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 Espantoon

Espantoon Info/History

Webster's Third Edition: "An Espantoon In Baltimore, a policeman's stick" We would like to start out by saying we collect Nightsticks, Espantoons, Batons, Truncheons, Billy Clubs Etc. - If you have one for sale, or donation let us know as we are interested.  For what might be obvious reasons we particularly like Baltimore style sticks, aside from their being the sticks carried by our brothers they also show a progression not just in what we carried, or had made, but what the department had made for us. While we like Baltimore sticks, we collect them all, from any state in the US, to any country in the world. We hope to start a Baltimore Police Museum and would like to have as many we can to show what police have used for years to protect themselves and the public. Initially it could be a rolling museum, and they will be used to show the differences over the years, as well to show how they wear, do to their having been carried everywhere with an officer over his or her career. As for the Museum, Commissioner Batts has promised us the old Headquarters Museum again, so as soon as possible we will be trying to get back into that museum, and able to show off our history to the public. 

Ed Bremmer nightsticks quote


Follow-up, in 2015 - I signed a lease with the city of Baltimore to use what they call the Gallery in Police Headquarters, 601 E. Fayette St. it opened in June of 2017. We have a nice Espantoon exhibit on display with a Nomenclature stick color coded to better describe the parts of our Baltimore baton to include, holding end, striking end, Ring stop, Thong Groove, etc. The Espantoon is a Baltimore Police Nightstick that oddly enough is only carried in Baltimore, and if a Baltimre Officer gives his Espantoon to a County Officer it will no longer be an Espantoon almost the second t exchanges hands it will no longer be an Espantoon. What makes a Nightstick an Espantoon is the way it is held, the way it is spun and the way it is swung. The training of other agencies converts the espantoon into a Nightstick

Balt. City Police Nightstick-1a

Button Top Espantoon

ESPANTOON COLLECTIONS

Part of Or Collection

 

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 burrell Barrell

A Spontoon with a Burl-Head
Espantoon with a Barrel-Head

Grammar / Accents / Mispronounced / Misspelled 

Theories are as plentiful as to the idea of where the word espantoon came from as there are grains of sand on a beach. Therefore we won't present anything in this article as fact, just something to consider. Some of this will be covered more thoroughly throughout this page. But here we will try to mention these words (Espantoon and Barrell-Head) along with some ideas as to their origin just for the sake of compiling these ideas and suggestions into one place.

For many years there have been suggestions that Espantoon was a spelling error for Espontoon - A spontoon, also known by the variant in spelling as an Espontoon is a half-pike, a type of European Polearm that came into being alongside the Pike. The Spontoon was in wide use by the mid 17th century, and it continued its use until the mid to late 1800s.

Others say Espantoon could have derived from the Spanish verb "espan·tar" which, is said to mean, "To frighten, terrify, or to chase one off?" This theory has often been used, in fact, many Spanish-speaking researchers have suggested that it could be intentional; because as we just mentioned ESPANTO means to threaten, or chase. So putting the two together we would have Espanto and spontoon which equals Espantoon.

Mispronunciations; in looking at the parts of the Espantoon. Starting with the striking or weapon end; for years everyone that knew the parts called this the "Barrel-Head." Old timers not only said it was the Barrel-Head but pointed out how it's being curved outward in a shape that resembles a Barrel. We have included a photo below of our "Nomenclature Stick." The Nomenclature stick is made up of a K&I, Joe Hlafka Style Stick that was painted in a color-coded system to helps us better describe the parts of our espantoon. In the picture the Barrel-Head is painted "Blue," this looks like the handle of the baton, however, for us [Baltimore Police] it is the Striking or Jabbing end. We hold it by the shaft, which in the picture is color-coded by leaving the natural grain shown through a clear coat of polyurethane. The section of the shaft that is painted "Black" and labeled "Grip" is the end of the shaft that the stick is most often held by, or where it is caught while spinning the stick in an acrobatic method of entertaining our police during long shifts in which it is spun or twirled at the end of the Thong/strap. Other agencies, would use the shaft as the striking end.

Note: If we were using it to jab, we would put our strong hand on the lower end of the shaft, [ Color-coded in the photo with a dark grey-blue paint ] with our weak hand just under the "Ring-Stop," which in the color-coded key has a light grey-blue paint. With this, we could easily thrust the Barrel-Head forward in a jabbing motion toward a dangerous suspect with hopes of ending their threat toward us or someone else more quickly and with little to no injury to our adversary."

Oddly enough in other such blunt-end weapons, such as the "Irish Shillelagh" or the "African Knob-kierrie" both having either a naturally formed or a hand carved blunt striking end, the weapon end is called a "Burl-Head." Which raises the question, could it be that someone years ago, heard, or perhaps even said, Burl-Head but was misunderstood and believed to have said, "Barrel-Head." After all, Baltimore has a mix of Southern and Northern accents that can, and often have been misunderstood.

This mispronunciation argument brings us to another theory, in that perhaps Espantoon, isn't a misspelling of Espontoon, or the collusion of two words, but a mispronunciation or misunderstanding of, "a spontoon." Said with a Baltimore accent that could turn, Burl-Head to Barrel-Head; we could easily have a situation in which someone heard Espantoon out of, "A spontoon."

We have newspaper articles dating back into the early 1800's in which the Espantoon is called, a Baton, a Spontoon, a Nightstick, a Billy Club, a Club, an Espantoon, and others. So we know for many years it has been called an Espantoon in Baltimore.

Initially, the espantoon was referred to as a "Mace" in city council when on 19 March 1798 - Baltimore made the first of a particular step toward creating the Chief of Police, or Marshal as he would later become. Officers would become known as a "City Constable” or “High Constable” and were appointed; it was his duty at the time to tour the city frequently as he carried his Mace, which came to be known as his badge of authority and to report on lawbreakers. By the turn of the century, Baltimore had again become an unmanageable, and rebellious city. It was a bustling community with a population of 31,514 and one historian at the time remarked [perhaps foolishly] that, "The city was a rendezvous of a number of evil characters."

One of the first mentions of the Espantoon in the Baltimore Sun News came on 5 Oct 1837 under an article entitled, "Beating a Watchman" in the article, it reads - Two men, named Samuel Farr and George Crist, were brought up yesterday morning at Centre Watch-house, [the middle district] before Wm. A Schaffer, Esq. They were arrested by Lieutenant Delcher, and Watchman Speaks, charged with taking from the latter his Espantoon and Rattle, beating him severely, and setting a bulldog on him. They were both committed fully for trial. This date is early proof that the word Espantoon has been around for a long time, it doesn't indicate that it was the first time, or even the year it was first used, as the Baltimore Sun wasn't a newspaper in Baltimore before 17 May 1837. In another Sun report dated 18 Nov 1843, the Sun reports on two officers found sleeping in their Watch-box. The article entitled, "Doors Found Shut" - has the following report on officers found sleeping. It reads, Lieutenants Kremer and Glennan of the Western District, in doing their rounds at half past 2 o'clock [AM] found the doors of two Watch-boxes shut and the occupants [inside] fast asleep. The Spantoon of one of whom was taken to the Watch-house. Spontoon with an "O" was used on 20 March 1838 in a Sun Article. In the article it reads; Thomas Keene, with six or seven companions, was enjoying himself one evening this week by upsetting the boxes and grindstones that impeded his somewhat devious course along Pratt Street, and disturbing the peace of the city and the slumbers of it's good citizens. Richard Lawton, interrupted the sport, when the whole party turned upon him, took away his Spontoon, and beat him severely. They all managed to make their escape except Keene, who was discovered hiding on a board of a steamboat and taken to the Watch-house. Today [ Tue, Mar 20, 1838 ] he was sentenced to one week's imprisonment and to pay a fine of $1 and costs.

To strengthen the point of the local use of Spontoon or Espontoon, in an 1878 news article in which the Sun reports of rioting in Toronto the use the words "Police Baton" is used to describe a police nightstick. We won't offer the entire article as we have the Baltimore reports. Instead, we will only include the pertinent information. It was 20 March 1878 - After multiple attacks in which both sides used pistols on their enemy, police were called out and responded with some 90 officers against two mobs totaling more than 1000 in all. Through all the rounds fired from both side only four men were shot. In the end, all of the police were injured in varying degrees. One was knocked out after having been struck in the head with a rock. More than 140 of the rioters were injured, Officers didn't fire a single shot, they fought the rebels back, careful not to appear to have picked sides, they only used Police Batons to hold back and eventually control the crowds.

When speaking of Baltimore Police, the Sun often uses Spontoon, Spantoon, Nightstick, Billy Club, Club or Espantoon, when speaking of other countries and other agencies they used Baton, Nightstick and other terms used for the club type weapon.

Knowing Spontoon, Spantoon, and Espantoon all of which were used as early as 1837, and without a description telling readers what an Espantoon was; would only make it fair to assume that it had to have been a term in common use at the time.

The different spellings most likely coming either from the different pronunciations; as a result of our northern and southern Baltimore accents. This leading to its having been spelled with an "A," or with an "O" giving us Spontoon or Spantoon. Making it plausible that as the word Barrel-Head most likely came from the word Burl-Head; Espantoon could have resulted from something as simple as someone saying, "A Spantoon," and someone hearing that as, "Espantoon."

In closing, we need to take into consideration that the Baltimore Sun wasn't a paper in Baltimore until 17 May 1837. So Espantoon could go back the 1700's for all we know. And this article isn't about what makes a nightstick, and Espantoon, for that we would look at the article elsewhere on this page entitled

This is just something to think about, because after more than 200 years no matter how, or why Baltimore's Mace became an Espantoon, with a Barrel-head; it is now, and will remain an Espantoon, with a Barrel-Head.

To Be Continued
As Research and Feedback Permits

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In the December 7th 1947 Sun paper article written by Ralph Reppert entitled "Swing Class-In Blue" The third column over said something to the effects of what follows - The official Espantoon of the Baltimore Police is issued in a natural color, with a thin coat of transparent enamel to prevent its discoloration. Almost all of the patrolmen of the time would scrape away the enamel coating and stain the club to either a dark walnut or a reddish-brown mahogany hue. 

Several men called “iodine” the best wood dye, saying it provided a luster that could not be matched by any commercially prepared wood stains on the market. There was a third group that puts their departmentally issued Espantoon on a lathe and burnished them to a deep mahogany color. Other woods have been tried by the few policemen who made their own Espantoons. Those wood types included redwood, rosewood, ebony, cocobolo, and a wood that would become most sought after and used up until the time of these writings, that was Bubinga (an African Redwood.) But one of the most talked about, and a personal favorite of mine was made of Lignum Vitae; Lignum Vitae was the unicorn of Espantoons; it seemed everyone had one but couldn’t find it, or they knew someone that knew someone that had one, but again they couldn’t provide a name. The latter of these wood types were tropical grown and therefore harder than locally grown wood, and more expensive.

Personally, I would like to take one of these two unused issued sticks and follow the traditions of the old timers by removing that thin coat of enamel and applying a generous coat of iodine as a stain. With this, we would have the 1940's issue stick, as it came in officers would alter it.Some on a lathe, others with a simple pocket knife and sandpaper. As well we would have a 1987 unstained stick, with had no enamel coating and no thong/strap.  

The friendly protective image of a policeman twirling his Espantoon on the street corners of Baltimore City was gradually fading out of the American scene. This change was coming about for two reasons. The first being the long thong which made for a more free twirling was replaced in many cities by a short strap barely long enough to pass around the officer's wrist. Espantoons have been wrestled away from police officers while they were worked crowd control or riot duty. This was said to have been a safety measure. The second reason had to do with departmental regulations against anything but an orderly, inconspicuous displayof the Espantoon. That being said, Baltimore's Police Department has never really enforced it’s swing rule's and in fact when this writer passed through the Academy in 1987. An instructor (Sergeant) offered anyone that was interested in giving up a lunch break or two, a chance to learn to spin their Espantoon. I would bet more than half the guys in our class took him up on his offer. Which was a good thing because not only do police kind of judge each other on their ability to police his or her post but whether or not they could spin their Espantoon. It would be hard for the department to enforce rules against spinning, after all as the 1947 article pointed out, telling a Baltimore Officer not to swing his Espantoon would like telling a happy man not to whistle.  

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 Nightstick

Going back the history of the nightstick, for many, it is a favorite in weapons of self-defense. Think about it; it is as primal as a stick. When we think of cavemen, we think of a club. Going back to the nightstick, billy club or mace, they are all the same in that they are a various form of a stick. Initially, they were used to fend off a threat, and not used unless it was an absolute last resort. In my years as a police officer carrying an Espantoon (we’ll get into that term later.), but in my years, only very seldom was the stick needed for striking. In most cases, it was like the racking of a shotgun, or growl of a dog in that once it was drawn from its ring, or removed from under the arm where they are most often carried, a suspect would submit. When needed however it was an effective tool, that protected officer and the public from violent offenders. Ed Bremer an artisan that turned Espantoons for Baltimore Police once said, “Nightsticks save lives, preventing officers from needing to escalate from hand to hand combat to the use of a firearm.” What much of the public does not understand is police are not paid to be abused. They don’t have to wait until they are about to be beat unconscious; in fact, they don’t have to take a single blow from anyone. If someone advances in a threatening manner, they don’t have to wait until they are injured to defend. A reasonable and prudent man would stop their advances when a firearm is drawn, and if they don’t that in and of itself is an indication of their intent, giving an officer a justifiable right to defend. Self-defense can be extended to those around an officer, so if not only can he use his Nightstick or firearm to defend his or herself, but they can defend those around them. While on the subject, something that is often misconstrued by the media, and online forums, when an incident escalates to the use of a billy club, or firearm, say after a shoplifting case, or a moving violation. An officer has never in recent years justifiably shot anyone for a moving violation, theft, littering or other minor violation. In fact, there are only a handful of justifiable times when an officer can fire their firearm. Those time include; being on a firing range. To stop the suffering of a critically wounded animal. To defend the officer or a member of society from a threat of immediate danger. To signal in the event of an emergency, where yelling for help, or radio contact is not otherwise available. To stop a fleeing felon. Each of these has strict rules that will be investigated under a magnifying glass with severe penalties for any infraction of the rules. Those penalties include anything from being fired, to being criminally charged. For instance, while at the range, there are instructions called out, an officer can only shoot when and where they are instructed shoot. Firing sequences are given to officers. Scores are kept based on accuracy and following directions. Counts of rounds fired, time limits to fire said sequence of rounds.  Fail these tests, and an officer would no longer be allowed to carry a firearm, unable to carry a firearm and the officer would be relieved of his duties. To kill an animal in distress, the officer better know the animal is not going to make it. The animal better be making sounds, or be mangled in such a way that have those around are thinking the same thing about the animals need to be euthanized. The shot had better be safe, i.e. the officer's background has to be safe, so as not to have the round pass through the animal and strike an onlooker. So while it is legal, it is heavily scrutinized.  Firing on a suspect in self-defense is another case where it has to be obvious that not taking the shot would lead to death or serious injury of either the officer or a member of the public. This doesn’t mean if an officer doesn’t want to be slapped, they can shoot. But at the same time, if an officer has their gun drawn and trained on the subject, the subject has to realize continuing their course of action could lead to their being shot, and if the officer gives instruction to stop or they will shoot. The suspect has to be held responsible for his or her actions. One can only assume that a person isn’t advancing just to slap the officer’s face or spit on them and that their actions of continuing an advance on an armed officer that has his firearm drawn is not reasonable or prudent. The next time that it is permitted to use a firearm would be if there is a situation where an officer is in need of assistance. Say they are injured,  they have fallen deep into a ravine, they’ve tried yelling for help but no one can hear them, and their radio either isn’t transmitting or has no power. The Officer can fire into the ground to signal for help. The final reason an officer could discharge a firearm is at a fleeing felon. In the case of a fleeing felon, it has to be a dangerous felon such as a known murderer, rapist, etc. someone we know will pose a serious threat to society. Say an officer is chasing a known violent felon, and that felon is running toward a school yard, public park, etc. and knowing his or her making it to that park puts children or people in the park at risk; the officer has a right to stop that threat.  In fact, if the officer does not stop the threat, and someone is injured or killed the public would have every right to question why the officer didn’t stop the threat. They could and would blame the officer for not protecting them from someone they knew had the potential of bringing them harm and the officer would have to answer for that as well. Not to mention the self-blame, self-doubt officers put on themselves. Those are the five reasons, and each of them is scrutinized looking for reasons to punish the officer if he was wrong. None of the reasons has anything to do with theft, failure to obey, littering, etc. So if a suspect is stopped for committing a minor infraction of the law, and that subject is shot during the encounter, he or she was not shot for the initial cause of the stop, but for something they did during the stop. The shooting will be investigated, evidence at the crime scene had better match statement(s) given by officer(s), and or witness(es). Having been involved in shootings myself, I know the investigative process, the interrogations the officer is put through by Homicide,  Internal Investigation (also known as Internal Affairs) The State’s Attornies Office, etc. Aside from being treated like a criminal, there is the psychological part of dealing with either having taken or nearly taken a life. So for those that second guess officer-involved shootings, it is not something police want to do, and if an officer does want to go out and shoot people they need to find a different line of work. That kind of person is usually found out in the psychological evaluation portion of the hiring process and either not hired or quickly relieved of their duty after being hired. It is not widely known, but the entire academy process is also an evaluation of the trainee's temperament, their ability to do the job, either physically or mentally. So as we can see, Mr. Bremer was correct when he said, “Nightsticks Save Lives!” If a subject can be stopped before things reach a level of needing a firearm. More often than not just withdrawing the stick from its ring, or switching it from under your arm to your strong hand, will cause a suspect to cease their threat. Of course, when we say this we mean correctly used. Correctly use, Officers are trained not to strike for the head, or areas that could kill someone. We are trained to aim for tibia and fibula or femurbones in the leg. Or the bones in the arm that won’t cause permanent injury, mainly blocking anything swinging toward us. So as a person attempts to punch an officer, the officer is to swing for their arm and step through if they go to kick the officer, he can aim for the leg and step through. Police are not aiming for knees or elbows that could cripple the subject. If you think about it, it is an odd profession, someone if trying to bring harm to an officer, while the officer is trying to stop that threat without causing serious harm to the subject. Once the threat has stopped, either with the nightstick, or a firearm, the officer evidently goes into first responder mode providing first-aid working to help and sometimes save the suspect’s life. Where did the name nightstick come from, what is a “nightstick?  A nightstick is one of two types of batons carried by police in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. At one time officers in this country were not allowed to carry a baton during daylight hours, a baton or billy club was carried during night shifts. That in and of itself didn’t make it a nightstick; it wasn’t until someone came up with a much shorter stick that was discreetly carried during the day. Now we had two different sticks, and a need to differentiate between the two. With that one simply became known as a day stick, and the other obviously the nightstick.  

Before we go too far let’s look at the differences between a billy club, and a baton; a billy club has a handle at one end and a tapered shaft at the other. Think of a caveman’s club, tapering out from the end it is held by to the striking end that was swung at the subject. A baton, on the other hand, is normally a straight shaft with no taper, in most cases, a handle or barrel head is turned into the baton while it is being formed on the lathe. A straight stick is more commonly used on the Westcoast and has grooves cut into one or both ends to act as a grip aiding the officer in the retention of the stick during its use. Often the grips on the straight stick are either cut in as a “ring grip” or a “fluted grip.” If the stick made a polycarbonatesplastic, it could be vacuum molded and have both a “Ring grip” and a “Fluted Grip” combined to form what is known as a “Grenade grip.”

In Baltimore we carry an Espantoon, which is more along the lines of a baton, the shaft is straight, and it is affixed to a thong which we have grown to use for swinging/spinning the stick. We will go more into describing the Espantoon and what makes it an espantoon later in these writings. In the mid to late 1800’s law enforcement devised two sticks, a long stick as much at 24” to 26" but more often 21” – 22” to be carried during the night shift, and a shorter stick typically 12” to 14” that was carried during the day. This gave us a stick for the day shift aka the “Day-Stick” and of course, the stick for the night shift the better known of the two called the “Nightstick.” 

Baltimore like most cities developed their own style, unlike Chicago that had blueprints that their sticks were turned to. Giving them a design used by them; with one shape for Officers and another for Supervisors. Baltimore had a size and basic shape, but in the late 50’s officers started having sticks made by artisan outside the department. These guys would turn sticks to departmental guidelines but of different type wood that what was issued, stained in different tones than what was the norm at the time. At one time guys were staining their sticks using Iodine from the first aid kits. One of the first guys to turn sticks that was recognized by local media and became a favorite among police was a man named Carl Hagen. Mr. Hagen turned a quality stick, that was near the same size as the issued stick, but with a unique shape. Making his sticks a little nicer than the issued stick. Also, Mr. Hagen’s sticks were stained and strapped, unlike the issued sticks which came to us unstained, without a thong/strap. So buying from Mr. Hagen officers were provided with a stained and strapped ready go stick. Before long a man named Edward Bremer came along, Mr. Bremer a retired cabinet maker started pushing the envelope, not only did he use harder exotic woods, but he also started making his sticks a little oversize, adding what he called a “nib” to the barrel head. That nib was added so that his stick could be used to jab as well as strike. It wouldn’t take long before officers that bought from Mr. Hagen would ask him if he could make his sticks larger and from these same kinds of exotic woods and he gave them what they wanted creating a unique style of his own. By the time the early 70’s rolled around a young Officer by the name of Joe Hlafka came along, and he went a little larger than Mr. Bremer or Mr. Hagen’s stick. On top of size “Nightstick Joe” as he would come to be known, came home after a long day at work and laid down on his couch to rest. As he was laying there, he saw his keys on a coffee table, noticing the leather strap on his ring to be not much different from the strap on his Espantoons but with a swivel on the keys. He decided to take the swivel off his keys and weave it into the strap of his stick. Now with a swivel in the strap, he could spin his stick forward or backward for as long as he desired without concern of the strap becoming tangled into itself. Before the addition of the swivel, officers could only swing the stick a few times forward a few times backward. With practice, you could continue this for as long as they wanted, forward once or twice, backward once or twice forward one or twice, backward once or twice, etc., etc., etc. Before long everyone had a swivel added to their strap. Mr. Hagen and Mr. Bremer were re-strapping sticks to add a swivel. At the end of the 1990’s the keychain, swivel was replaced with a swivel made for a fishing lure. Most commonly these new swivels have an 800lb test weight.  This gave us a smoother quieter swivel that was less likely to break, yes break…  The keychain swivels were known to break a few times over the years, and when they did, the stick would always find the most expensive of targets to land on. This writer knows of two different officers that bought plate glass storefront windows. When you could only spin it forward and backward a few times in both directions the strap would also become weak ad fracture, also costing officers money out fo their pocket to cover the cost of damage from a broken stick. But a good officer could spin it for what might have looked indefinite, a time or two forward, a time or two back continued until they brought it to rest with a final catch in the palm of their hand. Spinning, by the way, is said to have come about for multiple reasons, one boredom, walking a beat late at night for 10 to 12 hours with nothing else to do, the officers would spin the stick, much like playing with a yo-yo to pass the time. A second reason was to create distance; by spinning the stick, people couldn’t get closer than 3’ or 4’ of the officer’s “personal space!” And the final reason is similar to the distance theory in that it was meant to prevent trouble if people saw you could handle the stick, with these fancy Forward flips, Backward Flip, aka Outside Loop, Side-Swings, Overhand swing, and The Recovery people were less likely to try you.

So how did the Espantoon evolve? Well, the first thing we should do is learn the nomenclature of the Espantoon. To start, we need to realize the end that looks like a handle is called the “Barrelhead.” The opposite end is called the “Shaft.” Between the Shaft and the Barrelhead where the thong strap is located is called the “Thong groove,” the bottom portion of the thong groove is called a “Ring stop” and is there to stop the stick in the nightstick ring, preventing it from getting tangled up on the officer's belt. On of the first things we did was to elongate the strap, making the strap just over the length of the shaft, reaching from the thong groove to the end of the shaft often an inch or two past the end of the shaft. Allowing for two things; first, it allows us to do those fancy spins you just read about, providing a near perfect balance in the espantoon. But more importantly, it helps make an Espantoon an espantoon; it allows us to flip the stick down from the normally held position tapping it on the street. Baltimore police hold their sticks from the opposite end one would suspect. What looks like the handle is the striking end. So when held at the end of the shaft, with the barrel head extended out away from us, the stick could be flipped down tapping the end of the shaft on the cobblestone street, signaling officers on the next, or surrounding posts. The number of taps could tell how urgent the call for help was.

Officers would also call to each other by striking their batons on other objects like walls, steps, downspouts or garbage cans, etc. The straps allowed them to do this even at a distance, like hitting the curb or sidewalk without a need of bending down; the stick would be flipped forward, the shaft striking the ground and bouncing right back up into the palm of the officer’s hand where he would catch it. Twirling their sticks would serve as a deterrent to discourage people from coming too close. It would communicate the officer’s skill level in wielding his Espantoon, offering the same visual spectacle that gun twirling served in Wild West shows.

There was a time when Baltimore Police Officers were stripped of our espantoons, Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier didn’t like our sticks, and had a total disregard for our history. So while in office from 1994 to 2000 he replaced the Espantoon with a type of Westcoast straight stick. A stick made popular by Joe Koga that Officer’s called a Koga stick, not it’s proper name, but considering it came with training from a martial arts school called owned and designed by Joe Koga, we had to call it something. If I were to order one of these sticks from the Koga Institute, it would be called a Standard Baton. In 1994 with the hiring of Commissioner Edward Norris, the Espantoon was brought back, with one minor difference, the department was no longer issuing an Espantoon. Now if an officer wants an espantoon, they can carry it, but at their own expense. When I came on the department 1987, an Espantoon would cost an officer $25… today they are closer to $100 after staining strapping and shipping. At that price I would go on eBay and try to buy a vintage stick, Joe Hlafka Sticks go for anywhere from $100 to $125 on eBay at the time of this writing.

So now let's get into the name Espantoon. There have been tons of theories; the term can be found in local news articles dating back almost to the start of Baltimore’s Sun paper in 1837.  Before I get to far into it, I would like to point out that myself along with several close friends have been researching the word Espantoon for years when I came up with a unique theory that was easy to understand but hard to explain. Then as I re-read an old newspaper article entitled Espantoon: A Private Club? Published in the Baltimore Sun 19 July 1971 on page A15 that was more questions than answers. At first, I thought it was a waste of time, but as I continued to read I realized, the author may have unintentionally through sarcasm answered, or at least helped to explain my theory. So, we’ll start with those questions written in as excerpts from that 1971 Sun article, specifically those that I found most interesting.

“The definition, in turn, raises a lot of metaphysical problems about time, space and the essence of Espantoons. Suppose for example, that a Philadelphia policeman drives through Baltimore on his way to Richmond and has his nightstick, Billy club, or whatever, along with him. Does it become an Espantoon within the limits of the city of Baltimore? What does "Baltimore, U.S." mean? Are Espantoons owned only by Baltimore City policemen? Or are there Espantoons in the county, say in Reisterstown or Catonsville? Suppose a Baltimore policeman moves to Ashtabula. He might. We’ll think of his club as an Espantoons, but would it be a Baltimore Espantoon?”

We should take this a step further and ask ourselves, "What if a City Officer were to give his Espantoon to a County Officer, would it still be an Espantoon?" And my answer would be if that officer uses the stick the way he was trained to use a nightstick by his agency. (before the PR 24, or Asp.) Then the answer would have to be, if it is used in any other way than the way we use it, it is not an Espantoon. This coupled with some photos we had recently pulled of Baltimore officers back into the 1800’s and officers from today in Baltimore City compared to officers in other cities around the country, and around the world. It would appear that it would no longer be an Espantoon in the hands of anyone that doesn't use it the way we do. It is a Baltimore thing, a specific style of stick, one with a straight shaft, a ring stop, thong groove, thong strap, and barrel head is only part of it. But even all of this doesn’t make it an Espantoon until it is used or intended to be used the way we would use it. Almost like a butter knife being used as a screwdriver, it would be a screwdriver until we stop tightening, or loosening screws, and go back to spreading butter. When a Baltimore Officer uses his or her Espantoon, they hold it at the shaft end and swing the barrel head, others hold the barrel head (mistaking it for a handle) and swing the shaft. The barrel head is the weapon end of our modern-day mace/spontoon. So, it is not the baton that makes it an Espantoon; it’s how the baton is held and how it is used.

