Remember that and always keep an eye out for the possibility.

3. Look around. If you’re in an unfamiliar place, make sure to take inventory of your surroundings. Where’s the nearest exit? How many routes in and out? Where would you take cover if an attack were to occur?

4. Train for different settings. Consider different restaurant settings and practice for defending yourself in various room configurations. Asking yourself these questions may help:

  1. Have I trained to get out of a chair or a booth quickly and immediately engage a subject?
  2. Have I practiced drawing from a seated position?
  3. How would I keep myself from being cornered in a booth during an attack?
  4. Have I trained to quickly use a table as a barrier between me and an attacker or a chair as an improvised weapon in a split second if needed?
  5. Have my partner and I discussed how we could both get away from the table or out of the booth without bumping into each other or otherwise tangling?

5. Don’t overlook weapons of opportunity for self-defense. Remember that some of the things in a restaurant that can be used against you, like knives, forks, and heavy plates, can also be used to protect yourself in worst-case-scenario situations.

6. Stay alert but DO relax. Although tactical awareness is a must in a restaurant, as it is in any setting, do allow yourself to relax while eating. In addition to helping you avoid destructive digestive issues, relaxing while you eat lunch or dinner also provides you with an important mental break.

Other tips to share? E-mail us at [email protected]

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Calibre Press has 37 years in the business of keeping officers safer, smarter and more successful, from rookie to retirement.