Nothing says compassion like striking someone with nunchakus… so a US police force has decided.
In order to "more compassionately gain compliance" from suspects, officers in the northern Californian town of Anderson are to be armed with the weapon made famous by martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
Police decided to go the way of the dragon to help reduce injuries to its officers and the offenders they arrest, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nunchakus, also known as danger sticks and nunchucks, were originally a farm tool used to harvest rice, but became a traditional Okinawan weapon after guns, swords and spears were prohibited during the Japanese occupation some 350 years ago, according to Weapons Universe.
The weapon traditionally comprises two wooden bars connected by chain or rope, but the nunchakus Anderson police are said to be using are made of hard plastic and nylon cord. Officers are being trained to wrap the weapon around offender’s wrists and ankles.
The police department was looking for a versatile tool that would limit injuries to officers and the people they detained – but that would still be an effective means of subduing an unruly suspect, Anderson Sergeant Casey Day told the Times.
Day said: “It gives us the ability to control a suspect instead of striking them."
Anderson Police Department Chief Michael Johnson told NBC News that the weapon would help to "more effectively arrest, control, and subdue non-compliant suspects".
He added: "The nunchaku can be deployed to more compassionately gain compliance from a suspect through pain application opposed to striking, as customary with the side-handled or straight baton."
Johnson said nunchakus were a more "sensitive" option to use to control offenders in the town of 10,000 people which is located about 150 miles north of Sacramento.
He said: "In an era where the general public is extremely sensitive to police techniques and use of force issues, [nunchakus offer] another force option that may offset some of the more aggressive perceptions the public has about police intervention."
On the website of the nunchakus’ manufacturer, Orcutt Police Defensive Systems Inc, the restraint technique is demonstrated. It shows a male officer using the weapon to grip the ankle of a man kicking him, and a female officer using it to hold a man’s wrist.
Retired Colorado police Sergeant Kevin Orcutt developed the police nunchaku in the 1980s.
Day has been certified to train Anderson police to use nunchakus, which officers have to pass a 16-hour training course to use.
He said the weapon allowed police to keep distance between themselves and offenders.
Greg Meyer, a use-of-force expert and former Los Angeles Police Department training captain told the Times that nunchakus became popular with police in the US in the 1980s with Anaheim, San Diego and the LAPD all using them at some time.
Some law enforcement agencies stopped using nunchakus when officers improperly used them - in some cases resulting in broken wrists, he said.
In 1991, the LAPD agreed to stop using nunchakus at protests – a decision sparked by a federal lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activists.
The department opted to settle the lawsuit following the March 3 beating of Rodney King, which happened that same year.
At the time, Deputy City Attorney Jack Brown, who was representing the LAPD, said the department was concerned about the public perception over using nunchakus to subdue people, the Times reported.