What follows is some of our research regarding the Espantoon. We’ll begin by examining the nomenclature of the Espantoon and the information we gathered regarding the word Espantoon itself. Then we’ll go into the importance of Mr. Ordway’s questions

Starting at the bottom of the stick we have the ”Shaft,” this is the longest portion of the Espantoon, normally it is straight with no carvings, however within the last 35 to 50 years or so, some stick turners have turned a few ring grooves into the shaft for added grip. The shaft of a regulation 22” to 23” stick is between 15” and 16” long. Then we come to the first raised section of the shaft, this is called a “Ring Stop” and serves two purposes; the first is to stop the stick from passing through the officer’s nightstick ring. The second is to act as the bottom portion of the “Thong Groove.” A “Thong Groove,” is the groove between the shaft, ring stop and the barrel head that we weave the sticks leather thong or strap around. Above the Thong Groove is the “Barrel Head,” and by the way, the bottom of the barrel head has a block that is very similar in appearance to the ring stop, it forms a concentric top and bottom to the thong groove and the bottom of the barrel head. The Barrel Head can be convex like a whiskey barrel, or straight like the shaft. In the 1930’s thru the 50’s and even into the 60’s officer’s would take their issued stick and carve or whittle away the convex portion of the barrel head to give them a straight barrel head. Some took it down to the same diameter as the stick’s shaft and then carved 3 or 4 grooves into that. The top of the barrel head can have what Bremer called a “Nib.” The Nib was a smaller tip, usually a small ball, or bump carved or turned into the design, to blend in and make it look nice. The Nib was used for jabbing, and to aid in pressure points.   The first time a police nightstick was mentioned as it pertains to the Baltimore Police Department was in 1798 when it was referred to as a “Mace.” The date was 19 March 1798 - An officer, then known as “The City Constable” or “The High Constable,” was created by the ordinance on that day (19 March 1798). His duty was "to walk through the streets, lanes, and alleys of the city daily, with his mace in hand. Taking such rounds, within a reasonable time so that he might visit all parts of the city.” As an interesting point, the Mace was known as his, “Badge of Authority.” This is interesting because in the spring of 1987 when I joined the Baltimore Police Department I was issued an Espantoon, and my background investigator an officer with the last name, Washington told me two things. First, he said, “always to carry your Espantoon.” He explained how it should be carried, while walking my post, how it should be held while standing at rest, holding it under the arm freeing up both hands, etc. He was resolute about my having it in my possession at all times while at work, saying, “This is your badge of authority.” He did tell me a third thing that day that I have carried with me all these years, I told it to my kids, my wife, and my friends. I have lived by it in the interrogation room, and in fact told my interrogation teachers and subsequent students. Officer Washington said, “God gave you two eyes, and two ears, but he only gave you one mouth… This is the perfect police officer’s tool box as it reminds us to do twice as much looking and listening as we do talking.” Pay attention folks, while you are talking, your subjects can’t talk, and if they are not talking, you won’t learn anything from them.

Anyway, through the years we know the Espantoon started out being called a Mace. For those that don’t know, a mace is a blunt end weapon, a type of club that uses a heavy head on one end of a shafted handle that leads down to the other and is used to deliver a powerful blow. The first time we find the mace being referred to as an Espantoon was in a Sun paper report dated 18 April 1843 - pg. 2. That article was entitled, “Night Spree” and in it, it described an incident that occurred on Light Street in which a group of young men had apparently been drinking and were being disorderly. Someone knocked one to these young men to the ground, and another was supposedly leaning over him to help him up when the Officer arrived. Or so this is what they told the courts. In any event, as the Watchman arrived on the scene, witnessing a drunk and disorderly act taking place on a public street, he went to arrest one of these young men. At this point, the young man began to resist. The officer felt the need to use his baton and as he raised the stick, one of the other young men from the group, “raised his hand and caught hold of the Espantoon of the Watchman!” Other Watchmen were arriving on scene and quickly quashed the incident before assisting in the arrests of both young men. This was the first time we found the word, “Espantoon” in our local papers. The next time we would find it used was two years later, in November of 1845 in an article written by a Washington correspondent about a Washington DC incident regarding a fire. The article was entitled, “More Incendiarism”  it occurred on 15 Nov 1845 and ran on page 4 of the Baltimore Sun. The author wrote of an Officer who after coming up on a livery stable fire at the corner of C and 6th streets (Washington DC) found several liveries workers freeing horses and other livestock from the burning building. With this, the Watchman, “using his Spontoon, tore away the burning hay and with much difficulty extinguished the fire.” This occurred again in 1851 in a Baltimore Sun article entitled, “Assaulting the Watch.” 13 May 1851; pg. 1 “In the Western District on Sunday night last, a party of young men were brought in by the watch; charged with assaulting and beating Watchman Michael Kraft, and taking his Espontoon from him…” In this we see it misspelled, but let's face it, it was not yet entered into Webster’s dictionary, and my guess would be Google ran much slower in 1851 than it does today.

So now we have it called a “Mace” in 1798, forty-five years later in 1843, we find it referred to as an “Espantoon.” Two years after this it is a “Spontoon.” Now let’s look into some other articles. In a 1979 letter to the editor of the Sun entitled, “Espantoon” 19 July 1979; on page A16,  the writer asks the following, “Sir: In his witty and amusing 10 July 1979 article, Girard Ordway does not suggest an origin for the word "espantoon." Is it not probable that this is derived from the Spanish verb "espan·tar" which, according to my dictionary, means "To frighten, terrify, or chase you?"

This was not the first time this question had been asked, or the suggestion made, in fact, many Spanish-speaking researchers have suggested that it could be intentional as ESPANTO means to threaten, so putting the two together we have Espanto + spontoon = Espantoon

  

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What follows is some of our research regarding the Espantoon. Examine the nomenclature of the Espantoon and the information we gathered regarding the word Espantoon. Then we’ll go into the importance of Mr. Ordway’s questions


Starting at the bottom of the stick we have the ”Shaft,” this is the longest portion of the Espantoon, normally it is straight with no carvings, however within the last 35 to 50 years or so, some stick turners have turned a few grooves into the shaft for added grip. The shaft of a regulation 22” to 23” stick is between 15” and 16. Then we come to the first raised section off of the shaft, this is called a “Ring Stop” and serves two purposes; the first is to stop the stick from falling through the officer’s nightstick ring. The second is to act as the bottom portion of the “Thong Groove.” A “Thong Groove,” is the groove between the shaft, ring stop and the barrel head that we weave the sticks leather thong or strap around. Above the Thong Groove is the “Barrel Head,” and by the way, the bottom of the barrel head has a block that is very similar in appearance to the ring stop, it forms a concentric top and bottom to the thong groove and the bottom of the barrel head. The Barrel Head can be convex like a whiskey barrel, or straight like the shaft. In the 1930’s thru the 50’s and even into the 60’s officer’s would take their issued stick and carve or whittle away the convex portion of the barrel head to give them a straight barrel head. Some took it down to the same diameter as the stick’s shaft and then carved 3 or 4 grooves into that. The top of the barrel head can have what Bremer called a “Nib.” The Nib was a smaller tip, usually a small ball, or bump carved or turned into the design, to blend in and make it look nice. The Nib was used for jabbing, and to aid in pressure points.   The first time a police nightstick was mentioned as it pertains to the Baltimore Police Department was in 1798 when it was referred to as a “Mace.” The date was 19 March 1798 - An officer, then known as “The City Constable” or “The High Constable,” was created by the ordinance on that day (19 March 1798). His duty was "to walk through the streets, lanes, and alleys of the city daily, with his mace in hand. Taking such rounds, within a reasonable time so that he might visit all parts of the city.” As an interesting point, the Mace was known as his, “Badge of Authority.” This is interesting because in the spring of 1987 when I joined the Baltimore Police Department I was issued an Espantoon, and my background investigator an officer with the last name, Washington told me two things. First, he said, “always to carry your Espantoon.” He explained how it should be carried, while walking my post, how it should be held while standing at rest, holding it under the arm freeing up both hands, etc. He was resolute about my having it in my possession at all times while at work, saying, “This is your badge of authority.” He did tell me a third thing that day that I have carried with me all these years, I told it to my kids, my wife, and my friends. I have lived by it in the interrogation room, and in fact told my interrogation teachers and subsequent students. Officer Washington said, “God gave you two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth… This is the perfect police officer’s tool box as it reminds us to do twice as much looking and listening as we do talking.” Pay attention folks, while you are talking, your subjects can’t talk, and if they are not talking, you won’t learn anything from them.

Anyway, through the years we know the Espantoon started out being called a Mace. For those that don’t know, a mace is a blunt end weapon, a type of club that uses a heavy head on one end of a shafted handle that leads down to the other and is used to deliver a powerful blow. The first time we find the mace being referred to as an Espantoon was in a Sun paper report dated 18 April 1843 - pg. 2. That article was entitled, “Night Spree” and in it, it described an incident that occurred on Light Street in which a group of young men had apparently been drinking and were being disorderly. Someone knocked one to these young men to the ground, and another was supposedly leaning over him to help him up when the Officer arrived. Or so this is what they told the courts. In any event, as the Watchman arrived on the scene, witnessing a drunk and disorderly act taking place on a public street, he went to arrest one of these young men. At this point, the young man began to resist. The officer felt the need to use his baton and as he raised the stick, one of the other young men from the group, “raised his hand and caught hold of the Espantoon of the Watchman!” Other Watchmen were arriving on scene and quickly quashed the incident before assisting in the arrests of both young men. This was the first time we found the word, “Espantoon” in our local papers. The next time we would find it used was two years later, in November of 1845 in an article written by a Washington correspondent about a Washington DC incident regarding a fire. The article was entitled, “More Incendiarism”  it occurred on 15 Nov 1845 and ran on page 4 of the Baltimore Sun. The author wrote of an Officer who after coming up on a livery stable fire at the corner of C and 6th streets (Washington DC) found several liveries workers freeing horses and other livestock from the burning building. With this, the Watchman, “using his Spontoon, tore away the burning hay and with much difficulty extinguished the fire.” This occurred again in 1851 in a Baltimore Sun article entitled, “Assaulting the Watch.” 13 May 1851; pg. 1 “In the Western District on Sunday night last, a party of young men were brought in by the watch; charged with assaulting and beating Watchman Michael Kraft, and taking his Espontoon from him…” In this we see it misspelled, but let's face it, it was not yet entered into Webster’s dictionary, and my guess would be Google ran much slower in 1851 than it does today. 

So now we have it called a “Mace” in 1798, forty-five years later in 1843, we find it referred to as an “Espantoon.” Two years after this it is a “Spontoon.” Now let’s look into some other articles. In a 1979 letter to the editor of the Sun entitled, “Espantoon” 19 July 1979; on page A16,  the writer asks the following, “Sir: In his witty and amusing 10 July 1979 article, Girard Ordway does not suggest an origin for the word "espantoon." Is it not probable that this is derived from the Spanish verb "espan·tar" which, according to my dictionary, means "To frighten, terrify, or chase you?"

This was not the first time this question had been asked, or the suggestion made, in fact, many Spanish-speaking researchers have suggested that it could be intentional as ESPANTO means to threaten, so putting the two together we have Espanto + spontoon = Espantoon

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carl hagen circa 1960

In Other Cities, It's Just a Policeman's Club  

by Reynold Stantley

Once upon a midnight hot
While I pondered “on the spot.”

Over books with knowledge crammed
Feeling like a person damned

While I peered all board in June
seeking the meaning of Espantoon

Came a Raven black and geaven
In his eyes dull gloom and engraven

Then he opened wide his beak
Gave a most unearthly squeak

Quotas the Raven “take a hop;
“Espantoon? Go ask a cop.”

The Way of a Lost Investigator

You see it all happened this way, the man who sits in the editorial sanctum and likes speed and brevity along with accuracy, and honesty handed me a newspaper clipping. - He told me to read it. I did. It related the sad land tale of a British Marine from the H. M. S. Exeter, who had an altercation with two policemen at Eutaw and Franklin Streets, He lost, of course!

One thing struck me right between the eyes. It was the report of one of the policeman, and a sergeant, which stated; “I struck him across his face with my Espantoon.”

So That’s What It's All About! [After being called into the editor, the reporter] Straightaway asked the host - “What’s an Espantoon?”

He replied;

“That’s what I want you to dig up. It’s a policeman’s club, and the term is particular to Baltimore. What I want you to do is to find out the derivation of Espantoon, and while you’re at it you might trace the Swagger Stick. It was carried by the British sailor, you know.” (Turns out the sailor struck the Officer and Sergeant with that Swagger Stick)

I saluted, did an about-face and left his office gaily, believing I had a cinch of a job.

All I have to say now is that if you ever want to play a cruel joke on some family or friendly enemy, get them to look up Espantoon. If he is of a sensitive nature, he will probably become a raving maniac.

O.K. next we’re off to the Pratt Library, The Funk&Wagnalls dictionaries. It states that the word is one peculiar to Baltimore and that it means “a policeman’s Billy.” Also, that it comes from the Spanish, espanto, meaning “to threaten.” Very well, why did the Baltimore police ever adopt the word Espantoonfor what is known elsewhere as a policeman’s club, or nightstick? Little Sir Echo answered; “Why?”

Gets Nowhere with Quest

None of the efficient research workers at the library could find out. Then I went outside and asked a policeman. He looked at me sympathetically and asked; “are you feeling all right buddy? We’ve had some hot weather, you know, and our hospitals are fine.”

That didn’t get me anywhere, so I sought out the help of one, Prof. Jacob H. HoHander of Johns Hopkins University, who not only knows Baltimore. But knows the word (Espantoon) backward and forward. Said he;

“I once wrote an editorial partly dealing with that subject. Of course, the word is of Spanish origin – but how did it ever reach Baltimore and become an expression in our police department is a complete mystery.”

Now for the Oxford English Dictionary. Oh, what have we here? Espantoon? No, but there’s Espontoon, with an “O” which is defined as a half pike – not a half pint, mind you – But a Half Pike as carried by infantry officers. Then the quotation from Southey;

“Capt. Lewis slipped and recovered himself using his Espontoon.”

Search goes on and on again

Well, all that in a question of spelling and derivation. It’s spelled Espantoon by the Baltimore Police Department, and that’s that.

Said George J Brennan, secretary to Police Commissioner Stanton;

“It is true that the expression nightstick as applied to those implements carried by our policemen is somewhat generally used elsewhere. To my knowledge, Espantoon has been used by the Baltimore Police Department for the last 30 years. I have no idea as to its origin.” (Robert F. Stanton, 1938-1943 – meaning his 30-year estimate would put its first use between 1908-1913. However, we have news articles going back to 1843 using the word Espantoon to describe a Baltimore officer’s Nightstick. So at the time he was asked the Baltimore Police Department had been using Espantoon for more than 100 years before Stanton's time. The 1843 article can be found elsewhere on this page.)

So there we have it. The expression might have come to Baltimore with the early settlers as “Espontoon, “ and then the spelling changed to “Espantoon.” (Imagine that, what would the grammar police have to say about that, in the city that reads?)

On the other hand, the theory that some Spaniard brought it here holds good (plausibilities). because of the origin of the Spanish word – ESPANTO, to threaten – certainly applies to those Espantoons we see carried by our were the Baltimore policeman.

Swagger stick helped him strut

Now for the British Marine and his swagger stick. He used it on the head of one of the policemen trying to help him. Is it an effective weapon?

No! It’s just something for “putting on the dog” when off-duty in the British Army. According to the Oxford English dictionary, you may call it either a “swagger cane” or “swagger stick,” and it is the short cane or stick carried by British soldiers when walking out, or going out on the town.

Originally it was a riding crop, but when the infantry took it up, it became a swagger stick. Its weight is slight, and it does not make an effective weapon.

Anyhow, the moral to it all is this, if you’re looking for trouble early in the morning, don’t try to use a swagger stick against an Espantoon. Not only is it bad etiquette, but it wiould be bad for you all around. Espantoon! What a great word to stick in your brain and tumble out when you least expect it, like the song of the three little fishes.

Baltimore’s police Espantoon and how is used

Other cities call it a nightstick, but it’s got to be an Espantoon here. Where did the word come from? Experts are stumped. Some say it’s of Spanish origin; others English. Look it up and go crazy. Police are supposed to swing Espantoon only in “case of dire necessity.”

 KSCN0032

 This is a Carl Hagen Espantoon

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18 April 1843

This is the first known entrance of the word, "Espantoon" in the Baltimore Sun
under an article titled Local Matters with a sub-title of Night Spree

LOCAL MATTERS
The Sun (1837-1987); Apr 18, 1843; pg. 2

Night Spree - An examination took place yesterday afternoon, before Justice King, in relation to the proceedings of a party of young men in Light Street, in Saturday night last, who were in consequence taken to the watch-house, and released on security for their appearance at 4 o’clock on Monday. An investigation of such testimony as was accessible exhibited the fact that one of the party, named Armstrong, was knocked down by somebody, but by whom did not appear; this caused some noise, and as another of the number, ~named Warren Rohbock, was stooping over Armstrong: to assist him to rise, a watchman came up, and was about to arrest him; this was resisted by another, who raised his hand and caught bold of the Espantoon of the watchman; an alarm being now created, other watchman came up, and two others of the party, named Henry P. Norris, and Dimes R. Perry, resisted their interference with some threats. Finally all concluded to go to the watch-house, and send for a magistrate. The examination yesterday eliciting the above facts, the magistrate ordered Rohbock, Norris and Perry to find security in the sum of $100 each to keep the peace, which was given, and they were discharged. 

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In 1845 a Sun reporter described a Washington DC fire as follows, calling the Officer's Espantoon a "Spontoon"
So through the years we know it started out being called a Mace, and here we see it called a Spontoon, as was also found in an 1843 article where the reporter refers to a Lieutenant taking a watchman's rattle and Spontoon as he slept peaceful. So now we see it was a Mace, a Pike, a Spontoon, and from the Spanish word, espanto, meaning “to threaten" the spontoon became the Espantoon, a word only used in Baltimore, by the Baltimore Police, and can be found in the above and below news articles dating back from 18 April 1843 to the Wash DC article dated 15 Nov 1845.

More Incendiarism Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun
The Sun (1837-1989); Nov 15, 1845; pg. 4

More Incendiarism. This morning about 3 o’clock: while watchman Cox was standing near Coleman’s, he discovered a bright light coming from the window of Dennis Pumpfrey’s Livery stable at the corner of C and 6 streets (Washington DC) Upon running to the spot, he found the negroes removing the horses, and the fire rapidly spreading; by means of his spontoon, he tore away the burning hay and with much difficulty extinguished the fire. The fire was evidently the work of an incendiary, and had been caused by throwing a lighted rope through one of the windows, which, fortunately fell unto a rack from which the horse had eaten nearly all the hay. The police are on the trial of the supposed villain.

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LOCAL MATTERS 
The Sun (1837-1989); Oct 20, 1843; pg. 2

An Unfaithful Watchman – Lieutenant Freeberger, of the Western district watch, whilst making his usual round on Wednesday night, discovered watchman McIntosh in his box, enjoying a sound nap, and being unable to wake him up, carried his spontoon and rattle to the watch-house. If watchmen will neglect their duty at such a ticklish moment as this, we do not know how they behave when their places are secure.

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Notice the spelling, "Espantoon" spelled "Espontoon"

LOCAL MATTERS

The Sun (1837-1989); May 13, 1851; pg. 1

Assaulting the Watch– In the Western District on Sunday night last, a party of young men were brought in by the watch; charged with assaulting and beating Watchman Michael Kraft, and taking his Espontoon from him, They were taken before Justice Root who, after examination committed them to jail for their appearance at court. In the Southern District, on Saturday night, Watchman Bruff, at the end of South Paca Street, was assaulted by a party of rowdies, knocked down and badly hurt. They escaped before he could spring his rattle.

These assaults upon the watch should be punished with the utmost severity by the courts – the persons of the Night Watch should be held as sacred as that of the judge on the bench. He is a conservator of the peace; and should be sustained.

 

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Russ PomrenkeCourtesy Officer Russ Pomrenke
 

TOWERS BATON PATENT 1 blue

 

TOWERS BATON PATENT 1iblue

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Espantoon History, Two years after the incorporation of the Baltimore Police Department in 1784 they appointed a police Chief and a high constable (then the Chief was known as a “Marshal”) at the time he toured the city caring a “mace”, and it was known as his "Badge of Office". Oddly enough to this day our Espantoon is known as our “Badge of Authority”. In an 1843 the Sun paper report, a watchman had someone try to take his "Espantoon" by grabbing it during an arrest. From that report we know what it was called a "Mace" around the time we started carrying them in 1787, and that it was called an "Espantoon" some 56 years later in 1843. Now let’s look at the two terms... first a “Mace” often when we think of a Mace we think of a stick/club with some sort of axe blades, or a spiked ball on a chain attached to it… the Mace part of the spiked ball and chain, or axe bladed weapon is actually the handle, the stick that the spiked ball, or axe blades is attached to. Later the Mace is switched to Espantoon, which is exclusive to Baltimore Police, and derived from the “Spontoon”. A Spontoon, sometimes known by the variant spelling Espontoon (best described as a Half-Pike), is a type of European "Pole-arm" that came into being alongside the "Pike". The Spontoon was in wide use by the mid 17th century, 1650-1675’sh, and it continued to be used until the mid to late 19th century 1860/1890’s.

mace1
mace2Mace
mace3Mace

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1img169

 Above is a pic of one of my all time heroes Patrolman Ray Wheatley
There is only one thng cooler than finding out your hero carried a Carl Hagen Espantoon
And, that would be leaerning he is a distant relative.. turns out he is my brother

 CARLHAGENWe have a few of carl's Sticks in various degree's of condition
But with Carl's Sticks it doesn't matter we collectors want them all
Obviously cost is effected by condition but in the best contion one would pull in as much as $400 or $500
and on rough shape around $125 in the pic above stick 1 dn 2 would bring $450 and Sticks 4 and 5 would bring $125 and $125 Pike Spontoon

Unlike the Pike, which was an extremely long weapon (typically 14 or 15 feet), the "Spontoon" measured only 6 or 7 feet in overall length (that is to include the handle/mace and the attached weapon, blade/maul etc. Generally, this weapon featured a more elaborate head than the typical Pike. The head or weapon of a Spontoon often had a pair of smaller blades on each side, giving the weapon the look of a military fork, or a "Trident", but also somewhat like a "Tomahawk", it could hold a simple "Blunt" object.

Italians might have been the first to use the Spontoon, and, in its early days, the weapon was used for combat, before later becoming a more symbolic item. After the musket replaced the Pike as the primary weapon of the foot soldier, the Spontoon remained in use as a Signaling weapon. Non-commissioned officers carried the Spontoon as a symbol of their rank, and used it like a Mace, in order to issue battlefield commands to their men. (Commissioned officers carried and commanded with swords, although some British Army officers used Spontoons at the Battle of Culloden.)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Spontoon was used by Sergeants to defend the colors of a battalion or regiment from cavalry attack. The Spontoon was one of few Pole type weapons that stayed in use long enough to make it into American history. As late as the 1890s, the Spontoon could still be seen accompanying marching soldiers. Now days you may have seen the leader of a marching band carrying something like a Spontoon often called a Baton. They used these items to give their commands, as commands were given either verbally, through hand gestures, using a whistle, a Baton, or with a Mace as is often done in the military.

Lewis and Clark brought Spontoons on their expedition with the Corps of Discovery. The weapons came in handy as backup arms when the Corps traveled through areas populated by bears.

There were also spontoon-style axes. These used the same shaped blades mounted on the side of the weapon, and had a shorter handle.

Today, a spontoon (or Espontoon, as it is referred to in the manual of arms) is carried by the drum major of the U.S. Army's Fife and Drum Corps, a ceremonial unit of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

 

Spontoon12

A Spontoon or Mace held with a Spear Head

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So if we take a closer look at the Spontoon, it is a Mace with a weapon end; the weapon can be sharp, blunt, or both. Now looking at the Espantoon, as carried by the Baltimore Police, a mace with a blunt end, carved or turned onto it, as opposed to being affixed, or attached. The turned barrel head often mistaken for the handle on the nightstick but is actually the striking end of the Espantoon. Some say it was done this way on purpose, so people wouldn’t know it was the striking end, designed/disguised somewhat to look like a "Billy Club Handle". The Spontoon’s weapon end would sometime be rounded, turned with ring grooves, other times a small marble sized ball would turned on the end, this was decorative, but also served a purpose in using it on pressure points, or for jabbing moves (In the mid to late 70's Edward Bremer added what he called a "Nib" to allow officers an extra jabbing weapon) This was nothing new to the Baton for years a ball sometimes as small as a marble, other times larger as much as 3/4" to a full inch in diameter, for use as previously described on  pressure points, or for jabbing moves. All the popular handle designs were used on the striking end of the Spontoon/Mace to create the Espantoon. The turnings/carvings include, "Ring Grips", "Fluting" and a combination of the two to form what was later known as a, "Grenade Grip". More recently came two more grips that are similar to one another, they are the "Billy Club Grip", or the "Tough-boy Grip". There is only one final grip type, but we would never see it on an Espantoon, it is the "Fingerlock Grip" and it isn’t seen on the Espantoon, because it would lighten the striking end, and cause hard/sharp edges that would cause injuries that we don’t want. The "Fingerlock Grip" is most often found on the Truncheon, a Billy Club type weapon made for striking the subject, and less for jabs, arm bars, and wrist locks. While an Espantoon is made to strike, or jab, it isn’t made to cause serious injury as much as it is meant for protection to the officer, by bringing the subject under control as fast as possible, and with minimal injury. More often than not, fear of the Espantoon would be enough, withdrawing it from its ring, or removing it from under the officer's arm, would have a person quickly submit. In short we can see from old news reports in Baltimore, where we started with the "Mace", in 1798, back then known as “The Badge of Office” later it went to the Spontoon, and finally the Espantoon. Add to this, the Espantoon, or Nightstick, as recent at 1987 was known as a “Badge of Authority” and we know the Mace/Spontoon evolved into what is today known as the Espantoon.

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stick rack

Nightstick Stand/Rack
by Retired Officer Ron Becker CD
The top stick belonged to Ron's Great Great Grandfather appears to be a BPD Issued Espantoon from the early 1900's - The bottom stick in one of Joe Hlfka's Espantoons, circa the late 1980's early 1990s

Ron Becker joined the force in June of 1987 and worked Central most of his career before being transferred the Central's DEU in 2001 he was injured line of duty requiring a back surgery, after a failed surgery he was forced to retire, and left in late 2002. A former cabinet builder in need of a way to of showing off his great grandfather's and his Espantoon, designed and build these racks. He can make displays for any Baltimore officer, or any other agencies, Baton, or Espantoon and in any length to fit the stick.
Follow this link
HERE

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carl hagen circa 1960


More Recent Espantoon History
In the mid to late 50's Carl Hagen began turning Espantoons from his in home woodshop, and selling them to local law enforcement, he made a quality stick, that started out about the size of the BPD Issued stick, but with a little flair, it was just a little nicer, during the time it was said police were customizing their sticks by shaving them down and adding their own grooves to the handle/barrel head. Eventually Carle would make a totally different design from the issue stick and slightly oversize and with a totally unique design. In 1974 Edward Bremer can along, he began where Mr. Hagen left off, Mr. Bremer started making them even bigger, he made sticks as long as 26" and he made them from any wood an officer wanted, likewise he stained them any color. Mr. Bremer also added his "Nib" for jabbing a suspect in the stomach. By 1977 Mr. Bremer said he had sold 300 of his sticks. Along came Joe Hlafka, he had been into wood working since he was a kid, but in the late 60's early 70's Dave (toney) Turrini showed him how to turn a nightstick, Joe made a stick for himself. Then a few more guys wanted one like his, and this is basically how it started. Toney never made them for others. Joe started selling sticks by the late 60's early 70's which goes along with history, since the standard stick didn't change from 1920 (the oldest stick in our collection comes from an officer's father that joined in 1922) We have a 1950's and a 1960 Carl Hagen stick one if issue size, the other is slightly over size, Carl went a little larger, then in 1977 Ed Bremer said he had been making and selling stick since 1974, and almost took Carl Hagen stick, cut for cut (turn for turn) except he added a "Nib - for poking", then come Joe 1969/70 and while the shape is similar to Mr. Bremer's version of Mr. Hagen's, Joe's was bigger, and better... If we look at the timeline, it goes late 1950's (1957/58 until 1974/75 overlapped by Mr. Bremer who came in, in 1973/74 and turned for about 8 to 10 years so 1982/84 overlapping by Joe 1969/70 until June of 2007. So Joe sold turned and sold sticks for 37 or 38 years, at about 200 to 250 so 225 on average time 37 and a half  years, according everything Joe has told me or he has turned between 8500  and 10,000 sticks... compared to Mr. Bremer who said he made about 100 sticks a year, so between 800 and 1000 sticks, and Hagen less per year, but he worked a few more years at than Mr. Bremer did. Mr. Hagen turning 75 to 80 sticks a years from say 1955 to approx 1978/79 giiving us from 75 to 80 sticks a year, times 24 years gives us between 1860 and 2000 stick. Joe would have sold more than 4 and a half times that of Mr. Hagen and Bremer together. Add to this that early in Joe's experimenting with Sticks, Turning, and strapping, he took the swivel from a key chain, and wove it into the thong,  little trial and error, and before long he found the perfect placement and made a stick that could be spun forever, as a posed to the old method that would tangle after a few spins, before long Mr. Bremer was adding a Swivel to his sticks, and those with old Carl Hagen Sticks were having their Sticks re-strapped to add a swivel. Not long after adding the swivel, Joe switched from a key chain swivel to a fishing lure swivel, it was stronger, and last longer. Now days Stick makers are using lures for Tuna fishing that will never break under normal use. Carl Hagen turned from 1957 – 1975 – 16 years - Edward Bremer 1974 – 1982 – 8 years or 24 combined and then Hlafka – 1969/70 – June of 2007 – 37 years of being the best – he came on in 1969... so 46 years with the Department, and still one of the most important changes in departmental history, a stick that will actually protect an officer during a struggle, or in many cases put the fear of God into some, and stopping the fight before it started… Few people can say they are as well-known as “Nightstick Joe” I am pretty sure the numbers are right, at least statistically, and like I said once before and the article echoed, hardly any money is made on nightsticks - its done to provide safety to police, so again my hat's off to him. No matter who made more, made them longer, or made them better, one thing is for sure, these three, each took the torch and ran with it, every time doing something to make the Espantoon better than the last, making changes that would spread across the country. From Carl Hagen first changing shape, then size; To Mr. Bremer's going a little larger, and adding a nib to the barrel head, to Officer Hlafka, not just having a more consistently larger size, but the addition of the swivel.
These three changed the Nightstick/Espantoon, speaking of Espantoon/Nightstick, if we notice most old-timers call it the Espantoon, and most young officer's call it the Nightstick, this could be due to Joe too, after all he's not called, "Espantoon Joe" - If we did the math we would see Mr. Hagen turned 800 to 1000 sticks over 8 years - Mr. Bremer said he had made and sold 225 to 300 over 3 years - P/O Hlafka at about 200 to 250 so 225 on average - 8500 to 10,000 sticks over 37/38 years. This is what drives the values, Carl's early sticks are similar in shape to his later sticks, but the size matches that of a BPD issue of the time. So his sticks go between $250 and $300, Ed Bremer sticks are far and few between and can be found for anywhere between $300 and $550. Officer Joe Hlafka stcks are plentiful, but still have value, starting at twice the price of a new stick, so around $150-$175 on the low end up to $225-$250. Joe's Oversize stick is worth about $200-$250 unsigned. Signed the price drops to about $125-$150.

 

stick with notes CARL HAGEN 1960 ESPANTOON BLUE PRINTS 4 July 2015 blue and white 72

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Stick #76 the one on the far right is a "Knobkerrie" or "Kirri". It takes its name from the Dutch word "Knop" (meaning "Knob" or "Button") and is the name of a weapon used by Southern African people such as the Zulu and the Xhosa or Thembu people.  It was used for chasing game and at times for warfare. It is probable that Army or Police Officers who had served in some of the African areas adopted the knobkerri as a Swagger or Walking-stick. Stick #74 the one to the far left

Palestine circa 1936.  British Palestine Police on duty in Clock Tower Square, Jaffa, faced Arab crowds.  The front rank of police were armed with pick axe handles whilst the second rank carry small circular metal riot shields & the standard truncheon.  The BPP at this time had stocks of truncheons provided from London Metropolitan police stores. The reason some police carried pick axe handles was because to the longer reach, as opposed to the shorter truncheon.  It was not a case of the Arab members of the Force carrying an inferior riot control weapon, (in fact the pock axe was proably a more exspensive weapon than a regulation truncheon) some of the British police on duty that day also carried and used the pick axe handles.  

Jaffa square riotJaffa Square Riot

The Police Officers with pick axe handles in the front rank may be Arab Police Officers, whilst the second rank would have been from the British Section of the Force and would have had the better truncheon.  It should be pointed out that some police also carried pick axe handles because of the longer reach of the pick axe handle as opposed to the shorter regulation truncheon.  It was not a case of the Arab members of the Force carrying an inferior riot control weapon, indeed some British police on duty that day also carried pick axe handles. The British Palestine Police had a British Section, an Arab Section & Jewish Police Officers also.

Baton charge
Baton Charge - Jaffa Square
2nd Ranger Batt Panama Prison Riot

Courtesy Basil Wilson
2nd Ranger Batt Panama Prison Riot
Using Pick axe Handle for defence

 

Knobkierie
Knobkierie
 

A Knobkierie, also spelled knobkerrie, knopkierie or knobkerry, is a form of club used mainly in Southern and Eastern Africa. Typically they have a large knob at one end and can be used for throwing at animals in hunting or for clubbing an enemy's head. The knobkierie is carved from a branch thick enough for the knob, with the rest being whittled down to create the shaft. This is about 16" long the knob at the end is about the diameter of a golf ball

The name derives from the Afrikaans word KNOP, meaning KNOT or BALL and the Nama (one of the Khoekhoe languages) word KIERIE, meaning cane or walking stick. The name has been extended to similar weapons used by the natives of Australia, the Pacific islands and other places.

Knobkieries were an indispensable weapon of war, particularly among southern Nguni tribes such as the Zulu (as the IWISA) and the Xhosa. Knobkieries was occasionally used during World War I The weapon also being carried by British soldiers in Siegfried Sassoon's fictionalised autobiography.

During the Apartheid era in South Africa, they were often carried and used by protesters and sometimes by the police opposing them. The Knobkierie is still widely used and carried, especially in rural areas, while in times of peace it serves as a walking, or swagger-stick. The head, or knob, is often ornately carved with faces, or shapes that have symbolic meaning. The knobkierie itself serves this function on the current South African Coat of Arms, and on the, "Order of Mendi" for Bravery. A KNOBKIERIE also appeared on the flag of Lesotho 1987-2006, the Coat of Arms of Lesotho since its independence in 1966 as well as the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Ciskei.


PAUL HAUER  ESPANTOON BLUE PRINTS 12 DEC 2014 72
Paul Hauer Espantoon Circa 1920 - Blue Print of above stick
stick 22 inches
(55) Introduced to me by Basil Wilson
This is the grip to a 1930's 22" Darley - Billy Club
Darley  Billy Club BLUE PRINTS 12 DEC 2014 72
Darley Billy Club Circa 1930/40's - Blue Print of above stick
old saps amp blackjacks poster150
An old 1930's ad showing the Darley Club, at the time this hand turned, hickery, Police Club, sold for a whopping 87¢ and if you sent cash; you would save a gigantic 3% bringing your cost down to around 85¢
darley nightstick
(55) is a Darley Billy Club/Nightstick
Distributed through W.S. Darlry & Company, Chicago
Club MP Reg Page 5i
M-1944 Blueprint Courtesy Basil Wilson
See Stick (35)
KSCN0062i72
Courtesy Basil Wilson
Chicago Patrolmans Stick
KSCN0063i72
Courtesy Basil Wilson
Chicago Supervisors Stick
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99espantoon
Gang Busters "Nightstick"
YOU CAN'T BEAT THE LAW!
2
Sunpaper reports a male suspect attacked the officer from over top. The officer was arresting a
female subject, when it would appear he finds a need to use his Espantoon to defend himself.

1
The Plainclothe officer calls the uniformed officer to assist him in his arrest as the suspect
resisted arrest, the officer again needed to use his Espantoon to stop the suspect from resisting.

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Monadnock

Monadnock has been around with quality nightsticks, being considered as one of the leading Tactical Baton, Restraint and training aid supply companies, being one of the top choices of law enforcement professionals worldwide. For more than 50 years, Monadnock Tactical Batons has reflected the collective heritage, and expertise of a company focused on providing the highest quality gear equipment to police, military, and security professionals who depend on them every day, for self-protection and to protect those in the community that has been sworn to protect. The truncheon or Billy-club is an indispensable piece of police equipment, as primitive as a stick, and Monadnock Tactical Batons come in options to suit every professional need. Monadnock makes reliable batons for law officials, and tactical baton accessories suitable for riot control and crowd control. Monadnock equips law officers the world over, through academy training with soft training weapons, to actual self-defense weapons that will last a "lifetime" of work in the field.

More law enforcement officers choose to carry an American-made Monadnock expandable baton over any of the other competing brands. A collapsible baton makes for easier, and more discreet carrying, while a side handle baton gives more flexibility in grip and technique. Whether you need a telescopic baton, a stun baton, or an expandable steel baton, Monadnock makes it. Each police baton from Monadnock is made with the strongest materials, so you never have to worry - a Monadnock Baton is always ready when you need it.

Carl Hagen 1950 60s(39) Early Edward Bremer
eDWARD bREMMER 1968 72
Edward Bremer 1968 Mocked-Up Blue Print
Carl Hagen 1960 70s
(2) Later Carl Hagen
If you look just above the thong groove you'll see a little bump leading into the barrel head, this is seen in nearly all Carl Hagen's work, and can often set him apart from Ed Bremer, that and it seemed Bremer used sharper chisels
CARL HAGEN 1960 ESPANTOON BLUE PRINTS 10 DEC 2014 i 72
Carl Hagen 1960 Mock-Up Blue Print

daystick late 1800s early 1900s
(30) Late 1800's Early 1900's Daystick

Daystick early 1900s
(32) Late 1800's Daystick
Porter daystick Blue Print  72

Daystick 1800's Mock-Up Blue Print
Espantoon 1960 70s
(34) The Ram's 1950's Carl Hagen Stick, if you look you'll see the bump mentioned elsewhere on this page that is just above the thong groove leading into the barrel head, but further, the top of the stick where the three steps are to finish the stick, this rounded look is more consistent with Carl’s work... He has done the cleaner/sharper look, but this is more often what he made.


JOSEPH NIGHTSTICK JOE HLAFKA 24 ESPANTOON CIRCA 1987 i 72
Nightstick Joe - 1980's Mock-Up Blue Print

billy club measured
(52) Billy Club Handle 6 1/2 inches
Espantoon 24 inch Baltimore Issue i 72
(7) BPD Issue Espantoon - Blue Print Mock-Up

1920s
(57) Vintage Policeman's Billy Club from the estate of the late Welsh/American
entertainer/actress, Tessie O'Shea. This hardwood Police Nightstick
Measures approximately 22.5" x 1.25" in diameter; the leather strap (no swival).
Mrs. O'Shea was in Bedknobs and Broomsticks as well she played herself in The Blue Lamp
photo 1 2
(44) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)
BW SW blue prINTS 72
(44) A Smith & Wesson Billy Club - Mock Blue Print
sw
(61) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)
sw2
(61) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)
sw3
(61) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)
sw4
(61) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)
sw5
(61) A Smith & Wesson NightStick (This has a Ring Grip)

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LAY OFF BILLIES, POLICE ARE TOLD

The Sun (1837-1987); Dec 1, 1937;
pg. 15
LAY OFF BILLIES, .POLICE ARE TOLD

O'Dunne, In New Police School Talk, Calls Use Sign of Inefficiency - Judge Thinks Question Debatable Whether They Should Be Carried at all
“Lay off use of the nightstick,” Judge Eugene O’Dunne told policeman gathered yesterday at a regular session of the newly organize police school held in the Northern District Police Station.

Judge O’Dunne outline points for police to remember and preparing and presenting cases before the criminal court, in which he has been sitting this year. Warning the policeman against use of the nightstick, Judge O’Dunne said;

“It is a debatable question of policy whether officers should carry them at all. The London police, for the most part, go unarmed. I think it is a mistake in this country to judge everything by the customs of London. We are not Britishers.

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Cities Cosmopolitan

“We live in cosmopolitan communities where nearly half of the population is foreign-born,” the judge continued, “in London only 3%, are not British-born. They have an inherent respect for law. It is a tradition with them. They Rivera authority. That sentiment does not prevail in America, at least not as it does over there…” Pointing out that most frequent use of the nightstick is on so-called drunks. Judge O’Dunne said; “ordinarily, an officer who uses the nightstick in such cases proves his inefficiency, nearly every use of the nightstick, in my judgment, warns a formal hearing before the Commissioner, as to the necessity or justification for it.

ALL FOUR 72
The Four most popular sticks within the Baltimore Police Department
Upper Left the Balto. Police Issued Stick - Upper Right a Carl Hagen's stick
Lower Left Edward Bremer - Lower Right Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka's work

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Viewed with Suspicion

“there are times when it may be justified, such as a riot, etc. But it is ordinarily viewed with grave suspicion, and any officer habitually reporting to it may be a fit subject for survey and retirement or dismissal in cases of use without full justification.”

Calling the story of the Baltimore police “one of honor and of romance.” Judge O’Dunne declared that the department must keep pace with changing times, and that this is an age of specialization, with a demand for specialist. He continues;

“the Police Department, which is one of the efficient agencies of government. Is not exempt from this inexorable demand. The criminal today is more scientific in his approach to crime than the police department which attempts to cope with him in the suppression of his activity and in his capture, trial and conviction after he has played his hand in an attempt to commit “the perfect crime.”

Commanding William P Lawson, Commissioner of police, on the existence of the police school, Judge O’Dunne said:

“I understand the promotion of the school and the burden of perpetuating it is due to magistrate Harry W. Allers, one of the young progressives of his age. More power to them. When he is as old as I am, he may be regarded as the “father of the new police system.” It is a title of which he may well be proud.”

Asserting that an error of education will be required to live down many prejudices associated with police work, Judge O’Dunne said “the idea that colleges or universities training cannot be helpful to those engaged in the ferreting out of crime, is one of those prejudices.”

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Proves Falsity, Claim

“Jay. Edgar Hoover, head of the federal Bureau of investigation.” He continued, “has demonstrated the falsity of this idea. The results of his work are the answer to such challenges. He has on his staff men of the highest order of scientific training specialist in all branches, universities graduates of the higher order.”

Advocating a course in criminal law for all members of the Police Department, Judge O’Dunne gave the police pointers on their actions on the witness stand, what they should look for in preparing cases and some advice on what will be admitted in the court as evidence

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Terms in Shortcut

In speaking of confessions, Judge O’Dunne said:

“I give it is my opinion, based on long observation, that forms of third-degree are too frequently resorted to, and later, too strenuously denied.

“There is a great temptation to get evidence from the prisoner, instead of hunting it up and running it down, by skill and industry.”

Judge O’Dunne, who opened his address by pointing to the work done by the department in preventing crime, was introduced by Commissioner Lawson

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m pr24 1
Monadnock PR-24 with Trumble Stop
Monadnock PR24 Blue Print 72
(59) MONADNOCK PR24
photo 2 2
Wrapping the strap over the ring finger will often land the stick in the palm.
If adjustments are needed, move up to the middle finger.

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Baton Designs
As much as we like to call our "Nightsticks" and "Espantoon", espantoons, come in different sizes shapes etc. and all fall under the category of a Baton, so the following article covers Batons, various sizes, shapes and names. Batons in common use by police around the world include many different designs, such as fixed-length straight batons, blackjacks, fixed-length side-handle batons, collapsible straight batons, and other more exotic variations. All of these different types of batons have their advantages, and disadvantages.

The design and popularity of specific types of baton have evolved over the years and are influenced by a variety of factors. These include inherent compromises in the dual (and competing) goals of control effectiveness and safety (for both officer and subject). They have three basic lengths in your standard Espantoon/Nightstick they are the “Nightstick” about 24 to 26 inches, the “Daystick” 12 to 14 inches, and the “Mounted Longstick/Horseback Stick” these ranged from 36 to 38 inches. Each of these three sticks were often custom made and could be a little longer or shorter than the norm. These different sizes were used for different shifts, and different assignments, and just as they were more comfortable to use a Daystick for dayshift and a nightsticks for nightsticks, it was necessary for the Mounted to use a Longstick; some officers needed a stick a little longer or shorter than the norm. These were and still are used to defend against attack, and as such require differences to adjust them to better fit the officer's needs. We hope this page will show the different sticks used and in use around the world and in the Baltimore Police department.

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 57yes2Courtesy of eBay seller Vexmore out of Huston Texas
803507175yes o
Courtesy of eBay seller Vexmore out of Huston Texas

 57 3  57picked4uaz

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es·pan·toon
noun \ˌeˌspan‧ˈtün\-s of Form

Full Definition of ESPANTOON in Baltimore:  a policeman's club

Origin of ESPANTOON - Derives from that of a pole weapon, the Spontoon, which was carried by infantry officers of the British Army during the Revolutionary period.
 

SpontoonSpontoon
 

imagesCA1F6I91

The spontoon being the wooden portion of the weapon, the pike or axe tool head was made of a metal or even stone that was added to the spontoon - these would eventually be removed and the spontoon cut down in length from around 6 feet in length to just 2 ft. Often these Spontoons would have a wood carved head on the striking end, giving us more of a Billy Club, Baton, that would become what is known in Baltimore as the Espantoon. As is described elsewhere on this page, the Espantoon is a combination of many of these hand to hand fighting weapons, and in Baltimore you will still see the Espantoon carried by our police, as basic and primal as a stick, could be the difference between an officer going home at the end of the shift.

Mace
Mace

A mace is a blunt weapon, a type of club or virge that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows. A mace typically consists of a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, often reinforced with metal, featuring a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel. The head of a military mace can be shaped with flanges or knobs to allow greater penetration of plate armor. The length of maces can vary considerably. The maces of foot soldiers were usually quite short (two or three feet, or seventy to ninety centimeters). The maces of cavalrymen were longer and thus better suited for blows delivered from horseback. Two-handed maces could be even larger. Maces are rarely used today for actual combat, but a large number of government bodies (for instance the British House of Commons, the U.S. Congress), universities and other institutions have ceremonial maces and continue to display them as symbols of authority. They are often paraded in academic, parliamentary or civic rituals and processions. Chemical Mace an interesting name for it, basically a chemical designed to stop someone the way an actual mace would, but less or no blood... The actual Mace is a blunt weapon, a type of Club or Virge that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows. A Mace typically consists of a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, often reinforced with metal, featuring a head made of Stone, Copper, Bronze, Iron, or Steel with a Pike or Axe attached to the end... removing the Pike or Axe you still have a Mace.. So a Mace is basically a Pike or Axe handle. Same with the Spontoon as described below - The head of a military Mace can be shaped with Flanges or Knobs to allow greater penetration of plate armor. The length of a Mace can vary considerably. The Mace of foot soldiers were usually quite short (two or three feet, or 24 to 36 inches). The Maces of cavalrymen were longer and thus better suited for blows delivered from horseback. Two-handed Maces could be even larger. Maces are rarely used today for actual combat, but a large number of government bodies (for instance the British House of Commons, the U.S. Congress), universities and other institutions have Ceremonial Maces and continue to display them as symbols of authority. They are often paraded in academic, parliamentary or civic rituals and processions. It is from the Mace that the Spontoon and then Espantoon evolved, and best of all, the old metal or stone pike became part of the wooden Mace/Spontoon as it was carved or turned into the stick, known as the Barrel Head (The striking end of the Espantoon). 

 

KSCN004072

Courtesy Mark Frank
1960 Unstained Departmental Sticks
From Sun Article Policeman's Bestfriend

KSCN0032i72

 Courtesy Mark Frank
1960 Carl Hagen Stick
From Sun Article Policeman's Bestfriend

Espantoon

Sheila S Nyka The Sun (1837-1987);  Jul 19, 1979; pg. A16  Espantoon

Sir: In his witty and amusing July 19 page A16 article, Girard Ordway does not suggest an origin for the word "espantoon." Is it not probable that this is derived from the Spanish verb "espan·tar" which, according to my dictionary, means "To frighten, terrify, chase You"? Shella S. Nyka Baltimore.

 

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Proper Use of the Police Baton
Police Baton Training 1963

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Local matters (Police Officer Shot)
Baltimore Sun 5 January 1858
pg 1

Police Officer Shot – John Winkleman, a police officer attached to the Southern District Force, was essentially shot in the thigh a few evenings ago since (2 January 1858) by his revolver which exploded in his pocket. He was thoughtlessly whirling a stick around between his fingers, when the bludgeon struck the hammer of the weapon, causing it to discharge its load into his thigh. The ball was extracted by a surgeon. Several things to note, one use of the word "Bludgeon" - A bludgeon refers to a heavy club used as a weapon. This was 1858 and I have articles before this time calling it an Espantoon, so this just might be the author, but he did say Twirling the stick between his fingers, So we have them twirling a stick as far back as 1858. Now in reference to the gun, in the 1800's they carried in their pocket, some used a pocket holster, many were injured, even killed by accidental discharge, looking at the wording, the writer says, "causing it to discharge its load into his thigh" this is singular, as its not one of it's loads, a round etc. this was a single shot weapon. Also vary common of our early police to carry. This being a time when the department didn't issue a firearm. So this one little article is full of history, and information.

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Espantoon

The Espantoon is a wooden police baton equipped with a long leather strap for twirling. It originated, and is still strongly associated, with the Baltimore Police Department in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The term is considered distinctly Baltimorean.

The word itself derives from that of a pole weapon, the Spontoon, which was carried by infantry officers of the British Army during the Revolutionary period. Since then the Espantoon has been considered a symbol of the "policeman's office and dignity". Before the advent of wireless communications, the Espantoon was reportedly used by Baltimore policemen to call for assistance where its user would bang it on the curb, cobblestone streets, or a downspout/drainpipe.

Officers were often seen twirling their sticks, some called it twirling, others spinning, and still others called it making the stick dance. This technique, of spinning the stick at the end of a strap of leather, had some other things about it that were unique to Baltimore; Baltimore officers were among the first officers to insert a swivel in the strap these swivels now days come from fishing lures, but in the beginning were made from a keychain swivel, and would allow the stick to be spun continually for long periods of time. There were several reasons to spin a stick; it started with a need to communicate, officers had control of the stick and could bounce it off the ground/street to signal officers on adjoining post (Bailwick). Other uses were to create distance, people could never enter the officers, "personal space" if he was spinning a stick in such a way that they could be hit by it if they were too close. There was yet another reason, a little less obvious, but served as a subtle reminder of the officer’s skills with said stick, making some trouble makers think twice before confronting the officer.

We have to remember that simply tucking the stick under the arm while talking to a suspect served as a deterrent on their part to want to lash out at an officer, add to this seeing an officer spin the stick around his back, across his side, and back and forth around his body, and one might think twice about challenging that officer.  A good officer can spin a stick like a martial arts student spins nun-chucks, and few people want to go up against someone that has mastered a weapon of this type.

In 1994, Thomas C. Frazier took over as Baltimore's police commissioner and banned the Espantoon. Frazier, a Californian, believed that the device, and the policemen's twirling of it, was intimidating to the civilian populace. He attempted to replace it with another baton type weapon, the Koga. Many officers, however, felt that the Koga was cumbersome, difficult to master, and even more dangerous than the Espantoon.

In 2000, Edward T. Norris assumed the office of police commissioner and after learning of the tradition the Espantoon had in Baltimore he lifted the ban on the Espantoon, although he did not mandate its use. The move was made as part of a general effort to boost morale, and instill a more aggressive approach to policing in Baltimore. Norris stated, "When I found out what they meant to the rank and file, I said, 'Bring them back.' ... It is a tremendous part of the history of this Police Department." While it was approved to carry the Espantoon, the department no longer issued them to the officer.

Speaking of issuing the Espantoon, when they were issued, they came to you as an unstained, unstrapped stick, it was up to the officer to stain and strap the stick, it was said that in the old days officers would use Iodine from the first aid kit to stain the stick. There were also times throughout the years that officers would customize the issued sticks, some would carve a place in the top of the barrel head to epoxy a button from their jacket/coat, Others would sand the barrel head to be cylindrical, instead of convex, then carve a few rings in that for grip, there were many ways to make a stick unique and or custom. Then when guys like Carl Hagen started turning sticks for police, mainly in the Western District, officers started getting unique woods, and stains, with unique designs, but similar sizes to what was issued. Then when Edward Bremer started turning sticks, he went with bigger sticks, and what he called a "Nib" on the tip of the barrel head, this was for jabbing. Once Mr. Bremer started turning bigger sticks, Mr. Hagen also received requests for bigger sticks... it wouldn't be long after Mr. Bremer began making his sticks that Joe Hlafka was taught to turn a stick, he also went by what the officers wanted. Not only did Joe Hlafka know what police wanted, but being police himself, he had more connections, more insight, and before long he was making additions that no one before him (non-police) could have known we would want. One day while working on a new design he spotted his keyring sitting there and thought came to him to add a swivel to the thong, thing gave us the ability to swing a stick for much longer periods than we could with things prior to the swivel, if you can imagine a phone cord tangled up, the leather thing wasn't much different. Now nearly every stick has a swivel, and at some point someone swapped out the keychain swivel for a fishing lure, and the rest is history…

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Spontoon/Espontoon

A Spontoon, sometimes known by the variant spelling espontoon (or as a half-pike), is a type of European pole-arm that came into being alongside the pike. The spontoon was in wide use by the mid 17th century, and it continued to be used until the mid to late 19th century.

Unlike the pike, which was an extremely long weapon (typically 14 or 15 feet), the spontoon measured only 6 or 7 feet in overall length. Generally, this weapon featured a more elaborate head than the typical pike.

The head of a spontoon often had a pair of smaller blades on each side, giving the weapon the look of a military fork, or a trident.

Italians might have been the first to use the spontoon, and, in its early days, the weapon was used for combat, before it became more of a symbolic item.

After the musket replaced the pike as the primary weapon of the foot soldier, the spontoon remained in use as a signalling weapon. Non-commissioned officers carried the spontoon as a symbol of their rank and used it like a mace, in order to issue battlefield commands to their men. (Commissioned officers carried and commanded with swords, although some British Army officers used spontoons at the Battle of Culloden.)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the spontoon was used by Sergeants to defend the colours of a battalion or regiment from cavalry attack. The spontoon was one of few pole weapons that stayed in use long enough to make it into American history. As late as the 1890s, the spontoon could still be seen accompanying marching soldiers.

Lewis and Clark brought spontoons on their expedition with the Corps of Discovery. The weapons came in handy as backup arms when the Corps travelled through areas populated by bears.

There were also spontoon-style axes. These used the same shaped blades mounted on the side of the weapon, and had a shorter handle.

Today, a spontoon (or espontoon, as it is referred to in the manual of arms) is carried by the drum major of the U.S. Army's Fife and Drum Corps, a ceremonial unit of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

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Nightstick
Where the Word Comes From

The word "Nightstick" comes about because it's opposite of an old stick known as a "Day stick". During the "Day" officers carried a stick that was about 12" long and was more like a club, or what is used today as a "Tire thumper", the handle end was turned much the way the barrel end of the nightstick is, and the leather strap was shorter too. The Nightstick was twice as long or a little longer coming in at 24" to 26" in length, the barrel end, often confused as the handle is actually the striking end, in Baltimore the leather strap is attached at the barrel end, and is as long as the stick, it holds a swivel that allows the officer to spin said stick for longer periods of time without it becoming tangled up. Spinning as you will read elsewhere on this page served multiple purposes, first it kept people out of the officer's personal space, but it also, let the thug that might have thoughts of standing up to an officer, think twice, he or she might realize, and officer that can spin a stick from side to side, over his arm, under his arm and around his body, catching it every time, or spinning it for several minutes nonstop before simply placing his or hand out at time to catching it. These fancy spins, often called spinning, twirling, or making the stick dance, can usually be seen as the officer walks his beat, talks to his partner, a businessman or civilian on his beat while seemingly not paying attention to his stick at all. It is these acrobatics with the sticks that makes the average thug think twice about the officer’s skill with said stick. I look at it like this, if simply tucking the stick under your arm as you talk to a suspect will intimidate him or her into an orderly fashion, then spinning the stick with skill will no doubt calm any hostile actions they might have had.  

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Elite Espantoons
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I'm not a salesman, so don't take this as a sales pitch, take it as a friendly piece of advice; I was researching Nightsticks and Espantoons for this site, when asked by my good friend, Officer Jim Mitchell, about having his stick re-strapped. (as he made this request Jim is basically in hospice. I am loyal to my friends, and loyal to my brothers & sisters in law enforcement, so I looked into having it done with the intent on doing it at any, and all cost.) I contacted, Chase Armington, of Elite Espantoons; Chase, was so interested in helping me, help Jim, make sure he could go to his grave with a complete stick, that he drove more than 90 miles west from his place to mine, paying nearly $20 in tolls, another $20 in gas for the 180+ mile, round trip, so that Chase could re-strap Jim's stick. When he was done he wouldn’t take a dime to help cover his costs. I was planning on taking the stick to Jim that following Saturday, but was so impressed with Chase’s ethics, and the work that he had done, that I asked my wife to hop in our truck with me, and we drove more than 90 additional miles west from my place in Baltimore, to Jim's place in Hanover Pennsylvania. I was able to give Jim his stick that day; the look on his face was worth the trip(s). None of it would have been possible without the help of Chase Armington & Elite Espantoons, aside from making one hell of a stick, Chase adds to it the best quality leather, and swivel money can buy. The swivel used would easily hold a 400lb tuna, and is obviously top grade, so obvious in fact that without a word from Chase, I noticed it from across the room, and when I handed the stick to Jim, the first thing he said was, "This swivel is much nicer than the swivel that was on there!" So aside from his doing something selfless for one of our Baltimore Police, let me tell you a little about Chase. Chase Armington is the owner operator of Elite Espantoons. Chase makes what are in my opinion some of the finest Espantoon (nightsticks) being made today. He began his career in law enforcement in 2004 in Pennsylvania, transferring everything to Maryland in 2007. He has held the position of "OIC" overseeing his department in PA, Sergeant in Perryville PD, Second in Command Port Deposit PD, Deputy Sheriff, and Detective at Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office. Chase began turning his version of the Baltimore Espantoon out of necessity to keep one of the longest standing traditions in police history alive. Every Espantoon he turns is unique, and individual. He doesn't use a duplicator, and he usually will not make a stick until it is ordered. He thinks of himself as "A simple guy with a little bit of talent to turn a stick." I think he is a little more than that, "He's good police, with an old-school police brotherhood "mindset"; working hard for his fellow officer; on top of this he just happens to be able to turn a damn good stick!" He has sold hundreds of his Espantoons, and currently has them all over the world, each one is unique, and each one is logged and remembered. It is still amazing and very humbling to Chase, that officers, family, and friends alike will purchase one of his sticks. He is humbled and unable to truly express the amount of gratitude he has for each order. Someone once said, "Man you must be making a killing selling those sticks", his simple reply is "I don't do it for profit, I do it for the tradition." From personal experience, I turned sticks myself back in the late 80's early 90's, if I made $10 profit, per sale, I was selling a bad stick, and I never made more than $7.50/$8.00 on a stick. Times have changed, and the days of the $25.00 nightstick are long gone. But the low profit has not changed a bit! Sticks are made of good hardwoods, exotic hardwoods, the better the wood the more it cost, on top of a good block of wood, which could cost from $35 to $65, there's the swivel, the leather strap, sandpaper, steel wool, stain, polyurethane, or oils, there's tools, tooling and maintenance; today’s profits haven't changed much over the last 20 to 25 years even with $50 to $100 sticks, the profit sits at just under $10. When a person turns "quality" sticks, it is not to become rich... just like someone becomes a police officer... they aren't doing it for the money and if they are, they are doing something wrong. Chase is doing it all right, his sticks will serve you well. Making a better stick, could save an officer's life; having that better stick could save your own life. These days a cheap stick will cost $45 to $65 dollars, and it is low quality, for an extra $5 to $35 you could have the best, and you're worth it. If you want a stick that will last you a lifetime, that could be passed down from officer to officer over the years; contact Chase at Elite Espantoons, P.O. Box 48 - North East, Maryland 21901 - (610)721-7343 - I wouldn't steer you wrong, these are among the best sticks made, his cheapest stick is $50 his best is only $100 and he has a few in between. When you buy one of Chase's sticks, it isn't an off the shelf stick; it is turned for you personally by Chase, and you will be able to carry it with pride. To give an example of how much I like Chase's product, I have ordered two already, one from his list of seven, and one custom that will take him time to find the wood. In the end I plan on having all seven sticks Chase makes, plus my custom stick.

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Barrel End (Striking/Jabbing End)

Some old sticks are turned with this ball or point of the end; it is both decorative and useful in defense tactics. Sticks are used as striking weapon in most cases, but not always, there are arm bars, and pressure point tactics used, the ball or point at the "Barrel" end of the stick, the end that looks like the handle, is actually the striking end, the ball can be used on pressure points and as a jabbing weapon, when poked into the stomach, there is less a chance of serious injury and a great likelihood that the suspect will quickly give up. When a suspect refuses to put their hands behind their back, often while on the ground, the stick can be placed between the arm and elbow to gain leverage and forcibly twist the arm back.   

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A Close-up Look at Old-school Quality Woodwork
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1950
1950's Russian

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An Espantoon War Story
The Officer says, "One night I walked in on a bar fight when a 300 lb. drunken country boy broke a bottle over a counter and came charging in my direction. Being the local street cop I couldn't run if I wanted to, first it wasn't in my blood, and then I still had to stand tall on my post, so this 250 lbs. cop rammed his stick up under that cowboy pig's belly button. I mean I gave him all I had, and in return he gave me 6 beers, a pizza, bar nuts, and what could have been pretzels. All of it was down the front of my uniform; my Sergeant came over after I had thrown my coat in the nearest dumpster. Sarg pulled my coat from the dumpster, scrapped the pizza off, handed it back to me and told me the dry cleaner has cleaned up much worse. My back-up arrived and we all went back into the bar, when we came out they all said, we will never fuck with the police again! I called an ambulance to make sure everyone was ok... most of the people in that bar were people I said hi, or talked with every day! My stick saved the day that day, and many other days during my 38 year career with the Police Department.
This story reminded me of an incident I was involved in when I was a rookie officer, we had a call to meet the fire department for a forced entry, someone left a pot cooking on a stove, fell asleep and smoked up an apartment building. When the Fire department forced the front door they found a young man inside wearing camo fatigues, standing in a karate stance threatening anyone who might enter... My partner at the time had about 8 years on, he and others in the squad used to call me a 6 month veteran, I learned by watching, and I learned fast because I had so many talented police in my squad. In this case I knew what was coming, we both arrived at the same time, made our way up into the hallway where the firemen directed us to look into the apartment by simply pointing. As we did, we saw the suspect taking different Kata stances, threatening us in an attempt to keep us out. Without a word all that could be heard were the sounds of two nightsticks being drawn from their rings – 20 to 22 inches of African Redwood clearing the ring was like the sound of two samurai swords being drawn from their scabbards. With that we both entered the room, kicking the door closed behind us, now all we could hear were the oohs and awws of the firefighters in the hall. The suspect first hearing the Espantoons as they were drawn, the door being kicked closed, and the almost chanting sound of the firefighter’s oohs and awws forced him to quickly come to his senses, and give up. Within seconds of that door closing, he made the smartest decision that he could have. Without a word, (and it should be said, not a word was said from the time we arrived) he turned around, and slowly put his hands behind his back. He was cuffed for his safety, our safety, and the safety of the firefighters. They came in turned off the stove, and took one over cooked broiling pan of “Oodles of Noodles” out to the gutter to cool off. They came back in opened some windows to clear the building, and that was that. Sometimes just the threat of seeing a couple guys that know how to use a weapon, is all it takes, and in this case two guys drawing their Espantoons in unison convinced that black belt, it was time to “Tap Out”.

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1930's Detroit Police Officers Baton number 1503 

The son of a Detroit Police Officer from the late 1930's, 40's 50's and 60's says in the 30s and 40s his dad walked the beat on some of the toughest streets in Detroit. This hardwood Baton is 22" long and as an Official Detroit Police Officer's Baton number 1503, it shows wear, and the above pics show in great detail how well this stick stood it's ground between the officers saftey, and his being injured by the criminal element of 40 years of crime fighting; 10 to 15 of those being on a foot beat in Detroit's bad lands. God bless him and thank him for his service. If we take a close look this stick is turned vary "similar" to Baltimore's Espantoon of the same time period.

 BALTIMORE POLICE ESPANTOON BLUE PRINTS 72 Billy Club

Billy Clubs
The Billy club (also referred to as a truncheon or baton) is a short stick used defensively as a bludgeoning weapon, typically by law enforcement. Billy clubs can be manufactured using wood, plastic, or steel. They are easily concealable, usually less than an arm's length in size, and specifically designed to be used as a non-lethal means of subduing an attacker or a non-compliant person.

History
British constables in the early to mid-nineteenth century carried wooden truncheons which quickly received the name "Billy clubs" (or "bully clubs"). At that time, the truncheon was also a means of identification for a legitimate law enforcement officer, similar to the way a badge is used today. Every baton had the authoritative organization's coat of arms emblazoned on its side, for presentation to the individual being approached or apprehended. The Billy club was such a simple and efficient tool, British officers continued to carry the traditional wooden version without major modifications up to the 1990s.

Etymology
Some debate surrounds the origin of the name. Most accounts attribute the "Billy" club to a variation of the slang use of "bully" when referring to a London police officer in the Victorian era. Other accounts hold that the early London constables were called "Billie’s" as they served as the law enforcement officers for King William IV, also known as "Old Bill." Therefore, any club they carried might reasonably be referred to as a "Billy club." The Billy club, while having been renamed and reinvented many times throughout the last few centuries, is still a standard part of the modern-day police officer's arsenal. Devider color with motto

 2  11 April 1972 thomas orrin  On the down-tube the office has his Espantoon 72

Courtesy Baltimore Sun Paper
Notice the Espantoon / Nightstick on the down tube of the bike

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Espantoon
October 31, 2008

There has been great response to my postings and those of the Baltimore Sun's Copy Desk Chief John E. McIntyre on old police terms, clichés and the differences in cop lingo between Baltimore and New York. One reader reminded me of a New York term I had all but forgotten: "On the job." Several readers have commented on the Espantoon -- defined in Webster's Third Edition: "In Baltimore, a policeman's stick" -- and one asked for a picture of one. Here are a couple by Sun photographer Amy Davis shot back in 2000 when then Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris reversed a ban and allowed officers to once again carry the sticks. Tradition returned. Here is "Nightstick Joe" making an Espantoon in the basement of his Federal Hill row house in 2000, and another of him outside with the stick. What follows is the complete story published on Sept. 23, 2000 that I wrote on the return of the Espantoon. I've been warned against posting long takes from old stories, but so many want to know the history I think some of you might be interested: - By Peter Hermann nightsticks 72

My Nightstick Collection in the early stages, you can see all the different "Barrel Head" designs from "Grenade Grip", to "Ring Grip" and while you can't see it too well, the tallest stick, a Riot or Mounted Stick, it has what is known as a "Finger Grip". These grip styles have evolved over the years, with the "Ring Grip" being the most common in American Espantoon/Nightstick's Billy Club/Baton and the "Fluted Grip" most common combined with the ""Ring Grip" to give us that "Grenade Grip"

Grip designs

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We have examples, the "Fingerlock Grip" Batons most often found on the Truncheons below. So while it is hard to make out in this drawing, you can find a photo below. I hope this helpful, or at the very least entertaining, these grips are often mixed, or made in
variants so that officers could have something unique, or fancy for Award, or Presentation Batons. And while the Grenade Grip is most often found on the PR-24 and other Polycarb sticks from Monadnock's line up, the Fluted and Ring mix can be found in older Wooden sticks, but they rarely crossed the two cuts.

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Here are the parts of an Espantoon/Nightstick

1. The Leather Thong/Strap used to help retain the stick, also used to help officers spin the stick. Spinning the stick has multiple purposes, one it helps entertain them during long boring night shifts, but it also keep people out of their personal space, and some say, seeing how well the officer could spin the stick made them think twice about confronting the officer in a way that might force him to use his stick in self-defense. It demonstrated the officer ability to handle the stick.
2. The Handle end is marked in Black, most people think the stick is held at the other end, but the stick is actually held on the shaft end of the stick, with the Thong stretched out and looped around one or two fingers.
3. The Shaft end is color coded Brown, this is the long straight end opposite the Barrel Head, This also helps distinguish a Espantoon/Nightstick from other types of baton, as the shaft of a Espantoon is straight whereas Billy clubs it would taper out as it gets closer to the end.
4. The Ring Stop is color coded in a Blue/Grey, this has two purposes, one it helps prevent the stick from going all the way through the nightstick ring/holder, it also serves as part of the Thong Groove/Slot helping to keep the Strap from moving up or down on the stick.
5. The Thong Groove Slot is color coded in Yellow, this is where the leather thong/strap is woven onto the stick, to allow the officer a way of retaining the stick. It has also been used to spin the stick, for first aid, and to help pull people out of the harbor.
6. The Barrel Head is color coded in a light Blue, this end often mistaken for the nightstick's handle, is actually the striking end of the stick. When used to jab, or strike this can be more effective, taking less swings, with less force causing less injury. It also helps when using the stick for arm bars, and other holds as it gives a good grip that can be harder for a suspect to break free from.
By the way, in case you didn’t see on this page/site in another area, today we carry only nightsticks, in the 1700’s and up into the early 1900’s they carried different sticks at night then they did during the day. As a nightstick had more uses, signaling officers on different posts they used a longer stick at night, to not look as threatening during the day the officers carried a less obvious stick, it was the same in every way as the nighttime version except the shaft was about one ¼ to ½ its size shorter. These sticks, booth night and day version are not just used for striking, they are also used for jabbing, prying, applying pressure to pressure points; these methods can be quite effective, often more effective than striking. In the photo below you'll see a Daystick #11 with a Nightstick #10 and #12 next to it, showing the shaft in its different styles.

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What makes an Espantoon, an Espantoon?

To start, we should point out that while one of a Baltimore Police Officer’s first weapons of defense was a Mace, which was a Nightstick or Baton circa1798 . While the Mace could have been weaponized with a spiked ball, ball, and chain, blades, etc. that was not the way it was done in Baltimore. Baltimore’s Mace has always been a non-lethal weapon that has never consisted of any spiked or bladed weaponry. It has always been used solely for self-defense or the defense of others and was used to match the escalation of force with equal force. Mr. Edward Bremer, a retired weapons expert and manufacture correctly said of the Espantoon (Baltimore's Nightstick or Baton).

“Nightsticks save lives, preventing officers from needing to escalate from hand-to-hand combat to the use of a firearm.”

He couldn’t have been more accurate, as the sound of an Espantoon sliding from its nightstick ring, or being switching from under an officer’s arm to his strong hand can have an effect much like the racking of a shotgun, or the Growl of a K9 dog. As it was often the last sound, a suspect had to hear before they would submit to arrest. While the Espantoon has a Barrel-Head and often a “Nib,” it is a non-lethal weapon that when used correctly will end a threat to the public or our police more quickly and efficiently. If given a choice an officer would rather effect an arrest without resistance, but that is up to the subject being taken into custody, and when they decide to resist an officer will attempt to take the prisoner as quickly as possible, with as little or o injury at all those involved.

Before we go too much further, we would like to point out that along with several experts in the field of club weaponry we have been researching the word, Espantoon, one of our retired detectives came up with a unique theory that was easy to understand but hard to explain. However, as he re-read an old newspaper article entitled, “Espantoon: A Private Club?” Published in the Baltimore Sun 19 July 1971 on page A15 an article that was more questions than answers. At first, it was believed the article could have been a waste of time, but as the article went on it was realized, through sarcasm the author may have unintentionally helped to answer, or at least explain our researcher’s theory. To start let’s look at the questions written in that 1971 Sun paper article, in particular, those that were found most interesting to the question.
“The definition, in turn, raises a lot of metaphysical problems about time, space and the essence of the Espantoon. Suppose, for example, a Philadelphia policeman drives through Baltimore on his way to Washington DC, and he has his nightstick, Billy club, or whatever, along with him packed away in the back of his vehicle. Does it become an Espantoon within the limits of the city of Baltimore? Are Espantoons owned only by Baltimore City policemen? Or are there Espantoons elsewhere in the county, say in Reisterstown or Catonsville? Suppose a Baltimore policeman moves to England. Would he think of his club as an Espantoons, and would it still be a Baltimore Espantoon?” We should take this a step further and ask ourselves, "What if a Veteran City Police Officer were to give his Espantoon to a County Officer, would it still be an Espantoon?" And our answer would be if an officer uses the stick the way they are trained to use a nightstick by their agency. (before the PR 24, or Asp.) the answer would have to be if it is used in any way other than the way it is utilized by a Baltimore Police Officer; it is not an Espantoon.

This coupled with some old newspaper photos from the collection owned by www.BaltimoreCityPoliceHistory.com showing our officers back as far as the 1800’s and up to our modern police. When compared to officers in other cities around the country, and around the world it confirms it would not be an Espantoon in the hands of anyone that doesn't use it the way we do. It is a Baltimore thing, a specific style of stick, a stick that has only had minor changes over the last 200 plus years. Our sticks as described on the Nomenclature page, have a Barrel-Head, Thong-Groove, Ring-Stop, Shaft and Thong/Strap. But the parts of the stick are only a small percentage of what makes an Espantoon an Espantoon.

All the right parts turned on a wood lathe to the correct dimensions doesn’t automatically make a nightstick an Espantoon. In fact, it isn’t an Espantoon until it is used, or intended to be used and used the way we would use it. Similar to a butter knife being used as a screwdriver, that knife is only a screwdriver until we stop tightening, or loosening the screw(s), and go back to spreading butter or some other condiment. When a Baltimore Officer uses their Espantoon, they hold it at the shaft end and swing or jab the Barrel-Head end. Much like the Knob-Kerry used in Southern and Eastern Africa, or the Irish Shillelagh/Cudgel, the Barrel-Head is also known as the Burl-Head (Burl-Head could be the original term that was misunderstood or mispronounced to be called a barrel-head in Baltimore. When young officers were told the parts of the Espantoon the senior officers often pointed to the Barrel-Head and said, “It is called a Barrel-Head because it is convex like a Barrel.” Or “shaped like a barrel.” )

A couple of interesting points about the Espantoon, 1st the strap or thong has often been used to save lives. There was a time when a 21” to 23” stick had a 21” to 23” inch thong; when we consider the Barrel-Head is about 6 and a half inches long and the thong-groove about ¾ of an inch, the strap would typically extend passed the bottom of the shaft by as many as seven inches. This gave officers enough strap to reach citizens that had fallen overboard at the harbor and pull them back to safety. In other cases, where those with severe cuts that needed a tourniquet and the straps worked perfectly to stop the bleeding saving lives.

Sticks were issued unstained; it was up to the officer to stain the stick and have it strapped. In the 1940’s sticks came unstained and unstrapped, but with a thin coat of varnish/clear coat to preserve the wood. Officers would scrape or sand the clear coat off and stain or burnish the wood. Some officers would go into the first-aid kits and use medical gauze and iodine to stain their sticks. By the time the 80’s rolled around, they were shipped unstained, and there was no longer a clear coat. By the way, in the 1940’s when the Espantoon was issued with that thin clear coat, officers were provided one stick for free, if they lost or broke it, they could purchase a replacement at the out of pocket cost of $1.00. When I came on in 1987, we too were given one free stick, if we wanted to buy a stick, it would cost us $25.00. Today sticks are not issued, that stopped in 1993, a new stick is around $80.00, and those old sticks can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the maker and condition.

For years, our sticks were turned right here in Baltimore at a shop on Pratt St. where we bought them in lots of 100. Every so often we would run out and have to buy stock sticks from a local police supply.

Ten Stick Museum Display described from Bottom to Top, the Bottom stick is our Color-Coded Nomenclature stick made by K&I Creative Plastics and Wood using a Joe Hlafka style Espantoon that is color-coded. The next five sticks are all made by K&I and are described as follows first up is an Unstained BPD Issue, followed by a Stained BPD Issue that has a Thong attached. Above this is a Carl Hagen stick with a thong (no swivel) above this is an Ed Bremer style Espantoon with a thong (no swivel)  above this is our last K&I stick it is done in the Joe Hlafka Espantoon with a thong  (Joe started adding swivels to the thong in the early 1970's - so his stick in this collection has a swivel ) Above Joe's stick is an authentic 1920's/1930's BPD Issue. Above that is a 1940's/1950's BPD Issue unstained (during that period they had a clear coat, officers used to scrape or sand off that clear coat and stain the sticks to a tone of their liking (often they used a dark wood, or burnished color, however it is said that many officers would use the iodine from the radio car's First Aide kit,) Above this unstained stick is a 1960's to late 1980's BPD Issue stick. Comparing the sticks primarily the Barrel-Head we see the quality of the turn has lost some of the detail and quality of workmanship. Looking at the shafts, we see for the most part we used a straight shaft, but the 1940s'/1950's stick has a tapered shaft (this is more of a Billy Club style) but this stick is also longer which puts it in the category of a mounted or riot stick and in Baltimore the only time we had a tapered stick was on a rare occasion when our mounted or riot sticks came in that way but typically they too were straight shaft sticks. Likewise we used to have to buy a stock Police Supply stick on occasion; this was typically when we ran out and our regular suppler didn't have anything in stock. The top stick in this ten stick display is a 1990's Baltimore Issue Koga Baton, a stick that us active police at the time called a Koga stick


numbered stucks 72
My Collection Numbered
1. A Strait Stick 2. A Riot, or Mounted Stick 3. One of Nightstick Joe's Sticks 4. An Elite Espantoon's Stick 5. A Baltimore Stick 6. A Billy Club gift from my son, and Daughter-in-law, late 1790's early 1800's 7. Gift from my Nephew 8. My BPD Issued Stick Un-stained 9. A Gift from my wife 10. A NYPD Nightstick - notice no strap ridge 11. A mid to late 1800's Day Stick 12. Ret. K9 Officer, Robert "RAM" Miller's Nightstick Carl Hagen 13. My Old stick I turned it in the early 90's 14. A friend of the Family's Nightstick, She was a Security Guard down Sparrow's Point in the 1970's 
 img172-72Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka Espantoon

Joe72
Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka Espantoon

We'll be putting together a great story on Nightstick Joe, his Nightsticks and how he could be part of the reason mpst police started using the word Nightstick instead of the word Espantoon, as used by older officers... After all he is known as "Nightstick Joe" not "Espantoon Joe" LOL - more to come

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Police get rid of an old weapon Baton training aims to supplant use of traditional nightstick

August 11, 1996|By PETER HERMANN  - Bidding farewell to the fabled espantoon, Baltimore police are wielding a new nightstick on city streets and practicing new ways of confronting unruly citizens. The California-based Koga Institute is teaching officers procedures for searching, subduing and arresting people. They are based on martial arts, and the police chief hopes these techniques win minimize injuries to officers and citizens. Officers also are learning several maneuvers with the new stick -- called a baton -- which is replacing the espantoon, a nightstick used since the turn of the century. Although officers seem to like the training, the program got off to a rocky start. Some police commanders have been reluctant to change, and instructors privately have complained that some district sergeants and lieutenants have tried to steer officers away from becoming Koga trainers. Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, over the institute's objections, decided to limit how officers use one baton maneuver -- a two-handed jab to the chest -- because he is concerned someone could be killed. Robert K. Koga, a former Los Angeles police officer, founded the institute in 1973. The self-defense techniques he teaches are based on Aikido, a combination of Greco-Roman wrestling and jujitsu. While the baton may be the most noticeable addition to the police force, officers are learning a wide range of Koga defense techniques. "The Koga Method is a , complete system, capable of providing an officer with an the tools needed to not only safely control a suspect, but control the officer as well," company brochures say. Frazier concluded more training was needed soon after he arrived in Baltimore in 1994 and spent several nights on the street, watching his officers make arrests. "What I saw frightened me," he said. Standard techniques were lacking, he said, putting suspects and officers in danger. Then there was the famed espantoon. Frazier thought the time-honored tradition of twirling the stick was intimidating to citizens, and he worried about injuries of people hit by the stick. "There was never any formal espantoon training," said Lt. Gerard G. DeManss, a 25-year veteran who heads the Koga training program in the department. "The department gave you something and didn't tell you how to use it." So far, 500 officers have been trained in the new techniques and given the new baton, which is 29 inches long and has no handle. The espantoon is shorter and thicker and has a grooved handle and strap. Instructors estimate it will take up to five years for all 3,100 department members to complete the program, which has cost the city $118,000 in the past two years.

 

Tralfagar square
Truncheon
Reg wooden truncheon

Truncheon Courtesy Basil Wilson
IMG 0671
Truncheons Courtesy Basil Wilson
truncheon in a bin at the receivers store
Truncheons Courtesy Basil Wilson
blue lamp patrol dress 1949
Courtesy Basil Wilson
trun
Courtesy Basil Wilson
trun2
Courtesy Basil Wilson

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Emphasis on Technique

This month, about two dozen police officers completed their last day of Koga training on the fifth floor of the old Signet Bank building on Guilford Avenue. Lining up on blue wrestling mats, they practiced how to arrest and search suspects, including having them lie face down on the ground to be handcuffed -- a departure from making suspects line up against a wall. The idea is to keep the suspect off balance, giving the officer leverage in case the prisoner tries to escape. The instructors emphasized the importance of technique. For example, when searching a suspect for a weapon, seven areas are checked, starting with the waistband, the most common hiding place. "If you start jumping around, you will miss something," Sgt. Ronald Fleming told the group. "You will miss the gun." The officers also went through a series of baton maneuvers, and instructors stressed that the blows are defensive. "It is not used as an offensive tool," DeManss said. Baltimore police do not teach two Koga maneuvers-a controversial choke hold that cuts off the blood supply to the brain and a practice of having officers approach suspects with guns in hand. DeManss teaches the controversial two-handed jab to the chest, but tells officers to use it only when they can justify deadly force. In other words, the jab is in the same category as the firearm. Koga argues that the jab can safely be used more liberally because it is not a deadly maneuver. But DeManss says "controlling force" manual is inconsistent with how is should be used. While it recommends against striking near the heart, diagrams clearly show officers striking a suspect's midsection. Making a distinction during a fight is next to impossible, DeManss said. The FBI "Defense Tactics Manual" lists "unacceptable target areas" for a baton, including any area near an internal organ, such as the cardiopulmonary and digestive systems. DeManss said Koga may be able to defend the jab in court, but he doesn't want to take the chance. "I can't find a doctor to sign off on this. It is taught [in Baltimore] as deadly force. Bob's totally against it. He said we just ruined the whole [program]." Adding to concerns, a law review article this spring by a University of Baltimore law student Brian L. DeLeonardo, warned that allowing officers wide latitude in using the jab would make the city vulnerable to civil liability. "A misclassification of a baton strike to the chest as nondeadly force provides ample ground for a jury to conclude that such a decision reflects a deliberate indifference to the citizens of Baltimore City," he wrote. After DeManss raised concerns, the commissioner agreed and ordered instructors to tell officers 'that this may be a fatal blow. You can't say go ahead and do a two-handed strike to the chest and not worry it can't be fatal, because it can." Maneuver defended But Koga strongly defends the baton strike. In a May 28 letter to Frazier, a copy of which was obtained by the Sun, he argues that in order to classify the blow as deadly force, it must be "likely to B] cause death.... In over 40 years of police work and police training, I have yet to hear of a fatality experienced due to blunt trauma to the chest by the baton." Koga also noted resistance 3 within the city Police Department to his program and criticized the way Baltimore is teaching it. "I have become aware that some students are afraid of retribution from some command staff who do not want this method,, which seems to be carried on through the lower supervisory ranks," he wrote. "It has been expressed to me that if an instructor voices positive comments in support of the program, they are essentially committing political suicide." Koga wrote that in some cases, lieutenants have "corrected" officers -- on the street who are using his techniques, reverting to the is old ways. "There appears to be no accountability to insure compliance with the policies of the commissioner's office," the letter says. DeManss said that "supervisors are avoiding this like the plague. Frazier is going to have to s3 put his foot down." Frazier said he not heard any complaints from the officers who have completed the program, but he acknowledged initial resistance. And he said there is a "lack of understanding on the part of the command staff," leading to some confusion on the street when ) sergeants and lieutenants see their officers handle suspects in what seem unusual ways. "It's different," Frazier said. "We're taking away the espantoon. The batons are longer and lighter and thinner. You can't spin them. All those are issues of tradition. It's just a process of change that we have to work through." Pub Date: 8/11/96

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Police Advances Render Iron Claw Obsolete
The Sun (1837-1987); Jun 17, 1978;
pg. B20 - The iron claw, just like the guillotine, machine gun, shock baton and Billy knife, has outlived its usefulness and has become a dying piece of optional police equipment – unless you happen to be one of the “old veterans.” “We progressed beyond the iron claw,” the president of the local firm to distribute police equipment said recently. “It’s a punishment type of equipment. If anything, it was detrimental to law enforcement.” Robert V. Wantz, president of Maryland police supply, Inc., Said his firm stop supplying the iron claw the law enforcement officers about three years ago after the demand had decreased substantially. “No question they can still be bought.” Mr. Wantz said. The iron claw is a single handcuff that can be snapped on to a person’s wrists and controlled by a T-shaped handle. Once secured to the rest it is “crank” to remove any slack. After that, any sudden voluntary or involuntary movement can cause considerable pain or even a broken wrist. Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman, said officers are allowed to use the device if they purchase one with their own funds. Salesman for another local supplier of police equipment, who preferred to remain anonymous because of the "adverse publicity the claw draws,” said the item retails for about $30. “We probably sell about three in a six month period. It takes a special skill to use it properly. It’s quite a vicious device… And instrument of persuasion,” he added. “Most people are afraid of it. I had one cop who claimed to use it to break a man’s jaw.” However, Millard S. Rubenstein, the Police Department’s legal advisor, said he could not recall a single serious case were departmental charges resulted from improper use of the iron claw. Police agent Michael D. Bass, another police spokesman, said he had seen very few of the Aren’t clause during his six years on the force and cannot himself recall it’s being used in making an arrest. “I would say the radio [walkie-talkie] and radio cars caused the demise of the claw,” agent Beth said. “Most of the guys who will carry it now would be old-timers.” He said the claws were most useful when there were many foot post in the city and no immediate method of summons and either backup help or a patrol wagon. “You had to go to a call box to call for a wagon [after making an arrest].” Agent Bass said, “they [prisoners] would go digging and scratching all the way.” He said that by cranking the device it could easily be used to “secure a prisoner.” But now he said, the call is mostly a thing of the past, unless you happen to run into one of the older veterans on the force. “It’s just a conversation piece now,” he added. Mr. Wantz said the manufacturers of police equipment have not developed many new items in recent years and the most popular piece of equipment now seems to be a heavy aluminum flashlight that can be used as a nightstick. It can be purchased by law enforcement officers for about $18-$28 he said.

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 Officer Custom-Makes Nightsticks BALTIMORE CITY
[FINAL Edition]
The Sun - Baltimore, Md.
Author:    Hilson, Robert, Jr
Date:    Apr 9, 1993
Start Page:    4.BSection:    METRO
Document Text - In his first week with the Baltimore Police Department 24 years ago, Officer Joseph Hlafka broke five nightsticks while on duty. "Four times I was protecting myself from people who refused to leave a corner," Officer Hlafka recently recalled. The fifth nightstick fell from his hand and broke apart. "So I started to make my own, and I got good at it, real good," Officer Hlafka said. "Mine don't break easily like some of the other ones." In making the nightsticks, he uses woodworking skills he learned in the Police Boys Clubs, and stronger wood. His colleagues liked his first models and asked him to make theirs. Since then, Officer Hlafka, known as "Nightstick Joe," has made thousands of nightsticks for fellow officers. "I realized that I would get hurt if I continued to use their {the police department's} equipment," he said. "I just make a better nightstick. Once I made them, they started going like a house on fire." The nightsticks that Officer Hlafka, 55, makes in the crowded basement workshop of his south Baltimore rowhouse are requested by police officers in Baltimore and other cities, and in Canada and France. "They hear about me and get in touch with me and before too long, I can make them a good nightstick," Officer Hlafka said. More than a dozen nightsticks sway from the ceiling of his workshop, waiting to be claimed by officers. Some officers have requested terms such as "Nighty Night," "Ouch," "The Man," "Bye Bye" and "Kiss Me" to be engraved on their nightsticks. Several department-issue nightsticks are also in Officer Hlafka's basement. "This is a piece of junk," he says, grabbing one of the nightsticks that is lighter in weight than his. "I could snap it in a heartbeat." Pine nightsticks, 21 1/2-inches long, are issued to every trainee in the Baltimore Police Depatment Education and Training Division for use for self-defense and crowd control. City officers use only wooden nightsticks, which inflict less physical damage than the plastic nightsticks used by some other police departments. Officer Hlafka uses strong bubinga wood from Brazil and South Africa, meticulously rounding each nightstick on a lathe. Then he sands the weapon -- 24 inches long and 2 inches in diameter -- until it is smooth. It takes him about two hours to make a nightstick, a knocker in police parlance, and he charges $30 for it. He earns about $5 profit on each nightstick. Sgt. Thomas Maly, who works in the education and training division, said it's somewhat of a tradition for new officers to buy nightsticks from Nightstick Joe. "A lot of them seem to like his nightsticks," Sergeant Maly said. "They conform to the same standards but have a different finish. They're more perfect." Officer Hlafka said he never imagined the popularity of his nightsticks. "But I've done pretty well over the years and I guess the nightsticks have, too," he said. "I make it to last because it should last, and I make them any way that they want to have them made. I think that I've known every officer on the {city} force for the last 20 years." A foot patrolman assigned to the tactical section at the Inner Harbor, he works an eight-hour night shift, then puts in four to six hours making the "Hlafka model" nightsticks. When he's in his workshop, he and his wife communicate via an intercom system. "The only thing that changes on each nightstick is the head. The rest of it is the same. People have different grips," he said. "When an officer grabs a piece of wood, it's got to feel comfortable." Officer Hlafka said he's used two nightsticks since he began making them. "The first one I made, I had for almost 10 years until it got stolen. The one I have now I've had for 15 years," he said. Capt. Michael Bass, of the Northern District, said Officer Hlafka is somewhat legendary because of his nightsticks. "You mention his name and everybody says, `Oh yeah, I know him,' " Captain Bass said. He said when he was assigned to the police academy, Officer Hlafka would meet with most trainees, show them his nightsticks and take their orders. "And then a couple of weeks later, he'll pull up and pass them out," Captain Bass said. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

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Better Training in use of Force Urged for Police
[FINAL Edition]
The Sun - Baltimore, Md.
Author:    Hermann, Peter
Date:    Nov 5, 1994
Start Page:    1.B
Section:    METRO
Document Text
The Baltimore Police Department needs to better train its officers in the use of force against suspects and should ban two types of long-used, but unsanctioned, weapons, a consultant has concluded. A report, which was released in summary form yesterday, urges the department to adopt a comprehensive policy on the use of force that would consolidate a series of disjointed memos and training guidelines. "To an outside observer, our efforts in {training} would certainly appear to be fragmented and sporadic, at best," Col. Joseph R. Bolesta, chief of the Human Resources Bureau, wrote in a memo responding to the report. "I'm not surprised by what they found," said Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier.  The report also called for standardized nightsticks to be issued, instead of officers being allowed to buy their own, and for a ban on weapons such as blackjacks -- small leather pouches filled with lead pellets or a steel plate. Mr. Frazier asked for the review in August after West Baltimore resident Jesse Chapman was found dead in the back of a police van after his arrest. Witnesses said officers beat the 30-year-old man, an allegation not supported by a grand jury review. The founder of the institute that prepared the report, Robert K. Koga -- who has known the commissioner since his days in San Jose, Calif. -- and an aide spent 2 1/2 days in Baltimore, at a cost of about $3,000, and are still poring over manuals as they evaluate the department.
Mr. Koga founded the training and consultant center in the early 1980s after he retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. It has worked with numerous police agencies nationwide, including those in Denver, San Jose and Dallas and with the U.S. Secret Service. The Baltimore department declined to release the full report, saying it contained sensitive tactical information, but made public Colonel Bolesta's memo outlining the institute's findings and his responses. William Pelkey, executive director of the Koga Institute, said developing a standard policy on the use of force is essential to ensure a safe department that can be trusted by citizens. "Written policies drive police departments and establish parameters in which officers function," he said. "Everything pertaining to use of force should be together. You should look in one place and find the philosophy and the practice. When you don't have those together, you might have contradictions." The main problem in Baltimore, Mr. Pelkey said, is that department rules are "so fragmented that officers have no clue on what is authorized or not."  Some recommendations by the institute may not be implemented. For example, the report calls for monthly firearms training for each officer, something Colonel Bolesta said is impractical because of a lack of money and training space. Officer Gary McLhinney, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he supports the institute's finding in regards to training. Until last year, he said, officers only fired their weapons once a year on a practice range. Now, they train twice a year. "That's inadequate," Officer McLhinney said. "The fact they recognize there is a problem with training is a step in the right direction."  Officer McLhinney would not comment on the recommendations to ban certain equipment.  Mr. Frazier said he became concerned after the Chapman incident, which is still under internal review, when he learned an officer may have hit Mr. Chapman in the back with a blackjack.  He said there is a "consensus of the command staff that slapjacks and blackjacks are inappropriate law enforcement tools." They most likely will be banned, Mr. Frazier said. Colonel Bolesta agreed. "We've never trained anyone to carry that equipment," he said. "That concerned us. . . . We don't issue them. But there is tacit approval for that kind of thing." The institute also recommends that the department replace the "espantoon," a 22-inch nightstick with a knurled end, with a 29-inch straight baton. Mr. Pelkey said the longer stick is safer for officers involved in a close struggle with a suspect and its smooth surface avoids unnecessary injuries to people being hit. Also on the way out could be the leather handle on the end of the nightstick, used by officers to twirl their batons. The sight of officers walking down the street swinging the stick can be unsettling to residents, some commanders feel. "The thong serves no useful purpose other than decorative and should not be considered as an addition to any future impact weapon adopted by the department," Colonel Bolesta wrote in his memo. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

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Police Get Rid of an Old Weapon Baton Training Aims to Supplant use of Traditional Nightstick
August 11, 1996|By PETER HERMANN | PETER HERMANN,SUN STAFF
Bidding farewell to the fabled espantoon, Baltimore police are wielding a new nightstick on city streets and practicing new ways of confronting unruly citizens. The California-based Koga Institute is teaching officers procedures for searching, subduing and arresting people. They are based on martial arts, and the police chief hopes these techniques win minimize injuries to officers and citizens. Officers also are learning several maneuvers with the new stick -- balled a baton -- which is replacing the espantoon, a nightstick used since the turn of the century.
Although officers seem to like the training, the program got off to a rocky start. Some police commanders have been reluctant to change, and instructors privately have complained that some district sergeants and lieutenants have tried to steer officers away from becoming Koga trainers. Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, over the institute's objections, decided to limit how officers use one baton maneuver -- a two-handed jab to the chest -- because he is concerned someone could be killed. Robert K. Koga, a former Los Angeles police officer, founded the institute in 1973. The self-defense techniques he teaches are based on Aikido, a combination of Greco-Roman wrestling and jujitsu. While the baton may be the most noticeable addition to the police force, officers are learning a wide range of Koga defense techniques. "The Koga Method is a , complete system, capable of providing an officer with an the tools needed to not only safely control a suspect, but control the officer as well," company brochures say. Frazier concluded more training was needed soon after he arrived in Baltimore in 1994 and spent several nights on the street, watching his officers make arrests. "What I saw frightened me," he said. Standard techniques were lacking, he said, putting suspects and officers in danger. Then there was the famed espantoon. Frazier thought the time-honored tradition of twirling the stick was intimidating to citizens, and he worried about injuries of people hit by the stick. "There was never any formal espantoon training," said Lt. Gerard G. DeManss, a 25-year veteran who heads the Koga training program in the department. "The department gave you something and didn't tell you how to use it." So far, 500 officers have been trained in the new techniques and given the new baton, which is 29 inches long and has no handle. The espantoon is shorter and thicker and has a grooved handle and strap. Instructors estimate it will take up to five years for all 3,100 department members to complete the program, which has cost the city $118,000 in the past two years. Emphasis on technique - This month, about two dozen police officers completed their last day of Koga training on the fifth floor of the old Signet Bank building on Guilford Avenue. Lining up on blue wrestling mats, they practiced how to arrest and search suspects, including having them lie face down on the ground to be handcuffed -- a departure from making suspects line up against a wall. The idea is to keep the suspect off balance, giving the officer leverage in case the prisoner tries to escape. The instructors emphasized the importance of technique. For example, when searching a suspect for a weapon, seven areas are checked, starting with the waistband, the most common hiding place. "If you start jumping around, you will miss something," Sgt. Ronald Fleming told the group. "You will miss the gun." The officers also went through a series of baton maneuvers, and instructors stressed that the blows are defensive. "It is not used as an offensive tool," DeManss said. Baltimore police do not teach two Koga maneuvers-a controversial choke hold that cuts off the blood supply to the brain and a practice of having officers approach suspects with guns in hand. DeManss teaches the controversial two-handed jab to the chest, but tells officers to use it only when they can justify deadly force. In other words, the jab is in the same category as the firearm. Koga argues that the jab can safely be used more liberally because it is not a deadly maneuver. But DeManss says "controlling force" manual is inconsistent with how is should be used. While it recommends against striking near the heart, diagrams clearly show officers striking a suspect's midsection. Making a distinction during a fight is next to impossible, DeManss said. The FBI "Defense Tactics Manual" lists "unacceptable target areas" for a baton, including any area near an internal organ, such as the cardiopulmonary and digestive systems. DeManss said Koga may be able to defend the jab in court, but he doesn't want to take the chance. "I can't find a doctor to sign off on this. It is taught [in Baltimore] as deadly force. Bob's totally against it. He said we just ruined the whole  [program]." Adding to concerns, a law review article this spring by a University of Baltimore law student Brian L. DeLeonardo, warned that allowing officers wide latitude in using the jab would make the city vulnerable to civil liability. "A misclassification of a baton strike to the chest as nondeadly force provides ample ground for a jury to conclude that such a decision reflects a deliberate indifference to the citizens of Baltimore City," he wrote. After DeManss raised concerns, the commissioner agreed and ordered instructors to tell officers 'that this may be a fatal blow. You can't say go ahead and do a two-handed strike to the chest and not worry it can't be fatal, because it can." Maneuver defended But Koga strongly defends the baton strike. In a May 28 letter to Frazier, a copy of which was obtained by the Sun, he argues that in order to classify the blow as deadly force, it must be "likely to B] cause death.... In over 40 years of police work and police training, I have yet to hear of a fatality experienced due to blunt trauma to the chest by the baton." Koga also noted resistance 3 within the city Police Department to his program and criticized the way Baltimore is teaching it. "I have become aware that some students are afraid of retribution from some command staff who do not want this method,, which seems to be carried on through the lower supervisory ranks," he wrote. "It has been expressed to me that if an instructor voices positive comments in support of the program, they are essentiaUy committing political suicide." Koga wrote that in some cases, lieutenants have "corrected" officers -- on the street who are using his techniques, reverting to the is old ways. "There appears to be no accountability to insure compliance with the policies of the commissioner's office," the letter says. DeManss said that "supervisors are avoiding this like the plague. Frazier is going to have to s3 put his foot down." Frazier said he not heard any complaints from the officers who have completed the program, but he acknowledged initial resistance. And he said there is a "lack of understanding on the part of the command staff," leading to some confusion on the street when ) sergeants and lieutenants see their officers handle suspects in what seem unusual ways. "It's different," Frazier said. "We're taking away the espantoon. The batons are longer and lighter and thinner. You can't spin them. All those are issues of tradition. It's just a process of change that we have to work through." - Pub Date: 8/11/96

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The Espantoon (is back thanks to Ed Norris)
October 31, 2008
There has been great response to my postings and those of the Baltimore Sun's Copy Desk Chief John E. McIntyre on old police terms, cliches and the differences in cop lingo between Baltimore and New York. One reader reminded me of a New York term I had all but forgotten: "On the job." Several readers have commented on the Espantoon -- defined in Webster's Third Edition: "In Baltimore, a policeman's stick" -- and one asked for a picture of one. Here are a couple by Sun photographer Amy Davis shot back in 2000 when then Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris reversed a ban and allowed officers to once again carry the sticks. Tradition returned. Here is "Nightstick Joe" making an Espantoon in the basement of his Federal Hill rowhouse in 2000, and another of him outside with the stick. What follows is the complete story published on Sept. 23, 2000 that I wrote on the return of the Espantoon. I've been warned against posting long takes from old stories, but so many want to know the history I think some of you might be interested: By Peter Hermann

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Nightstick Joe is Back in Business.
To the delight of tradition-minded Baltimore police officers, the city's new commissioner agreed yesterday to allow his troops to carry the once-banned espantoon, a wooden nightstick with an ornately tooled handle and a long leather strap for twirling. Joseph Hlafka, who retired last year after three decades as an officer on the force and is best known by his nickname earned for turning out the sticks on his basement lathe, will once again see his handiwork being used by officers patrolling city streets. Orders for the $30 sticks are coming in. A local police supply store has ordered three dozen to boost its stock. Commissioner Edward T. Norris bought five. Young officers who have never seen one are calling with questions. "They want to know how to twirl it," Hlafka said.
Before Norris arrived from New York in January, he had never heard of an "espantoon." He knew the generic "baton," "nightstick" and "billy club," and was well acquainted with New York's technical "PR-24."
He challenged his command staff to prove the term belongs solely to Mobtown. And there, in Webster's Third Edition: "Espantoon, Baltimore, a policeman's club." Norris signed the order yesterday, and the espantoon once again became a sanctioned, but optional, piece of police equipment. "When I found out what they meant to the rank and file, I said, `Bring them back,'" said Norris, who is trying to boost morale. "It is a tremendous part of the history of this Police Department." Hlafka is delighted. When the sticks were barred in 1994 by a commissioner who didn't like them, his production dropped from about 70 a month to 30, with most of them going to officers in departments across the country and collectors. They are now made from blocks of Bubinga, a hardwood imported from South Africa that doesn't get brittle in cold weather. Hlafka whittles and sands the wood to remove visible blemishes on the sticks, which measure from 22 inches to 25 inches long. It is art with a purpose. The espantoon recalls the bygone times of Baltimore law enforcement, when running afoul of an officer meant trouble. It fits in with the city's new assertive policing strategy of a new department leader who wants "police to be the police again." It is just what Hlafka, 62, wants to hear. "No one sold drugs on my post," he said while standing outside his William Street rowhouse, twirling an espantoon he had just finished. "They knew they would have to answer to me." Former Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier banned espantoons in 1994, saying that they weren't all the same length and weight and that an officer twirling the stick was too intimidating to the citizenry. In one order, the Californian uprooted decades of Baltimore police history. Espantoons - the word is derived from "spontoon," a weapon carried by members of a Roman legion - were first issued to nightshift officers before the age of radio communication. Officers used the sticks to bang on sidewalks or drainpipes to call for help. Twirling the stick became an art. "Telling a policeman not to swing his espantoon would be like asking a happy man not to whistle," The Sun said in a 1947 article. To replace the espantoons, Frazier issued long batons, called Koga sticks, which many officers refused to carry because they were cumbersome. It required hours of training in martial arts self-defense tactics, and some argued that the Koga stick was more dangerous than the espantoon. Sergeants were reluctant to send officers to Koga classes, and a trainer argued that some of the tactics being taught could be lethal on the street. Capt. Michael Andrew was among a handful of high-ranking officers who never took Koga training. He still has the espantoon his father gave him when he graduated from the police academy in 1973. His father, George Andrew, bought the espantoon from a West Baltimore Street shop when he joined the city force in 1940. The nightstick has been used ever since, "with the exception of five years when Frazier banned it, and we had to put it in mothballs," the younger Andrew said. In the old days, the espantoon was required equipment. "You better not have got caught without that stick under your arm," he said. "If you ever left it in your car, you'd get yelled at by your sergeant." The Andrews' espantoon started at the Eastern District, where his father began his career at the old stationhouse at East Fayette and North Caroline streets, and then moved with him to a foot patrol on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the Western. The nightstick is now in the hands of his son, and back on the city's east side. The 49-year-old captain addressed a group of younger officers assigned to flood the crime-troubled Eastern, and held up the espantoon as an invaluable tool for their jobs. He and other officers say that it can be used to stop threats without resorting to a gun. The elder Andrew, who retired as a lieutenant in 1974, recalled arresting a drunken blacksmith on East Fayette Street who had grabbed his legs. "I tapped him with the stick," the 86-year-old said. "He let go." Police commanders view the nightstick as an important tool that can be used to subdue people without killing them. "Mace is very effective, and it certainly has done its job," said Deputy Commissioner Bert Shirey, who still has the espantoon he was issued at the academy 34 years ago. "But there are times when Mace doesn't work, and it's nice to have something in between Mace and a gun." There is no doubt that getting hit with an espantoon hurts, and it can cause serious injury. Hlafka, who walked a beat at both the Inner Harbor and Lexington Market during his final years on the force, said he has struck many people with an espantoon over the course of his career. "People used to complain that we would hit them with the stick," Hlfaka said. "But would they rather get hit by a 9 mm bullet? Then, you don't come back." All content herein is © 2008 The Baltimore Sun and may not be republished without permission  

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Club
A club (also known as cudgel, baton, truncheon, cosh, nightstick, or bludgeon) is among the simplest of all weapons. A club is essentially a short staff, or stick, usually made of wood, and wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times.

Most clubs are small enough to be swung in one hand although two-handed variants are known. Various kinds of clubs are used in martial arts and other specialized fields, including the law-enforcement baton. The military mace is a more sophisticated descendant of the club, typically made of metal and featuring a spiked, knobbed or flanged head attached to a shaft.

The wounds inflicted by a club are generally known as bludgeoning or blunt-force trauma injuries.

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Law Enforcement

Main article: Baton (law enforcement)

Police forces and their predecessors have traditionally favored the use, whenever possible, of less-lethal weapons than guns or blades to impose public order or to subdue and arrest law-violators. Until recent times, when alternatives such as tasers and capsicum spray became available, this category of policing weapon has generally been filled by some form of wooden club variously termed a truncheon, baton, nightstick or lathi. Short, flexible clubs are also often used, especially by plainclothes officers who need to avoid notice. These are known colloquially as blackjacks, saps, or coshes.

Conversely, criminals have been known to arm themselves with an array of homemade or improvised clubs, generally of easily concealable sizes, or which can be explained as being carried for legitimate purposes (such as baseball bats and pool sticks).

In addition, Shaolin monks and members of other religious orders around the world have employed cudgels from time to time as defensive weapons.

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Types of Batons
Though perhaps the simplest of all weapons as primal as a stick, there are many varieties of club, including: For other types see Baton (law enforcement).

Aklys – The Aklys is a club with an integrated leather thong, used to return it to the hand after snapping it at an opponent. Its origin is unclear.

Ball Club - These clubs were used by the Native Americans. There are two types; the Stone Ball clubs that were used mostly by early Plains, Plateau and Southwest Native Indians and the Wooden Ball clubs that the Huron and Iroquois tribes used. These consisted of a relatively free-moving round headed stone or wood and attached to a wooden handle.

Baseball, Cricket and T-Ball Bats – The baseball bat is often used as an improvised weapon, much like the pickaxe handle. In countries where baseball is not commonly played, baseball bats are often first thought of as weapons (e.g. in Poland, baseball bats or similar are defined as weapons by law, so have been illegal to carry or possess). Tee ball bats are also used in this manner. Their smaller size and lighter weight make the bat easier to handle in one hand than a baseball bat.

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Baton

Blackjack: see cosh.

Clava -- a traditional stone hand-club used by Mapuche Indians in Chile, featuring a long flat body. Full name is clava mere okewa. In Spanish, it's known as clava cefalomorfa. It has some ritual importance as a special sign of distinction carried by the tribal chief.

Cosh: Cudgel – A stout stick carried by peasants during the Middle Ages. It functioned as a walking staff and a weapon for both self-defence and wartime. Regiments of Clubmen were raised as late as the English Civil War. The cudgel is also known as the Singlestick.
A weapon made of covered metal similar to a blackjack. See Baton (law enforcement) #Blackjack.

Any of various sorts of blunt instrument such as bludgeon, truncheon or the like)

Crowbar- The crowbar is a commonly used improvised weapon, though some examples are too large to be wielded with a single hand, and therefore should be classified as staves.

Flashlight – Large metal flashlights such as Maglites, can make a very effective improvised club. Though not specifically classified as a weapon, it is often carried for self-defense by security guards, bouncers and civilians, especially in countries where carrying weapons is restricted.

Gunstock War Club – The wooden stocks of firearms introduced during the European colonization of the Americas were reportedly re-used by First Nations as improvised weapons; other sources claim that the club was an indigenous weapon before European contact, and acquired the term "gunstock" from the similarity of its shape. Regardless, the gunstock is an essential part of firearms, but it was stylized as a war club made famous by the American Indians as the Gunstock War Club. Another more modern idea of this kind of war club would be the combat skill of bayonet usage. Even without a knife or blade type attachment, the rifle's body itself is used for Close Quarters Combat (CQC).

Jutte – One of the more distinctive weapons of the samurai police (dōshin) was the Jutte. Basically an iron rod, the Jutte was popular because it could parry the slash of a sword and disarm an assailant without serious injury. Essentially a defensive or restraining weapon, the length of the Jutte requires the user to get extremely close to those being apprehended. A single hook or fork, called a Kagi, on the side near the handle allowed the Jutte to be used for trapping or even breaking the blades of edged weapons, as well as for jabbing and striking. The Kagi could also be used to entangle the clothes or fingers of an opponent. Thus, feudal Japanese police used the jutte to disarm and arrest subjects without serious bloodshed. Eventually, the Jutte also came to be considered a symbol of official status.

Kanabō (nyoibo, konsaibo, tetsubō, ararebo). – Various types of different sized Japanese clubs made of wood and or iron, usually with iron spikes or studs.

Knobkierrie, occasionally spelled knopkierie or knobkerry, is a strong, short wooden club with a heavy rounded knob or head on one end, traditionally used by Southern African ethnic groups including the Zulu, as a weapon in warfare and the chase. The word Knobkierrie derives from the Dutch knop (knob or button), and the Bushman and Hottentot kerrie or kirri (stick); in the Zulu language it was called the iwisa.The weapon is employed at close quarters, or as a missile, and in time of peace may serve as a walking-stick. The head, or knob, is often ornately carved with faces or shapes that have symbolic meaning. The knobkierrie itself serves this function in the crest of the coat of Arms of South Africa.The name has been extended to similar weapons used by the natives of Australia, the Pacific islands and other places.

Kubotan -- a short, thin, lightweight club often used by law enforcement officers, generally to apply pressure against selected points of the body in order to encourage compliance without inflicting injury.

Life Preserver (also hyphenated Life-preserver), a short, often weighted club intended for self-defense. Mentioned in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance and several Sherlock Holmes stories.

Mace – A mace is a metal or wood club with a heavy head on the end, designed to deliver very powerful blows. The head of a mace may also have small studs forged into it. The mace is often confused with the spiked morning star.

Mere – a mere is a type of short, broad-bladed club (patu), usually made from Nephrite jade (Pounamu or greenstone). A mere is one of the traditional, close combat, one-handed weapons of the indigenous Māori, of New Zealand. The designed use of the mere for forward striking thrusts is an unusual characteristic of Maori patu, where in other parts of the world, clubs are generally wielded with an ax-like downward blow.

Nulla-nulla - a short, curved hardwood club, used as a hunting weapon and in tribal in-fighting, by the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Nunchaku (also called nunchucks) -- an Asian weapon consisting of two clubs, connected by a short rope, thong or chain, and usually used with one club in hand and the other swing as a flail.

Oslop - a two-handed, very heavy, often iron-shod, Russian club that was used as the cheapest and the most readily available infantry weapon.

Pick-Axe Handle – Pick-axes were common tools in the United States in the early 20th century, and replacement handles were widely available. In developing countries, where manual labor is still prevalent, it is pervasive. Strong and heavy, they make a formidable club and have often been used as club weapons. Pick-axe handles were handed out by segregationist Lester Maddox to the white patrons of his Pickrick Restaurant to keep that establishment from being "integrated". In the British Army pick-axe handles are, or were officially used as guards' batons. It should be said that these handles were distributed based on reach, and availbilty (Note it was not cost, as it was, there were stock piles of surplus, "Truncheons" that would have cost less than a pick-axe mattocks handle. But they would not have helped win the intended battle)

Rungu – A rungu (Swahili, plural marungu) is a wooden throwing club or baton bearing special symbolism and significance in certain East African tribal cultures. It is especially associated with Maasai morans (male warriors) who have traditionally used it in warfare and for hunting.

Slapjack – This is a variation of the blackjack. It consists of a longer strap which lets it be used flail-type, and can be used as a club or for trapping techniques as seen in the use of nunchaku and other flexible weapons. The slapjack became illegal for United States police officers to carry in the early 1980s.

Sally rod – A Sally rod is a long, thin wooden stick, generally made from willow (Latin Salix), and used chiefly in the past in Ireland as a disciplinary implement, but also sometimes used like a club (without the fencing-like technique of stick fighting) in fights and brawls. In Japan this type of stick is called the Hanbō meaning half stick, and in FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) it is called the Eskrima or escrima stick, often made from Rattan.

Shillelagh – A shillelagh is a wooden club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob on the end that is associated with Ireland in folklore.

Telescopic – Telescopic batons are rigid batons that are capable of collapsing to a shorter length for greater portability and ability to conceal. They are illegal in the United Kingdom and some other countries. In Hungary these weapons are named "viper" ("viper") and though officially illegal, they were reported as being repeatedly used by riot police units.

Tipstaff

Tonfa, also known in slang as a "PR-24" or "Stanky Doodle," a staff of Japanese origin and featuring a second handle mounted perpendicular to the shaft

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  Currently the Best Place to get an Espantoon is Through
Elite Espantoons

Balt City Police Nightstick-1b-Edit
Departmental Issue Stick with BPD Button Inlaid
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A Hlfaka Stick
Bill Bowden
Bill Bowden
DSC 2701
Barrel Head with strap and swivel

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Espantoon Beats Fists
Jul 31, 1903
 

Odd story from 1903 to show how the times have changed, in an article with the headline, “Espantoon Beats Fists” the author writes; Joe Gans a noted colored champion lightweight pugilist of the world, proved no match for patrolman George Streb in a personal encounter at Mullikin and Dallas Street at about 1 o’clock Wednesday night and as a result of the impromptu “meeting” Gans appeared before Justice Rab at the Northeastern Station yesterday with a badly damaged head “It is well," said Officer Streb, “that I did not know he was a fighter, else I should have hit him harder.”

The statements made at the hearing tended to strengthen the accepted theory that the man who gets the first blow scores a decided advantage. Gans was coming along the street along with two other Negroes, it appears and at the corner the party jostled the patrolman. He objected, and told them to move on, but after going a little distance they stopped and looked back. He warned them again and they crossed the street and sat on a doorstep. Streb then followed, and demanded to know if they lived there.
Told to move on they refused, and Gans suddenly; it was alleged, made a pass at Streb. The blow missed him, but knocked off his helmet. (1903 Baltimore Police were wearing Bobby Helmets - this ceased in 1908) 
 Whack: went the club on the pugilist’s head and once again it descended after which Gans was ready for the stationhouse, where the charge of disorderly conduct was lodged against him. 
Gans denied that he had acted in a disorderly manner, and said the officer had struck him without cause. He declared further that he was opposed to, "Negro rowdyism" and believed in policemen doing their duty.
 

“That’s all right about the officer,” remarked Justice Rab: “You see to your own case, and I guess our officer can account for the others.” 

Gans was fined $5 and costs, which he paid and was released.  

Al Herford, his manager, was present at the hearing.

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The Following is the History of Joe Gans

Joe Gans (25 November 1874 - 10 August 1910) was born Joseph Gant in Baltimore, Maryland. Gans was rated as the greatest lightweight boxer of all time by boxing historian and Ring Magazine founder, Nat Fleischer and was known as the "Old Master." He fought from 1891 to 1909. He was the first African-American World Boxing Champion, reigning continuously as World Lightweight Champion from 1902 to 1908.


Career

Gans started boxing professionally about 1891 in Baltimore. In 1900, Gans quit with an eye cut in the twelfth round of the world lightweight title bout against champion Frank Erne. In their rematch two years later, Gans knocked Erne out in one round to recapture the lightweight title.

Gans reigned as champion from 1902 to 1908. In an important title defense he defeated the "Durable Dane," Oscar "Battling" Nelson, on a foul in 42 rounds on September 3, 1906 in Goldfield, Nevada by promoter Tex Rickard. When they fought again two years later Gans lost by a knockout. He died in August 1910, of tuberculosis and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore. His monument is maintained by the IBC (International Boxing Commission) and sits just to the left of the main entrance of the cemetery. Gans is generally considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time, pound-for-pound.

"I was born in the city of Baltimore in the year 1874, and it might be well to state at this time that my right name is Joseph Gant, not Gans. However, when I became an object of newspaper publicity, some reporter made a mistake and my name appeared as Joe Gans, and as Joe Gans it remained ever since."

This is confirmed by primary sources, such as The Sun (Baltimore, MD) on October 24, 1893 - "Joseph Gant and Buck Myers, colored"; The Sun (Baltimore, MD) on November 28, 1893 - "A six-round sparring match between Wm. Jones and Joseph Gant, colored light-weights", etc.


Professional honors

Gans had a final professional record of 145 wins with 100 knockouts, 10 losses, 16 draws, 6 no contests and 19 no decisions (Newspaper Decisions: 13-2-4) He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.


Hemingway Connection

Ernest Hemingway utilized Joe Gans as a character in his 1916 short story 'A Matter of Color'. This early story set the stage for Hemingway's famous 1927 parable 'The Killers'.

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Russ Pomrenke
Russ Pomrenke
Jim Mitchell
Jim Mitchell
Carl Hagen Stick
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Courtesy Kenny Driscoll
Carl Hagen Model Espantoon / Nightstick
Carl Hagen mid to late 60s
Courtesy Kenny Driscoll

Carl Hagen Model Espantoon / Nightstick

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The Nightstick
10 Oct 1959

"There's a lot of law in the end of a nightstick" is a maxim familiar to policemen everywhere. And most Baltimore officers say they would rather enforce their less important orders with a persuasive nudge from the stick than an arrest any time.

 Although primarily a weapon, the nightstick, Billy, club or to use the term attested as Baltimore's own Webster's New International Dictionary Espantoon is as much a symbol of a police officer's authority as his Badge.

Those who think it merely an ornament with which lo display twirling technique are much mistaken. The drunk who feels its sting through his shoe soles will pass out next time in a less conspicuous place than a gutter and the young punk whose solar plexus recoils from its jab will in the future think again before raising his fist against the officer who says "move along." 

A New York City mayor once praised the nightstick as "far more effective" in police work than "the new scientific ideas." 

Realizing the stick's injury-dealing potential most policemen are reluctant to swing at a man unless he becomes very violent or directly attacks them, preferring instead to poke and prod a recalcitrant customer into submission.  

A blow in a vital area from a nightstick can be deadly, as in the case of Paul Clingenpeel. 23, of the 1300 block West Lombard street, who died on September 6 1959 of head injuries after being struck during an attack on Sgt. John Pumphrey, of the Western district. 

Sgt. Pumphrey won acquittal yesterday in Central District’s Police Court on a charge of striking young Clingenpeel and causing his death.

The Rules and Regulations of the Baltimore City Police Department stipulate that "Espantoons” are to be used only in self-defense, when absolutely necessary.”  

In Maryland, common law rules, rather than statutes, control the question of police liability for excessive force in making arrests. State's attorneys have ruled. Assault charges may be brought against police officers in cases where excessive force is used.  

Periodic complaints of "police brutality" and too enthusiastic use of clubs are heard, but very few cases have resulted in the prosecution of policemen on charges of assaulting citizens they have arrested.  

James M. Hepbron, police commissioner, has cautioned his men against too-free use of their weapons, warning that he will not tolerate use of unreasonable force in making arrests and subduing prisoners. 

The Digest of Laws, issued to each member of the force, states that "an officer should use only such force as is necessary to take a prisoner into custody. However, if he is resisted he may repel force with force, i.e. match force with force, and escalate weapon for weapon, as per escalation of violence. 

The Digest also tells the officer that he must consider the type of crime involved and the nature of the resistance against him in deciding how much force to bring to bear on a person. This does not mean if it is a littering case, the officer has to let the suspect go if he or she resists, because the resisting itself becomes a new crime, and the police will never allow one who resists his arrest to just walk away.  

The simplest and least expensive piece of police equipment. The nightstick is usually made of well-seasoned split hickory or locust. It is 22 to 24 inches long, and an inch and a quarter thick, with a 22 inch rawhide thong or strap secured around the base of the striking barrel.  

Baltimore policemen have the option of carrying the clubs or not on the day shift, at the discretion of their commanders, but must carry them on afternoon and night shifts, as well as strike details and riot squads at all times. 

As much as the nightstick is used as a persuader, it is nearly as often used to help people in distress. The long thong/strap has been used as a tourniquet, to stop people from bleeding to death, and the same thong has served as a lifeline to drunks who have rolled off a pier into the harbors cold waters.  

Admittedly a throwback to that most primitive of man's weapons, the club, the nightstick continues to be one of the most effective items of enforcement equipment, and is to most policemen a companion they always want at hand.


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Barrel Head
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A Hlfaka Stick
This has a nice Finger Grip cut into the shaft so the officer can get a better grip while swinging that oversized Barrel head.
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Barrel Head
 

Often believed to be the handle or grip end, this is the striking end and in this design we can see a "Ring" cut mixed with a "Fluted" cut. This gives a nice look allowing for easy grip when being used for jabbing. 
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Ball on Barrel End

The ball on the end of this nightstick is useful for pressure points, jabbing, and other take downs that could result in not only saving an officer’s life, but saving the suspects life. Officers have an escalations of weapons, if they use the Espantoon effectively, even if it breaks a suspects bone, it is better than advancing to another weapon and possibly having to shooting the suspect.  14349418 1M1944 US Navy stick

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Wood Work
K & I Creative Plastics and Wood LLC

K & I Creative Plastics and Wood LLC, located in Jacksonville, Florida since 1979, specializes in the manufacturing of custom and production products from wood and plastic. Our craftsmen work with customers to design and create a variety of products for personal and commercial needs. Please visit our gallery to see some of the many products we create. Woodworking - Our Woodworking Department is a full service mill-works shop featuring CNC machining and custom or traditional mill-work profiles. We grind our own cutters for our wood molder to replicate any existing or historic molding, window sash or door trim. We build custom wood doors and windows. Our wood-turning capabilities range from one off replacements or prototypes to numerous custom balusters with our hydraulic tracer lathe. Our master craftsmen have created spectacular spiral staircases and fine wood products for over 40 years. We also sale and s4s all hardwoods.


Check the following links 1.Here 2.Here 3.Here 4.Here 5.Here 6.Here and 7.Here 

 

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perfection collection 1Based on the top four most important Espantoons in the History of the Baltimore Police Department we have created this commemorative, and decorative set of Espantoons. The "Perfection Collection" is the first in the series of the Baltimore Espantoon and it's evaluation. The Issue, a close representation of the stick most often issued by the department from as far back as the late 1800’s. This stick was issued to the officer unstained, and without a (thong) strap. The second stick is from a maker that started the trend toward changing that issued stick (I should point out before this, most guys either altered their issued sticks, or bought stock sticks for replacement) But in the late 50's early 60’s a wood worker named Carl Hagen began turning sticks for officers near his home in the western District. Mr. Hagen’s early sticks were similar in size to the issued stick, but had a different shape. That shape eventually grew in size as officers of the Western and Northwest Districts requested bigger sticks. Then in the early 70's a former contractor by the name of Edward Bremer came along, he introduced exotic woods, and what he called a "Nib" to the top of the “barrel head” of the Espantoon (Nightstick) on top of these changes, Mr. Bremer went a little bigger yet, and stained the woods in different colors, again at the requests of the officers. Only using woods stains of the times, these sticks were sold in natural wood tones. (As a side Note, there was a time when officers would stain their issued sticks using “Iodine” from the first aid kits in their cars.” Mr. Bremer made his sticks around the end of Mr. Hagen’s stick turning period, used his designs and a few of his own. In 1969 Joseph Hlafka joined the Police Academy, after graduation a friend of Joe's named Dave (Toney) Turrini, showed Joe how to turn a nightstick for himself. Joe had always liked working in woods and made everything from toys to furniture. Joe would eventually turn a stick for himself and took it work, Joe’s stick was similar to Carl Hagen, and Ed Bremer’s, but a little bigger, with a refined shape, and sharper look that had harder edges than either of his predecessors. A few of the guys on Joe’s shift wanted one like his, and before long, it was guys from different districts calling on Joe for one of his sticks. Ed Bremer was still making sticks at the time so his sticks grew along with Joe, but at some point in the late 70’s Mr. Bremer stopped turning his sticks. Joe now known as “Nightstick Joe” continued turning his sticks into the new millennium, in fact it would be 2007 before he would put down the chisels, and retire his lathe. During the 35 years between 1972 and 2007 Nightstick Joe will make small changes, but not many, as he nearly perfected the Espantoon early on by giving the guys what they wanted, and adding in the few design elements that he knew should be there. Of the three named Stick turners, Joe was the only one that was a police officer, so he knew what was needed, and what was over kill. This set of Baltimore Police Espantoons best represents our history in the Baltimore Police Department.

 

perfection
The Perfection Collection
Four of Baltimore's most important Espantoon (Nightsticks)
Top to bottom - A Baltimore Police Issued Stick, Carl Hagen, Ed Bremer, Joseph Hlafka

perfection collection

Top to bottom - Baltimore Police Issued Stick, Carl Hagen, Ed Bremer, Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka

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K & I Creative  - Ash Espantoons complete, and in Stages as per our drawing Done 21.5 long, 1.25 dia. I tend to favor the four Baltimore Sticks, The Issued, Carl Hagen's Ed Bremer, and Joe Hlafka. So when I saw this Issue Stick with 6 inlaid ebony diamonds - I have to have... It is beautiful.

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 K & I Creative - Lathe

K & I Creative - lathe set up, there is what appears to be an interesting story here, if you look at the stick in the background, you'll see a sort of 2.5" -3" section at the end of the shaft, that could be due to our Blue print, we traces and actual Issue stick, but as the blue prints are done for fun the measurements are not 100% accurate, so the correction is made. We didn't do measurement accurate, because it wouldn't be fair to guys like Joe Hlafka who put his life into making sticks, and perfecting the dimensions, so until I obtain Joe's permission, we'll make these prints for artistic purposes.

 

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 K & I Creative - Issue Stick Barrel Head 
This is a perfect representation of the former Baltimore Police Issued Espantoon

video

K & I Creative - Issue stick barrel head being turned
When you open to the video screen, you can expand the video to fill screen
6 diamonds
K & I Creative - BPD Issue Stick design with inlaid wood designs the stick on the bottom has 6 diamonds inlaid in ebony one diamond for each of the Baltimore 6, these sticks are perfect, and as we continue we'll see they only get better
Baltimore button
 K & I Creative - A Baltimore City Police Issue style Espantoon
with a brass Baltimore City Police Button inlayed in the end of the barrel head
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K & I Creative - A Nightstick Joe Hlafka style Espantoon that we have authorization of Joe Hlafka
to turn these sticks to go along with the decorative Blue Prints drawn up for collectors...
 
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K & I Creative - Close up of the barrel head on a Nightstick Joe Hlafka, style Espantoon. We have authorization
from Joe Hlafka
to turn these sticks to go along with the decorative Blue Prints drawn up for collectors... 11229765 884102288336741 7422834147794698660 n
These four sticks are the final product, the top stick is the BPD Issue, next down is the Carl Hagen, followed by the Ed Bremer, and the Joesph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka These four sticks tell our history and the progression of the Baltimore Espantoon.


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Upon closer inspection, we see the second stick a duplicate of Carl Hagen has the trademark top rounded ball shape on top, and down just above the top thong groove we see a slight bumped area, this was something found on all Carl Hagen sticks, so in order to make a true Carl Hagen representation, we had to duplicate that bumps, then if we go down one to the third stick down we see another fine example of a duplicate Ed Bremer Stick, Much like a Carl Hagen, except Mr. Bremer, liked to put a "nib" on top of his sticks, he tended to believe that since the Espantoon was step away from the revolver, that his sticks saved lives, that Nib as he called it allowed an officer an extra added method of stopping a suspect, but jabbing at them with the stick, thereby preventing the use of a firearm and saving a life. He felt people that fought police were often letting rage take over their actions, and if an officer could jab then and stop the threat, before having to escalate to the revolver, it could save the life of a suspect and or officer. After Mr Bremer, came Joe Hlafka, AKA Nightstick Joe, Joe would make sticks from 1973 until 2007 more than 30 years, that is more than 3 times Carl Hagen and Ed Bremer combined, and during those years, Joe was said to have invented the edition of adding the swivel to the Espantoon, which allowed officers to spin a stick for ours, prior to that Officers would spin the stick three or four times forward, and three or four times back, back and forth, back and forth, quite a talent, then came Joes addition and an officer could spin forward or backward for as long as they desired without having to change directions. Spinning sticks also prevented officers from having to use the stick, when a potential routy would see how well an officer could spin his stick, they were less likely to try to that officer. Another thing spinning a stick did was t prevent people from getting too close to an officer, that spinning of the stick, caused a personal space that people could not get into, thereby preventing anyone from getting close enough to attack and officer via a surprise attack. These four sticks are the perfect example of the History, and evaluation of the Baltimore Espantoon.

 

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Carl Hagen design
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Ed Bremer design
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Carl Hagen
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Ed Bremer
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K & I Creative - Presentation Stick Barrel Head
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K & I Creative - Barrel Head
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stick maker1 KSCN0004 smCarl Hagen 1960
1i KSCN0003 smCarl Hagen 1961
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1ii KSCN0002 smBaltimore Property Man with Box of 96 New Sticks Circa 1960
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Swing Class-In Blue

By Ralph Reopert 
1947nightstickarticle12-7-19472 1

The trick of twirling their Espantoons is one that policemen have developed to a fine art down through the years. For a routine show of authority on trivial matters a policeman wears a badge, and develops a deep voice. For cases of dire emergencies, he carries a revolver. Between the situations at those extremes lies the wide bailiwick of the Espantoon, or nightstick. This is the instrument that gives law enforcement its delicate shadings - a touch to the hesitant, a nudge to the raucous, with emphasis increasing as necessary to the' “prod”, “rap” and downright “swing”. The espantoon is the simplest and least expensive article in a policeman's equipment. It is made usually of well-seasoned Maryland split hickory or locust, 22 – 24 inches long and an inch and a quarter thick. Attached to the base of the handle is a rawhide thong, also 22 to 24 inches in length. The department buys Espantoons, 100 or so at a time, from a Pratt street house that has been turning them out as long as most of the sergeants can remember. The new patrolman gets his first one free ofcharge. If he breaks it, the department replaces it. If he loses it, he buys another for a dollar. For all its simplicity the Espantoon is also one of the policeman's most versatile and important pieces of equipment. It is carried only by men on the night shifts, ordinarily, but by strike or riot squads at all times. As for versatility, its virtues are beyond reproach. In the days before radio and telephone service, policemen banged their nightsticks on the pavement to communicate with each other. Use of the Espantoon’s thong as a tourniquet is common, and many an inebriated going to sleep on the edge of a pier and awakening in the harbor waters has grasped that same extended thong as a lifeline. The Espantoon is most beloved by policemen, however, for two other reasons. The captains say it keeps a new patrolman's hands out or his pockets. The men say it is a great deal of companionship on remote and lonely beats. Dozens of Espantoon spins, whirls and loops have been developed by these lonely policemen down through the years. You can usually tell how long a patrolman has been on the force by the way he handles his espantoon. If, in the course of an hour, he throws it into nothing more complex than a simple forward flip, he has probably been practicing only about six months. 

1947nightstickarticle12-7-19472 5Patrolman M. J. Madigan shows the sideswing stick falls thong taunt.1947nightstickarticle12-7-19472 4At the bottom of its drop. the espantoon pivots upon its fastening  
1947nightstickarticle12-7-19472 3 Momentum helped by a gentle tug, carries it through a full circle.1947nightstickarticle12-7-19472 2And so the free end drops back in Madigan's hand its starting point

For the forward flip, the simplest of all Espantoon maneuvers, the policeman holds the free end of the thong and the free end of the slick, then releases the end of the stick as he swings his arm forward. The stick swings out, pivots where the thong is fixed to the handle, does a complete turn and slaps back into the patrolman's hand. The back flip, or outside loop - which requires six months more practice - is the same thing in reverse, with the patrolman catching the end of the club, palm down, behind his back. For the side-swing also, the patrolman gives the club a full turn, this time laterally from a curbstone position. The overhand ,is nothing more than another side-swing with the thong passing over the back of the hand in the starting position unwinding as the maneuver is completed. Any policeman can dangle his Espantoon by the thong and twirl it, but that maneuver leads to two others that are more difficult, the recover and the spin. For the recover, the policeman, with the club in a fast twirl, snaps his wrist expertly and the club straightens out to an upright position, where the policeman seizes it. For the spin, the policeman simply increases the speed of the twirl until the club takes on the appearance of a spoked wheel in a horizontal position. Policemen talk at times about other policemen who, it is said, could throw an Espantoon into a perpendicular spin, like a, "Western Show Rope Spinner". This feat, however, like the Hindu Pope trick, has never actually been seen. Legend also has it that there have been policemen who, by throwing an Espantoon into a forward flip, could break a button off a man's breast pocket without bruising the cigars inside it. As for the name of the stick, Baltimore police are pretty evenly divided between "Espantoon" and "Nightstick". Baltimore is the only city in the world where the word, "Espantoon" is used at all. Webster lists it as "Espantoon” in Baltimore ... a policeman's club." Its derivation is listed as Esponton ( French) meaning Spontoon, a kind of half pike formerly borne by subaltern officers of the British infantry and all commissioned officers of the early United States militia.

 

Although the official Espantoon issued by the Police Department is hickory, at least half of the patrolmen prefer locust for its ringing qualities - a carryover from the days when it was used for signaling. The official Espantoon is issued in natural color, with a thin coat of transparent enamel to prevent discoloration. Almost all of the patrolmen scrape away the enamel and stain the club to either a walnut or a mahogany hue. Several men call iodine the best dye, saying it gives a luster that cannot be matched by any prepared wood stain. There is a third group that puts the Espantoon on a lathe and burnishes it to a deep mahogany. Other woods have been tried by the few policemen who make their own Espantoons - redwood, rosewood, ebony, cocobola and lignum vitae, the latter tropical growths. The friendly protective picture of a policeman twirling his Espantoon on the corner is gradually fading out of the American scene, for two reasons. The first is that the long thong, which makes for freer twirling, is being replaced in several cities by a short strap barely long enough to pass around a policeman's wrist. Espantoons have been wrestled away from policemen on riot duty. This is a safety measure. The second reason is that there is a regulation against anything but an orderly, inconspicuous display of the Espantoon. The department here doesn't deal too sternly with the latter situation. After all telling a policeman not to swing his Espantoon would be like asking a happy man not to whistle.


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1344 med baton 12p daystick

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Patrolman fined $25.00

Joseph May and then found guilty of clothing a patrolman on Nelson

In the courtroom where he had often appeared as a witness against prisoners, Patrolman Joseph G. Mannion of the Southwestern District, was found guilty of an unprovoked assault on Patrolman Charles W. Nelson on Saturday morning last by striking his brother policeman on the head with his Espantoon and was fined $25.00 and costs by Justice Ulrich, at the Southwestern Police Station, yesterday afternoon, The fine was paid.

A countercharge of assault preferred against Nelson by Mannion was dismissed by the magistrate, there being no evidence to prove that Nelson assaulted Mannion. Now that Mannion has been given a hearing by the magistrate he will today face and the Police Board on charges of official misconduct.

The trial of the two policemen attracted scores of persons to the police station. Mannion lives at 1408 Battery Avenue and a large gathering of his friends in South Baltimore filled the magistrate’s office. Both policeman wore their uniforms, and Nelson’s head bore evidence of the blow.

The two policemen were represented by counsel; Nelson’s Attorney was Henry J. Broening and Mannion was defended by an H K. Brooks. Deputy Marshal Manning and a stenographer from the police headquarters were present to hear the testimony.

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Espantoon: A Private Club?
19 July 1979
By Girard Ordway
 

  

DURING the trash collectors' strike in Baltimore in the summer of 1974, just before many of the police themselves went on strike, The Sun reported that demonstrators were attempting to throw trash and garbage on the plaza in front of City Hall and that Police "waded in with Espantoon flying." As a Non-Baltimorean, I was confused by the phrase. First, I got to wondering if the wading in was literal (into the garbage) or figurative (resolute and vigorous). And next, I didn't know what an Espantoon was and wondered if a flying Espantoon was anything like a floating kidney.Turning to the dictionary, I was relieved to read in "Webster's ·New International Dictionary of the English Language," second edition, unabridged, the definition of Espantoon: “Baltimore, U.S. A Policeman's club." However, the definition, in turn, raises a lot of metaphysical problems about time, space and the essence of Espantoons. Suppose for example, that a Philadelphia policeman drives through Baltimore on his way to Richmond and has his nightstick, Billy club, or whatever, along with him. Does it become an Espantoon within the limits of the city of Baltimore? What does "Baltimore, U.S." mean? Are Espantoons owned only by Baltimore City policemen? Or are there Espantoons in the county, say in Reisterstown or Catonsville? Suppose a Baltimore policeman moves to Ashtabula. He might .well think of his club as an Espantoons, but would it really be one?Conversely, a policeman new to the Baltimore force may have lived formerly in Texarkana. When his Lieutenant gives the order, "All right, men, wade in with your Espantoons a flying!" does lack of understanding result in confusion and hesitation on his part, perhaps having undesirable consequences for the public order and safety? The Espantoon is officially recognized by the Police Department of the City of Baltimore as an item of an officer's equipment. Standard-issue sticks are made of maple or oak, although according to an informant ( Mr. D. F. ) an officer may elect to purchase at his expense a more handsome rosewood stick. Presumably of regulation design and clubbing characteristics. Is there a line to be drawn here? Is there a shading off in design toward non-official, civilian clubs, cudgels, bludgeons, and shillelaghs? With Espantoon, Baltimore may have reached the ultimate in localism. There are parts of the country where one goes to a soda fountain for a milkshake and other parts where one goes to a spa for a frappe, and linguistic atlases of the United States show regions for hoagies, heroes, submarines, and grinders. But on the adage of the Espantoon, it may be Baltimore versus the world.

Baltimore has had other brushes with uniqueness. There is a story that Johns Hopkins was going to leave his money to build a pyramid until he was persuaded, Egyptian experience to the contrary, that a university and hospital would last longer. Had he proceeded as intended, Baltimore would have been the only American city with a really good-sized pyramid. As it is, it has the Bromo Seltzer tower, which is a replica of the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. There are those who remember when it had a 51-foot, 17·ton, blue steel Bromo Seltzer bottle on top which was floodlighted at night and served as a beacon for ship traffic in the Chesapeake Bay. The bottle became unsafe and had to be taken down, so the tower is now more like the one in Florence, except for the Bromo Seltzer clock. Having a replica of something in Florence is certainly a questionable claim to uniqueness, but the clock is Baltimore's own.

As far as can be determined, Baltimore's authors have for the most part ignored Espantoons. Francis Scott Key is not known to have used the word. Nor, it is thought, did Poe, despite the word's auditory interest although it is true that it falls in with the "June-moon-spoon" rhymes rather than the "tomb-gloom-doom" ones. Nor Ogden Nash. H.L. Mencken, Baltimore's Sage and the arch ex-curator of provincialism, mentions Espantoon in Supplement One of "The American Language." In a list of American and British equivalents, he says that what the British call a truncheon is known to Police in Baltimore as an Espantoon. You would have to show me in Sedalia, Missouri.Mr. Ordway is the senior scientific editor for the Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington publisher.

A silly story about the Espantoon by a Sun Reporter, just to remind the public, that the Baltimore Police have a uniqueness about the equipment they use to protect them from the evils that threaten their peace.

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imagesCASRE11W MyEspantooncopyll
Elite Espantoon's
I found this picture on a simple Google photo search, it wasn't an Elite ad, or from the Elite site, it's just someone showing off their wood. But Elite has a style all their own, a style much like Joe's, Carl's and other's before them... where you knew his stick on site... The shape and the finish has Elite written all over it, this is a quality Espantoon n662755603 6844134 7104620

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ESPANTOONS AS LIFE-LINE
Policemen use them to Pull Sailor
Out of Long Dock 
Sep 7 1903 
 

Espantoons are given to police officers as weapons of defense, but last evening 6 Sept 1903 patrolmen Gladden and Thomas of the Central District saved the life of Walter Andrews a sailor from drowning by means of their clubs. Andrews was pursuing his somewhat uncertain way along the coping of long Dock when he lost his balance and fell into the water

Patrolmen Gladdens and Thomas, who were standing nearby heard the splash and cries from help, ran to the spot and saw the man struggling in the dark water. There was no rope or pole at hand, and the officers were for a moment at a loss to think of how to save the man. Then they remembered their Espantoon and lying down flat on the wharf the officers reached their clubs down to Andrews. 

The half-drowned man seized hold of the emblem of authority and was drawn up to the wharf. He was taken to the City Hospital in the Central district patrol wagon and by means of a stomach pump was relieved of a large quantity of Harbor water and other foreign liquids. He soon recovered.  I have heard this story before, and in other accounts the officers used the leather straps (sometimes called thongs – to reach the man and pull him to safety.)

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nightstick

If we take a close look at these sticks from te top down we see what appears to be two BPD Issue, followed by a Carl Hagen, and another BPD Issue (not a common issue, but I have spoken to more than one fficer that recieved these in the mid 50's After that the 5th stick down is a Joe Hlafka Stick and then a presentation stick of some sort. A nice collection having, BPD Issue, Carl Hagen and Night Stick Joe, all they need is a Ed Bremer and they'll have the top four sticks in any collection

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The Billy Club (also referred to as a truncheon or baton) is a short stick used defensively as a bludgeoning weapon, typically by law enforcement. Billy Clubs can be manufactured using wood, plastic, or steel. They are easily concealable, usually less than an arm's length in size, and specifically designed to be used as a non-lethal means of subduing an attacker, or a non-compliant person. 

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History 

British constables in the early to mid-nineteenth century carried wooden truncheons which quickly received the name "Billy clubs" (or "bully clubs"). At that time, the truncheon was also a means of identification for a legitimate law enforcement officer, similar to the way a badge is used today. Every baton had the authoritative organization's coat of arms emblazoned on its side, for presentation to the individual being approached, or apprehended. The Billy club was such a simple and efficient tool, British officers continued to carry the traditional wooden version without major modifications up to the 1990s. 

Etymology 

Some debate the surrounds of, or the origin of the name "Billy Club". Most accounts attribute the "Billy" club to a variation of the slang use of "bully" when referring to a London Police Officer in the Victorian era. Other accounts hold that the early London constables were called "Billie’s" as they served as the official law enforcement officers of King William IV, also known as "Old Bill." Therefore, any club they carried might reasonably be referred to as a "Billy club." The Billy club, while having been renamed and reinvented many times throughout the last few centuries, is still a standard part of the modern-day police officer's arsenal. (Also the most cost effective piece of police equipment) If I were asked, I would have to go with the King William version as to how the Billy Club got its name, simply because of the old saying History repeats itself, And while the Billy clubs were carried by the Billies, and law enforcement ran by King William AKA Old Bill, we can move forward to another name from England, the Bobby and or Bobby cap/helmet. Robert Peel founder of the London Metropolitan Police Department had a police force of men known as "Bobby's Cops" Later shortened to Bobby Cops, and their hats known as Bobby Caps/ Bobby Helmets. It stands to reason if they did it for Robert Peel; they did it first for King William the 4th

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Night Stick 1 Night Stick 2 Night STick 3 Night STick 4

This was a nice stick, and for awhile when police were altering issued sticks, this was one they attemped to imulate
As in Stick Number (80) from above, we've brought down a copy, remember this was just a guy sanding his issue stick to straight and carving new grips. Another thing that was done was to inlat a police button into the tip of the barrel head.
72 DSC3362
Stick (80) altered

Bermuda Police Duncan riot unit
Courtesy Basil Wilson
Notice the baton is made from a pick axe handle

bermuda police riot squad with long batons
Courtesy Basil Wilson
Again notice the pick axe handle baton.
This was done for reach, not to save money.
In fact this was probably more costly than to use of a simple surplus
Truncheon

1
 This is a Louisville Slugger Police Baton
3 18

20 No automatic alt text available.

Courtesy Mitch Parris 
Stick turned by Donald Dull

 

Chicago PD 3
Chicago patrolman
Chicago Patrolman's Nightstick
22 or 23 inch 1 5-8 widest 1.25 shaft
Chicago Patrolman's Nightstick
4

In the Victorian era, police in London carried truncheons about one-foot long called billy clubs. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, this name is first recorded in 1848 in American English as slang for a burglars' crowbar. The meaning "policeman's club" is first recorded 1856. The truncheon acted as the policeman's 'Warrant Card' as the Royal Crest attached to it indicated the policeman's authority. This was always removed when the equipment left official service (often with the person who used it). Earlier on the word was used in vulgar Latin (bastο - a stick helping walking, from basta - hold).

The Victorian original has since developed into the several varieties available today. The typical truncheon is a straight stick made from wood or a synthetic material, approximately 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter and 18–36 inches (460–910 mm) long, with a fluted handle to aid in gripping. Truncheons are often ornamented with their organizations' coats of arms. Longer truncheons are called "riot batons" because of their use in riot control.

Truncheons probably developed as a marriage between the club or military mace and the staff of office/sceptre.

Straight batons of rubber have a softer impact. Some of the kinetic energy bends and compresses the rubber and bounces off when the object is struck. The Russian police standard-issue baton is rubber, except in places such as Siberia, cold enough that the rubber can become brittle and break if struck.

The traffic baton is red to make it more visible as a signaling aid in directing traffic. In Russia traffic batons are striped in black and white for the same reason.

Until the mid-1990s, British police officers carried traditional wooden truncheons of a sort that had changed little from Victorian times. After the early 1990s, forces replaced truncheons with side-handle and collapsible batons for all but ceremonial duties.

The Baltimore Police used to use two kinds of batons depending on the time. The one for daytime was called a day-stick and was 11 inches in length. Another baton, that was used at night, was 22 to 24" inches long and called a night-stick, which is the origin of the word "nightstick". The night-stick was longer so it could provide extra protection which was thought to be necessary at night.
A mace is a blunt weapon, a type of club or virge that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver a more powerful blow. A mace typically consists of a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, often reinforced with metal or carved wood, featuring a head made of Wood, Stone, Copper, Bronze, Iron, or Steel.

The head of a military mace can be shaped with flanges or knobs to allow greater penetration of plate armour. The length of maces can vary considerably. The maces of foot soldiers were usually quite short (two or three feet, or seventy to ninety centimetres). The maces of cavalrymen were longer and thus better suited for blows delivered from horseback. Two-handed maces could be even larger.

Maces are rarely used today for actual combat, but a large number of government bodies (for instance the British House of Commons, the U.S. Congress), universities and other institutions have ceremonial maces and continue to display them as symbols of authority. They are often paraded in academic, parliamentary or civic rituals and processions.


7 9 15
Ring Grip Baton
17
Ring Grip Baton
24
Ring Grip Billy Club
27
Finger Grip Truncheon
28
Finger Grip Truncheon
30
Ring Grip Billy Club
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Baltimore Nightstick Joe Style Stick
albobby
Finger Grip Metal Truncheon
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The Eight His Nightsticks Air Swing –Shifts To Make Heads Sting
13 May 1934 

Patrolman Simmons Transfers Espantoon From Exercise To Action When Called To Quell Fist Fight One Hotel’s Ballroom Floor

Patrolman Joseph R. Simmons was swinging his nightstick peacefully at about 2:30 o’clock yesterday morning as he walked to his call box to receive a message from central police station

1 minute later he was swinging his nightstick again, but this time not so peacefully. The sudden change in the nature of his swing was ascribed to the alleged fight between two men on the ballroom floor at the Lord Baltimore hotel

Several hours later, the patrolman again the harmless tricks with his Espantoon on the way to central police court. Three of the four men arrested had been charged with disorderly conduct as a result of the visit to the hotel and fined a total of $12.00 and cost.

When patrolman Simmons arrived at the hotel. He reported to his supervisor, he separated two men, as he was leading a Allen P. Vance 22 of the 2400 block a Wilkens Avenue, from the floor, he said the man’s 20 year-old Brother James, “Pushed me aside and kept pulling at me, making it necessary for me to use my stick!” - “when I got to the street!” Simmons continued, “Allen got loose and struck me in the jaw, making it necessary for me to use my on him too!”

Both brothers were treated at mercy hospital for scalp lacerations, and later taken a central police station. There they were joined by Edward Stuchler of the 1600 block of North Lakewood Avenue, and John Seymour of 1200 block of North Patterson Park avenue.

The two youths were fined $1.00 and cost each for disorderly conduct, the police said Allen was fined $5.00 and cost on the disorderly conduct charge, in a similar amount of charges of assaulting Simmons. James who lives in the 1000 block of North Fulton Avenue was dismissed.


P4140010

A Day Stick / Like Nightstick but Half as Long
Carried During Day Shift Because the Nightstick Looked Intimidating
Also a Longer Stick wasn’t Needed During Daylight Hours
P4140011

The Marble Size Ball at the Barrel Head End of the Day Stick
Was More than Just a Fancy Design.
It was Used on Pressure Points to Effect an Arrest on a Subject that Resist.

P4140012
This is the Striking End
P4140013
This is the End Held
P4140014
As you can see this is approx. 15" long
Six or Seven inches Shorter than the Nightstick
P4190001
The Rope was Attatched long before Leather, or Swivals were Used

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Nightstick History/Info/Silliness
Unknown Author (Possibly Bill Hackley)
 

When I started out, the older officers often had a short, hard-rubber club they carried in the sap pocket on the leg seam of their uniform trousers. They referred to it as a "Day Billy", harkening back to a time when the day shift on a police department was a fairly quiet affair. When the sun went down and the crazies came out, however, they parked the Day Billy and picked up a "Nightstick". Most of us also carried a slap-jack, or "convoy" blackjack tucked in a pocket in case we were inadvertently caught somewhere without a stick. Like in a diner during a meal break, or at turn-key downtown. You were expected to always use an impact tool. If you hurt your hand from punching someone, and had to go off on injured status, you were forcing someone else to leave their job to cover your beat. Getting injured legitimately was expected, but getting hurt foolishly was considered to be bad form. 

Being an avid law enforcement history buff, I learned over my 38 year career that there often is a lot of tradition, and a lot of really fun stories, attached to the various styles and configurations of nightsticks and billies used by the different agencies across this country. I've managed to collect quite a number of 'signature' sticks from various LE departments while I was on the job. It's hard for me now to pick one of them up, and heft it in my hand, and not recall the first time I stepped out of a cruiser at a disturbance call, my new gunbelt creaking stiffly, and remember the first time anyone ever came up to me and said, "There, Officer...it's that blue house with the chain link fence". In time, I got to visit LE agencies in other parts of the country and was always fascinated by their impact weapons, and the local history attached to them. 

Sometimes it involved the type of nightstick issued at an agency. Like the espantoon used by the coppers at Baltimore PD. If you aren't aware of it, the espantoon outwardly looks like a standard old-style nightstick. However, it was modified slightly in shape and the design of its leather thong and held in the opposite way a normal nightstick was held. That is, you conked miscreants with what most of us would identify as the knurled "handle" end of the stick, not the "barrel" end. I've heard a couple of different stories as to why the espantoon is employed that way, and how it came by its name. I'm not sure anyone knows for sure, but it's a neat story. 

Contrast that with the lance-like 26-inch "koga" style nightsticks that gained favor on the west coast in the 1970's, supplanting the older style nightsticks with the leather thong that beat cops had used for years. The trim, unadorned "koga" stick represented a formalized system of close quarters hand-to-hand control over out-of-control trouble makers. The first real martial arts based system of stick use that I recall being taught to street cops in this country. Most of us had only been taught a few choke holds and come-alongs at the academy, along with hours of striking and short-sticking the heavy bag at the gym. Give a determined road-dog copper a dynawood koga-style nightstick, and a modicum of training, and you couldn't find anyone in the county who could whip him in a fight. 

At a lot of police departments, either the agency issued a cheap POS nightstick, or it required each officer to procure his own "knocker". If you poke around in the history of those departments, you'll generally come upon the name of one or two officers who, as a side-line back in the day, turned out high quality nightsticks and made a few bucks selling them to everyone. The makers didn't charge much for a nightstick because their brother officers couldn't afford much on the skinny salaries they made. These were sticks that had an identifiable style of manufacture that soon became the signature tool of that agency, often nearly as identifiable as the agency's badge or shoulder emblem. The stick makers' names are all but lost in the mists of time now. Names like Tony Barsotti at San Francisco PD, Ernie Porter at Cincinnati PD, or Joe Hlafka at Baltimore. You can spot those sticks by their contours just as sure as if the maker's mark had been burned into the wood. 

Frankly, I've always thought the real advantage to working in uniform was that you could nonchalantly carry a real club when you were in public and on a job, and no one gave you a second glance. The old cops told me to "take his wind, or take his wheels" when fighting a high-end resister, and I quickly learned the effectiveness of a short-stick jab to the solar plexus, a full-power smash to the short ribs, or well centered strike at the back of the thigh or calf muscle. The idea was to debilitate and wear down a resister, bring him back under control and get him cuffed up. "Don't cripple him, if you don't have to", one old timer told me, "Just take the starch out of him and bring him in". Damned if it didn't work as well, or better, than anything invented since. 

That's what the nightstick represented then. Carried idly in your hand, twirled at the end of a leather thong, or dangling from a gun belt, it was the visible symbol of the restrained presence that characterizes the American police officer. I know that when I started out some of the old sergeants actually discouraged anyone from wearing a baton ring on your gun belt. They believed that stick should always be in your hand, or tucked under your arm as you scribbled in your notebook. I rebelled, being a practical sort, and started wearing a baton ring as soon as I got off probation in the spring of 1972. Then, as now, there was a lot of anarchist sentiment in the country and assaults on LEO's were high. Having my stick in a ring on my belt cut down on the chances of some chud getting it and getting himself shot for his efforts. 

You remember what a CHUD is, right? A "Citizen Having Urban Difficulties"? 

In time I tried using nightsticks made of polycarbonate plastics, even briefly tried one made out of aluminum. The only one that felt good in my hands was an 18-inch-long "Billy" made by Monadnock that I bought about 30 years ago. It had a slightly oversized grip which fit nicely in my oversized hands and was marketed as the "Tuff Boy" model. It sure lived up to its name. It didn't warp out of shape if you left it locked in the car during the summer, was fast-handling and darn near stout enough to hammer fence posts into the ground. But, being a short "Billy", it was never as versatile as the 24 or 26-inch hardwood nightsticks were.


Devider granade grip

Tuff Boy
(Grenade Grip)

Anyway, I enjoy collecting sticks, and stick stories. If you have one, I'd sure like to hear about it. Any "El Kabong" "Wroooong" or "Wood Shampoo" stories you have will not be reported... LOL, in fact no names will be attached, I will assume some literary freedom was taken, creative writing entered, and in the interests of keeping it fun, would never drop a dime, but I will raise a score card 5 thru 10 is how they'll be graded. Using the internet to have these sent to me, I can never tell who really sent them, anyone can get an email address and send a story with anyone's name, this is why we can't report stories ;) Not to mention statute of limitations runs out on a war story, when it has been passed down by too many others, I have heard stories that had a familiar ring to them, and in the end learned it was me that did whatever they were talking about. LOL

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Picture005-1 Picture006-2
1344 med
Most of these are standard Nightsticks...
I'll be posting pics soon of some Day sticks and some Yard sticks

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Baton (law enforcement) 

Nightstick (band). For the Transformers character, see Nightstick (Transformers).

Old police baton - A truncheon or baton (also called a cosh, billystick, billy club, nightstick, sap, blackjack, stick) is essentially a club of less than arm's length made of wood, plastic, or metal. They are carried for forced compliance and self-defense by law-enforcement officers, correctional staff, security-industry employees and (less often) military personnel. Other uses for truncheons and batons include crowd control or the dispersal of belligerent or non-compliant people.

A truncheon or baton may be used to strike, jab, block, bludgeon and aid in the application of arm-locks. Sometimes, they also are employed as weapons by criminals and other law-breakers because of their easy concealment. As a consequence, they are illegal for non-authorized civilian use in many jurisdictions around the world. They have a common role to play, too, in the rescuing of trapped individuals—for instance, people caught in blazing cars or buildings—by smashing windows or even doors.

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History

19th-century police truncheons in the Edinburgh Police Centre Museum
A modern wooden baton. In the Victorian era, police in London carried truncheons about one-foot long called Billy clubs. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, this name is first recorded in 1848 in American English as slang for a burglars' crowbar. The meaning "policeman's club" is first recorded 1856. The truncheon acted as the policeman's 'Warrant Card' as the Royal Crest attached to it indicated the policeman's authority. This was always removed when the equipment left official service (often with the person who used it). Earlier on the word was used in vulgar Latin (bastο - a stick helping walking from basta - hold).

The Victorian original has since developed into the several varieties available today. The typical truncheon is a straight stick made from wood or a synthetic material, approximately 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter and 18–36 inches (460–910 mm) long, with a fluted handle to aid in gripping. Truncheons are often ornamented with their organizations' coats of arms. Longer truncheons are called "riot batons" because of their use in riot control.

Truncheons probably developed as a marriage between the club or military mace and the staff of office/scepter.

Straight batons of rubber have a softer impact. Some of the kinetic energy bends and compresses the rubber and bounces off when the object is struck. The Russian police standard-issue baton is rubber, except in places such as Siberia, cold enough that the rubber can become brittle and break if struck.

The traffic baton is red to make it more visible as a signaling aid in directing traffic. In Russia traffic batons are striped in black and white for the same reason.

Until the mid-1990s, British police officers carried traditional wooden truncheons of a sort that had changed little from Victorian times. After the early 1990s, forces replaced truncheons with side-handle and collapsible batons for all but ceremonial duties.

The BPD used to use two kinds of batons depending on the time. The one for daytime was called a day-stick and was 11 inches in length. Another baton, that was used at night, was 26 inches long and called a night-stick, which is where the word nightstick came from. The night-stick was longer so it could provide extra protection which was thought to be necessary at night.

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Mounted Unit
Horses working in riot control wear facial armor, made of Perspex so that the animals can still see. The officers themselves are often equipped with especially long wooden or polycarbonate baton nightstick for use on horseback, as standard patrol baton would have insufficient length to strike or control individuals at ground level, so length would be important.   

Mounted policemen watch a Vietnam War protest march in San Francisco April 1967
This is San Francisco PD Mounted 1967

They are not using the long mounted stick, but if you look in the back pocket of the rider closest to us, you'll see he has a "Daystick" protruding from his pocket; it appears as though the rider next to him may have one too.

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How Not Using a Stick Can Close a Case 

While on a call for an out of control juvenile. A mother was at her wit's end with her 17 years old son. The officer could hear him on the second floor throwing things around what he later learned was the woman’s son’s bedroom. He heard what he believed to be a TV smash to the floor, what sounded like dishes being and drinking glasses being thrown around the room and through a full-size mirror. Making his way to the second floor, and with permission from the mother to kick her son’s ass if need be. The officer reached the door which as luck would have it was locked. Mom on the officer’s heels suggested he… and I quote, “Kick that mother fucker off its hinges and put your foot up his ass if that’s what it takes!” The officer followed her advice in kicking the door off its hinges, well more like kicked the door knob side and broke the hollow core door apart opening it at the knob/lock mechanism. Adrenaline mixed with cheap scum lord building supplies makes even adverage size Police bigger, but this officer’s size must have made him look like a superhero, or to some a villain! In this case, with the door busted wide open into a room that appeared as if it had been ransacked. The occupance’ furniture, clothes, TV, stereo, video game, and game cartridges, along with everything you could imagine had been tossed about the room as if a tornado, a hurricane, and an earthquake had all met at a rock concert and made their way down to the mosh pit. At the time, the officer stood 6ft tall and weighed a healthy 225 pounds. When he went to this call, he had been lifting weights for a few years and was a big burly police officer. He even felt big, that is until he looked across the room at that 17-year-old kid. The kid stood between 6’4” and 6’ 6” he went maybe 225 or 230 pounds. So the officer drew his Espantoon from its ring the way a sword fighter might pull his weapon for a duel. Holding it firmly in his hand and at the ready, with the barrelhead resting in his left hand he was ready to strike, or jab depending on the suspect’s next move. The kid looked down at the officer not just due to the height difference, but he was also standing on a pile of clothes and junk, upset he says, “Go ahead officer, fuck me up. I don’t care!” Then he leaned forward with his head down like a charging bull. It was like he was presenting his noggin as the officer’s next target for a wood shampoo. The officer was observant of the kid’s actions and quickly noticed he wasn’t as much angry as he was hurt, or maybe confused. He had tears running down his face; his mom was standing behind the officers and off to the side saying, “Go ahead officer, you won’t hear any complaints from me! He’s too big for me to beat his ass so you would be doing me a favor!” In police work, especially in Baltimore the Espantoon in the right hands; is like a samurai sword in the hands of a ninja. In fact, there are three sounds that can quash most calls without the need of physical contact; those are the racking of a shotgun, the growling of a K9 dog, and the drawing of an Espantoon from its nightstick ring. It is like drawing a sword from its scabbard and will generally calm any unarmed man and a few that might be holding a knife. In this case with the subject a full head taller than the officer, and apparently distraught to the point of possibly being suicidal. The officer did something that most would have saw as maybe being a little ass backward of what one might expect. In fact had it nt worked out, he may have been in trouble as Ed Bremer was quoted in saying, “Nightsticks save lives, preventing officers from needing to escalate from hand-to-hand combat to the use of a firearm!” But instead of taking that home run swing, that would have sent this kid’s head sailing through the air like a scud missile. The officer reached down with his left hand locating the nightstick ring on his gun belt. Then with his right hand, he allowed his stick to slide down in his hand until the shaft was centered enough that it could easily be turned and inserted into the ring where it was dropped and slid into its seat with the ring stop firmly resting against the ring. The officer could let go of the stick and concentrate all his efforts on this kid. He said in a firm but understanding voice, “You don’t really want me to do that, this is another one of those times in your life where you are doing things and asking for things that you will later wish you would have gone down a different street or made other choices. I am going to give you a chance to change your mind before it is too late before you have to wish later that you would have followed your gut instead of your emotions!” You know what I am talking about, how many times you’ve done something that you later wished you wouldn’t have? I am giving you a chance right now, an opportunity to change your course; you have a chance to be a leader for yourself, for your little brother and little sister.” He stopped acting as if he wanted to kill the world and just sat there on the edge of his mattress. He had tears running down his face, his mom then said, “Look at this fucking place, your TV, and stereo, is smashed you should have thought before you did all this, that is the problem with you.” The officer said, “Hold on; I don’t think so, I believe that the problem is he has something he wants to say, but no one wants to listen.” Holding up his hand in the air palm out toward the mother, the way a traffic cop might too, stop cars in their tracks. She stopped talking, and the officer continued with the conversation bewteen he and her son, “But I am here, so tell me, tell me what's on your mind, what’s going on?” The kid opened up telling the officer and his mom how his mother’s boyfriend Tony had been molesting him since he was 11 or 12 years old, and how his mother never believed him or would even listen to him when he tried to tell her. The kid said he liked a girl and brought her home only to have Tony flirt with her. Tony told the girl his stepson her boyfriend was gay. By the time she was ready to go, she had been flirted with enough that she seemed more interested in Tony than she did her boyfriend. Things quickly changed in the mother's eyes when she heard her boyfriend was flirting with and may have slept with the 17-year-old girl that her son brought home. Now she had become sympathetic toward her son. She sat and listened while holding his hand as he made a statement to police about times when Tony assaulted him.

Shortly after his statement had been taken and information was being gathered on the stepfather, the stepfather came home before the officers left the stepfather was arrested for child abuse, and sexual assault. He was taken to the station where he confessed to everything he had done, saying the boy came on to him, the boy put porno on the TV and that one thing lead to another and the next thing he knew he and the boy were making out. He said he knew it was wrong, but it was consensual, and at a certain point, there was no turning back. Tony who real name turned   ooout tooo be Mike wrote his statement on the back of his advice of rights form, and as the officer was reading his statement the Mike said, “Officer, I'm not a bad guy, I used a condom every time!” The officer quickly turned the form over slid it across the table to the man and said, “You might want to write that on the bottom of this.” Mike said, “Will it help? And the officer said, “I am sure it will make a difference!” so the suspect wrote it on the bottom of the form.  When the judge saw those final words, she said what the officer had suspected she would say, “If you had time to think about putting on a condom, you had time to think, and you had time to say no!” She then sentenced him to 3 years for each count he had been chagred wth and stated that they will run Consecutive, the officer had charged him with ten counts of sodemy, ten counts of statatory rape, ten counts of preverted sex acts.

The point is, sometimes the nightstick doesn’t have to be used, in most cases, the mear presence of a stick will end a threat, in this case even where the subject invited the use of a stick, he was no threat, and it was obvious something else was going on. In fact, by having an officer effectively holster his Espantoon, he risks what might have happened if the kid would have attacked him and he would have had to escalate to his firearm. The would have questioned why he put the stick away, why when he had a chance to end the situation without lethal means he chose to put the stick away and let things escalate because people are not there, they do not know and cannot sense what an officer might sense. Things change so fast on a call that officers can at time think one thing will work, and like this case, it typically goes in the way the officer suspects it will. But on the rare occasion, it does not; officers will be guessed and second guessed buy people that have no idea what the officer saw, or what made things go south. There used to be a good faith act, in which as long as the officer could articulate, why he or she did what they did the way they did, and was acting in good faith with malous; the officer would be covered. But now days it seems to be the court of popular opinion, and laws or the officers view, good faith or not, do not matter. In this case between a mom, that wasn’t listening, and a stepfather that needed more than ten years. The kid needed someone to talk to, and someone that would listen and take his side.

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Target Areas

Before the 1970s, it was common for law enforcement in the United Kingdom to "brain" suspects (strike their heads) in order to stun them or knock them unconscious. However, this was unreliable and potentially fatal. Civil lawsuits and claims of police brutality resulted in better training for officers. In modern police training, it is not permitted to hit the skull, sternum, spine, or groin unless such an attack is unavoidable. The primary targets now are nerves, such as the common peroneal nerve, and large muscles, such as the quadriceps and or biceps. 

 

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Comparison with other weapons

Hand-held impact weapons have some advantages over newer less lethal weapons. Batons are less expensive than Tasers to buy or to use, and carry none of the risk of cross-contamination of OC aerosol canisters (pepper spray) in confined areas. Tasers and OC canisters have limited ammunition, whereas batons use none. 

Batons are higher on the use of force continuum than many other less-lethal weapons, as they are more likely to cause lasting or fatal injuries. Like Tasers and OC, batons are referred to as "less-lethal" rather than "non-lethal". These items are not designed to be fatal, but they can be: allergic reaction to pepper spray, blood clots from baton strikes, and heart stoppage after being shocked by a Taser.

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Baton designs

Batons in common use by police around the world include many different designs, such as fixed-length straight batons, blackjacks, fixed-length side-handle batons, collapsible straight batons, and other more exotic variations. All types have their advantages and disadvantages.

The design and popularity of specific types of baton have evolved over the years and are influenced by a variety of factors. These include inherent compromises in the dual (and competing) goals of control effectiveness and safety (for both officer and subject).

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Straightstick

A straight, fixed-length baton (also commonly referred to as a "Straightstick") is the oldest and simplest police baton design, known as far back as ancient Egypt. It consists of little more than a long cylinder with a molded, turned or wrapped grip, usually with a slightly thicker or tapering shaft and rounded tip. They are often made of hardwood, but in modern times are available in other materials such as aluminum, acrylic, and dense plastics and rubber. They range in size from short clubs less than a foot in length to long 36-inch (91 cm) "riot batons" commonly used in civil disturbances or by officers mounted on horseback. Straightsticks tend to be heavier and have more weight concentrated in the striking end than other designs. This makes them less maneuverable, but theoretically would deliver more kinetic energy on impact. Most agencies have replaced the straightstick with other batons because of inconvenience to carry, and a desire for their officers to look less threatening to the community they serve. Despite having been replaced by side-handle and expandable batons in many (if not most) law enforcement agencies, it remains in use by many major departments in the US, such as the Baltimore, Denver, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Riverside Police Departments, and are used by NYPD Auxiliary Police officers, as well as many Military Police forces around the world.

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Sap

A sap is a flat-profiled, leather-covered lead rod, fitted with a spring handle. It is also the name for a weapon of similar design (also called a slapper, slap jack or beavertail sap). A sap has a flat profile as opposed to a cylindrical profile of a blackjack, and spreads its impact out over a broader area, making it less likely to break bone. It was primarily used for head strikes, intended to stun an opponent or render him or her unconscious.

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Blackjack

Two blackjacks and a hinged club on display at Bedford

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Museum

A blackjack (American English), or cosh (British English), is a small, easily concealed club consisting of a leather-wrapped lead weight attached to the end of a leather-wrapped coil spring or rigid shaft, with a lanyard or strap on the end opposite the weight. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton (law_enforcement)

Materials other than lead and leather are sometimes used to construct these weapons, but the design principle (a soft covering over a dense weighted core) stays the same. Some were weighted with a heavy lead ball wrapped in woven or plaited sailor's line (marline or Codline) and then varnished over. Some carefully made examples were likely to have been used by a boatswain or ship's master-at-arms or ship's mate as a badge of office and discipline-enforcer. 

This weapon works by creating kinetic energy in the dense core, via the spring handle, during the swing. When directed at the head, it works by concussing the brain without cutting the scalp. This is meant to stun or knock out the subject, although head strikes from blackjacks are regularly fatal. Blackjacks were popular among law enforcement for a time due to their low profile, small size, and their suitability for knocking a suspect unconscious. Coshes have also been used by the military for example by Special Forces such as the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. Currently, however, they are all but prohibited in most municipalities due to liability issues stemming from their potential lethality when used as a compliance device. A blackjack is sometimes wrongly referred to as a sap.

"Blackjack" is also American English slang referring to an improvised weapon composed of a heavy object placed inside a sock. The same improvised weapon is referred to in British English slang as a "slungshot" or a "cosh."

The word "cosh" is sometimes used loosely for any blunt instrument.

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Side-handle baton

A pair of tonfa Side-handle batons (sometimes referred to as T-batons or Nightsticks) are batons with a short side handle at a right angle to the shaft, about six inches from one end. The main shaft is typically 61 centimetres (24 in) in length. They are derived from the tonfa, an Okinawan Kobudo weapon, and are used with a similar technique (although Tonfas are usually used in pairs, whereas side-handle batons are not). The best known example is the Monadnock PR-24, which has become a generalized trademark within the law enforcement and security communities for this type of product. 

It can be held by: One end, and the corner between the shaft and the handle used to catch a long swung blunt or sharp weapon. The side handle, and the long shaft held against the hand and forearm to splint and shield the arm against an expected blow from an attacker. Side-handle batons are made in both fixed and collapsible models, and may be constructed from a range of materials including wood, polycarbonate, epoxy, and aluminum. Some side-handle batons are one-piece in design; the side-handle component and primary shaft are permanently fused together during manufacturing. One-piece designs are potentially stronger in design than two-piece designs, and have no risk of having a locking screw come loose from its threads. Other side-handle batons are two-piece in design (common among cheaper makes); the side-handle component is screwed into primary shaft. The side handle may be removed from the shaft by the end-user, converting the side-handle into a straight baton. Users of two-piece side handle batons would be well-advised to apply a thread-locking compound to the side-handle screw to prevent loosening under use. It would also be prudent to occasionally check the tightness of that screw. The advantages of a side-handle baton over a straight baton are numerous:

There are a far greater number of defensive techniques/maneuvers that may be used with the side-handle baton in contrast with the straight baton. The side-handle component may aid in weapon retention, making it more difficult for a suspect to take the baton away from the officer in a struggle. The side-handle component prevents the baton from rolling far away if inadvertently dropped, unlike a straight baton. Subjectively, some officers may be able to deliver a strike of greater power with the side-handle baton (when used in conjunction with a "power stroke") over a straight baton. Due to its design, a side handle baton is generally used in a more defensive and less offensive manner than a straight baton, and thus it is less likely for an officer to "instinctively" use a side-handle baton as a simple bludgeon and direct indiscriminate strikes against a suspect. Also, the typically defensive stance the side-handle baton is used with is generally believed to present a more community-friendly image than a straight baton.

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Side-Handle Batons have a few Disadvantages:

More training is required for an officer to fully utilize the potential of a side-handle baton compared to a straight baton. The side-handle slightly increases overall weight and bulk of the baton compared to a straight baton of identical length. When the side-handle baton is used as a simple bludgeon (without gripping the side-handle), it is less effective than a straight baton. Side-handle batons have been involved in high-profile incidents of alleged police brutality, such as in New Zealand's 1981 Springbok Tour and the Rodney King beating. In the New Zealand instance new techniques of use were developed for crowd control. These techniques attracted the interest of the police forces of certain South American countries of the time who sent un-official observers to learn these techniques. Expandable baton ASP 21-inch (53 cm) expandable baton in expanded and collapsed state. Swedish riot police with expandable baton.  An expandable baton (also referred to variously as a collapsible baton, telescopic [or telescoping] baton, tactical baton, spring cosh, ASP, Extendable, or extendo [slang]) is typically composed of a cylindrical outer shaft containing telescoping inner shafts (typically 2 or 3, depending on the design) that lock into each other when expanded. The shafts are usually made of steel, but lightweight baton models may have their shafts made from other materials such as aluminium alloy. Expandable batons may have a solid tip at the outer end of the innermost shaft; the purpose of the solid tip is to maximize the power of a strike when the baton is used as an impact weapon. Expandable batons are made in both straight and side-handle configurations, but are considerably more common in the straight configuration. The best-known example of the straight expandable baton is the ASP (Armament Systems and Procedures) Baton, which has become a genericized trademark within the law enforcement and security communities for this type of product.

Depending on the holster or scabbard design, it may be possible to carry an expandable baton in either collapsed or expanded position, which would be helpful if an officer needed to holster an expanded baton and it was not possible or convenient to collapse it at the time. An expandable baton is opened by being swung in a forceful manner while collapsed, using inertia to extend and lock the segments by friction. Some mechanical-lock versions can also be opened by simply pulling the segments apart. Depending on the design, expandable batons may be collapsed either by being brought down (inverted) on a hard surface, or by depressing a button lock and manually collapsing the shafts. Additionally, the baton, in collapsed configuration, may be used as a control device against non-compliant subjects in conjunction with pain-compliance control techniques, such as to remove a driver refusing to exit his or her vehicle. It can be used as a large  Kubotan

DeviderAdvantages

The advantages of a collapsible baton over a fixed baton are numerous: The collapsible shaft makes it easier for the officer to carry it and to sit in a car seat wearing it, since when collapsed it is between six and ten inches (15 to 25 cm) long. This is contrasted with non-collapsible batons, which the officer may, as a measure of convenience, often resort to removing from his or her belt when seating themselves in a vehicle. Non-collapsible batons are typically carried in a ring type belt attachment. Fixed batons carried in such holders work themselves out of the holder when the wearing officer sprints. Two answers are to hold the baton down in the ring with a hand, or have the baton in the hand; neither is desirable. The typical collapsible straight baton and its scabbard do not suffer this, and remain secure regardless of the wearing officer's movement. In theory, the mere display of extending the baton may in some instances be terrifying to an aggressive person (due to both the sight and sound of the action, with a similar intimidation technique as used in pump-action shotguns), and may thus escalate to violently force submission or incapacitation of the target. It could also deescalate the situation through fear-motivated submission of the target without physical violence. Many police officers believe that it presents a more community-friendly image to the general public than non-collapsible batons, due to the former's lower profile while collapsed; many citizens may not even know what the collapsible baton is for when it is collapsed and residing in the officer's duty belt; a 29-inch (74 cm) wooden straight stick’s designed purpose, on the other hand, is clearly more self-evident. In this regard, the collapsible baton may be considered more suitable for community-oriented policing. A collapsible baton may be deployed against a suspect whether expanded or collapsed; expanded, the baton's reach is extended, but collapsed, the baton is handier in close quarters. This provides greater versatility in a wider range of environments over the fixed-length baton.

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Disadvantages

However, expandable batons are not without some disadvantages: Some police may prefer to carry a fixed baton due to the greater visual deterrence it may provide (which may be a benefit in the form of increasing the officer's command presence). Similarly, a fixed baton serves better as a conspicuous symbol of authority (i.e., "badge of office") than a collapsed expandable baton. Fixed batons may often be less expensive than their collapsible counterparts of identical or similar quality. Because of this, some law enforcement departments, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, may issue a fixed-length baton, but have their officers/deputies purchase expandable batons at the option and expense of the individual officer. Fixed batons may be inherently faster to bring into action, due to their not needing to first be extended before use as an impact weapon (unless one wishes to use a collapsible baton in collapsed form). It is however possible to deliver a strike whilst opening the baton in one fluid motion if the officer is correctly trained. This is called a "rapid response strike." If an expandable baton is of friction-lock design, as most are, there is an inherent risk that the baton may inadvertently close at an inopportune moment while being used to strike a suspect. This also prevents expandable batons from being used to prod or strike with the tip. In a situation in which stealth is required, a collapsed baton may rattle, giving away the officer's position. Most expandable batons have most of their weight concentrated at the grip and the tip tends to be the lightest part since it is the thinnest part of the baton. As such it may deliver less forceful blows than a fixed baton.

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Stun Baton

Main article: Electroshock weapon Stun batons are an unusual modern variation designed to administer an electric shock in order to incapacitate the target. They consist of an insulated handle and guard, and a rigid shaft usually a foot or more in length for delivering a shock. Many designs function like an elongated stun gun or a cattle prod, requiring the tip to be held against the target and then manually triggering a shock by a switch in the handle. Some more sophisticated designs carry a charge along the shaft's entire surface, administering a shock on contact. This later design is especially useful in preventing the officer from having his weapon grabbed and taken away by an assailant.

Most batons of this design were not intended to be used as impact weapons and will break if used in this way, though a few were built to withstand occasional lighter impacts. They are rarely in use by patrol officers in modern times due to their price and the other associated problems with electroshock weapons. Improvised impact weapons a homemade blackjack can be made using several techniques. Putting a bar of soap, rocks or some wet sand in a sock, then tying off the end makes a blackjack out of common items. Some non-purpose built items have been used by law enforcement over the centuries as impact weapons. Examples are: Pickaxe handles. These have been used in the British Army as an official guard baton.

Baseball bat - These methods are of course not as effective as actual batons. They also should be used appropriately and responsibly.

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Flashlights

Although the Kel-Lite in the 1970's appears to have been the third flashlight designed specifically to be useful as an emergency defensive weapon, the best-known example is the D-Cell Maglight, still in use by some law enforcement and security personnel. 

Use of such flashlights as a club or baton is generally officially discouraged by the manufacturers and law enforcement officials, but its use is an option. As with all police weapons, there have been many allegations of misuse, such as in the Malice Green beating in Detroit. However, it should be noted that the use of flashlights as improvised impact weapons is subject to the same use of force regulations as the use of purpose-designed impact weapons like batons.

Peace officers may often choose to use such flashlights because they are viewed primarily as illumination devices; thus, if a peace officer carries one in his hands during nighttime encounters with potentially violent subjects, it would be more difficult to file valid complaints (of unnecessarily brandishing a weapon) than if the officer were to be equipped with a baton or pepper spray canister instead. This permits the officer to have an impact weapon in hand and ready for instantaneous action, rather than having to draw a baton or pepper spray canister.

Characteristic of a flashlight used as a baton or club is the grip employed. Flashlights are commonly held with the bulb end pointing from the thumb side of the hand, such that it is pointing outward from the body when held palm upward. When wielded as a club, the bulb end points inward when the hand is palm upward, and the grip is closely choked to the bulb end. Another advantage to using a flashlight as a club is that in poorly lit situations it can be used to initially dazzle the eyes of an opponent. Law enforcement officers often deliberately shine flashlight beams into the eyes of suspects at night to cause temporary night-blindness as a preemptive defensive measure, whether or not the individual is likely to behave violently. 

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Legality

Batons are legal for sworn law enforcement and military in most countries around the world. However, the legality of civilian carry for purpose-built batons varies greatly by country, and by local jurisdictions.

In the United States, legality is determined by the laws of the individual states. Some such as Vermont or Arizona allow for legal carry in the absence of unlawful behavior or criminal intent. Others such as California have general prohibitions against the carrying of all "club" weapons by non-law enforcement. Such jurisdictions will sometimes make exceptions for persons employed as security guards or bodyguards, will provide for permits to be obtained for legal carry, or make exceptions for persons who complete an appropriate training course.

In the UK, batons are considered to be offensive weapons (as they are "made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person"), which prohibits their possession in a public place under the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. In addition, manufacturing, selling, lending and importing fixed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton (law_enforcement) and telescopic batons are all prohibited under section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.  

In Canada, there is no specific law that prohibits batons; except for spring-loaded batons, which are defined as a prohibited weapon under a regulation entitled 'Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted' (also capable of being referred to by its registration number: SOR 98-462). However, it is a crime under section 90 of the Criminal Code of Canada to carry any weapon, including a baton, in a concealed fashion.

In Sweden, all types of batons can be owned but not carried in public spaces by private citizens according to law (1988:254).


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Police’s Spurn City’s Nightsticks, Buy Their Own
 Jun 27, 1977

The nightstick is a very special thing to the Baltimore city policeman. Rather than a simple piece of wood to be used in the line of duty, the nightstick is seen as a constant companion, and even a lifesaver. As Sgt. Larry Leeson, a police spokesman said, “It is like his best friend almost.” And as one exercises care in choosing a best friend, policeman are very careful in selecting a nightstick. They have a definite idea about how big, and how heavy the stick should be to do the job effectively. Many offices enjoy carrying a stick that has some feature that makes it uniquely their own. The strapless, 21 inch; 1 and a half wide unfinished nightsticks issued by the City Police Department to each of it's officers just don’t measure up, many policemen say, thus, it has become a tradition for many officers to go out and buy their own longer, thicker, heavier and fancier nightsticks. A supplier of such nightsticks whose products are currently in vogue with the police department is Mr. Edward W. Bremer, a 75 year old weapons maker who said recently that he has sold more than 300 of his $12 sticks during the three years he has been in business (1974–1977) mostly to officers who have just entered or graduated from the Police Academy. Mr. Bremer believes the policemen come to him rather than buying from a large commercial supplier “because they like the fact that I’ll make it the way they want.” He gives the officers their choice of wood, which determines the weight, and force of impact the stick will have. “I have made some of the long as 26 inches and some 2 ½ inches in diameter” Mr. Bremer said, the biggest and hardest nightsticks are usually ordered by policeman serving the “Western, or Northwest Districts”.

Mr. Bremer stains the sticks in the color of the officer’s choice, and attaches braided leather strap with a metal swivel, so the stick can be twirled with a flick of the wrist, “Some policeman like a little nib on the end of the stick to poke a suspect in stomach.” he said. “Despite the sadistic sound of it”, Mr. Bremer has a sense of high purpose in his work.

The nightsticks issued by the department, referred to by one officer as “toothpicks”. Our smaller and lighter than the sticks he makes. Mr. Bremer believes “because they just don’t want nobody to get hurt.” But a nightstick, he maintains, is a defensive weapon.

“It’s supposed to be able to knock somebody out.” He said, “A policeman with a heavy stick in his hand has a feeling of protection. A light stick is no protection at all. The boys patrolling the beat in the some bad characters. They want their stick good and heavy.”

Mr. Bremer recalled that he was in his boyhood when he “took a liking” the police officers.

“A lot of my friends joined the police force,” he said. “So I want to give them something that will do the job and keep them out of trouble.”

Officer stationed throughout the city, some of them carry Mr. Bremer’s creations, echoed his views. Many also confessed to a sentimental attachment to the nightsticks.

A stick that is distinctive in some way or was passed down by a friend or relative who has retired from the department is a source of pride, several officers said. They also stubbornly cling to the old-fashioned term, “espantoon,” when referring to nightsticks and their reports.

Mr. Bremer said he is very discerning about who buys his products. He deals only with policeman or security guards who show identification, he said “I’m not going to sell to every Tom Dick and Harry” he said he was glad to make 10 inch, purse sized to sticks for women who feel they need protection themselves Mr. Bremer said.

A retired custom home builder and lifelong amateur carpenter, Mr. Bremer began turning out nightsticks and little workshop near his home in the 3500 block of old York Road as a way to fill his idle time.

He said he doesn’t earn much of a profit when the sticks. “But even if I don’t make any money, it would give me something to do,” he said. “Anyone that retires without something do this for us.”

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 Distler 1Jimmy Distler
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Andre Nock
Brian Schwaab
Brian Schwaab
Nick Hershan
Nick Hershan
Mike Maurer
Mike Maurer
Oversize stick
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Nightstick Joe - Guaranteed Hobby
11 April 1983

Joe Hlafka gives a lifetime guarantee with every nightstick he sells. If you bash someone over the head with it and it breaks, who replace it free. That's how sore he is of the quality of his work. Joe Hlafka a.k.a. nightstick Joe to dozens of his friends and acquaintances – is a squat, heavyset, 45-year-old city policeman who is turned a hobby, woodworking, into a lucrative part-time business.

Working in wood shavings up to his ankles in hit the basement of his South Baltimore row home, he turns out everything for nightsticks and walking sticks to children's toys and puzzles – all of which he sells at bargain basement prices he charges $20 plus tax for example for one of his walking sticks but he estimates it cost him almost $16 to make and that doesn't include his labor. Similarly he sells nightsticks that he says cost him about 10 or $12 to make for $17 plus tax why because he's not in it for the money. It's a hobby something I do after work to unwind, he says some people like to go out and have a couple of beers. Me I like to come home and make things that's how I relax. Besides, he thinks it's a moral for anyone to make a huge profit. My father always told me, if you serve the masses see your eat with the classes. I believe that. I tried to concentrate on volume, and that way I'm able to keep my prices low and still make a few dollars myself. Most of Mr. Hopkins it's pronounced Hlafka as if the H was silent nightsticks are sold by word-of-mouth to individual policeman or to a plea supply house – some as far away as Florida and Texas. Nightsticks are heavier and sturdier than regulation nightsticks they weigh 12 1/2 to 14 ounces and they cost about $10 more but their superior to anything that mass-produced Mr. Hlafka says and they meet all police standards. There made a Purple Heart, a door bolt, purple color wood grown in the South, or Bubinga, a strong West African wood similar to a Rosewood.

For civilians, including the elderly who want canes that also can be used for protection, there are custom-made nightstick Joe Hlafka walking sticks, longer and thicker than nightsticks, and much more elaborate. The handles our brass usually in the shape of an animal head and intricate diamond, spiral or fluted designs are carved with a router into the shaft both the walking sticks and nightsticks are soaked in linseed oil tried and see over the polyurethane to protect them for moisture, which is the enemy of wood. So, oddly enough is rein or the lack of it.

A poor rainy season can slow a trees growth and create weak spots in the wood, Mr. Hlafka claims. He says the weak spots are not always noticeable, and the wood may break if it hit something hard enough. I've tested the nightsticks with a hydraulic gauge, and I can apply 110 pounds of pressure per square inch before the Purple Heart cracks. The Bubinga will take 210 pounds per square inch.

But if there is a weak spot in the wood, the crack a lot faster. That's why I guarantee my sticks. You never know when you might get one that's bad

Joe Hlafka, was born and raised in South Baltimore, and has been a policeman for 13 years. He started in Western District and transferred to the traffic division two years ago. His beat is a North Charles and Saratoga Street area where he's known for his a viable good humor. One of his favorite ploys is to travel along the street hawking parking tickets for drivers whose cars are parked in no parking zones – a nice gesture according to one N. Charles St. merchant who says the policeman makes a point without offending people. According to Police Department records Mr. Hlafka has been shot six times in the line of duty. He was cited a few months ago for his part in foiling a robbery at Charles Center bank is married and credits his wife Adella withholding the marriage together, for 25 years, I've always been able to talk to her and discuss things he said, and that's helped me handle the stress of police work. The couple has three daughters, a son Joe Junior died a few years ago.

Mr. Hlafka plays trombone in the Baltimore City Police Department Dance Band, Sounds of an Era, which performs for community groups, and he participates in a federally funded police program to get drunk drivers off the road.

He began doing woodworking when he was 9 or 10 years old. I join the police boys club and started making fancy lamps and things it's something I've always enjoyed doing, but I've never sold anything up until a couple of years ago, when I started making police nightsticks since then he estimates he made almost 500 nightsticks and another 200 walking sticks. He's gotten inquiries from cities in France and England,

He started making children's toys a few months ago after he became bored with making nightsticks his first effort was a wooden pull train. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

The little five car train engine, coal tender, boxcar, tanker car, and caboose are probably the most popular toy their guy will up by appreciative parents almost as fast as he can make them small wonder he sells them for $25 about half what comparable trains cost in most toy stores Mr. Hlafka says.

He also makes chunky little tugboats, blocky old-fashioned cars models of famous “Black Maria” a police patrol wagon and assortment of simple wooden animal puzzles squirrels ducks kittens range in prices for about $5-$7 anytime I see something I think I can do it's fun for me it's like a challenge to see if I can do it and maybe improve on it. I've always believed the world is limited only by the person's capacity to dream. Lately Mr. Hlafka’s, he says, and that’s helped me handle the stress of police work.

Mr. Hlafka’s dreams seem to be getting bigger he’s talking about building furniture he says he got the idea after he saw a kit for grandfathers clock advertised in a magazine for hundred and $60. Naturally he thought the price was too high. I can do it for a lot less than that he says for more information call

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 vintage police billy club
Courtesy Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll
This has and is the most common place to find the "Fingerlock" grip
It is a Truncheon I bought for myself

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A POLICEMAN'S best friend is his nightstick.
20 Nov 1960

Not, as many think, because he is busy cracking heads with it. That is one of its least frequent uses. But besides using the “Espantoon”-as the nightstick is known in Baltimore - as a weapon, the policeman also values it highly as a signal, handcuff, hammer, medical device, a toy and friend. Sgt. Ben. Askin of the Southern district boasts that in 32 years on the force he has never used a nightstick to hit anyone. "I don't need to," he says. "I use my head." The origin of the name espantoon, which is used only by the Baltimore force, has been sought frequently with little result. According to Capt. Anthony Nelligan, who is an amateur historian of the Baltimore police, the name first occurred in the police "Blue Book" of ·1907. (Note, I have since found it in Sun Paper reported Dated 18 April 1843 titled “Local Matters” in which the author writes, A man named Warren Roebuck was stooping over Armstrong to assist him to rise, a watchman came up and was about to arrest him, this was resisted by another, who raised his hand and caught hold of the espantoon of the watchmen, and alarm being made created, another watchmen to come up, and two others of the party, named Henry P Norris, and Dimes R. Perry, resisted their interference with some threats; finally all concluded, and agreed to go to the watch house, and send for the magistrate.), That said in 1960, Capt Nelligan had only previously seen it used in the 1907 “Blue Book” and said, “Before that”, he said, “the nightstick was called a baton.” Webster's International Dictionary, which agrees that the word is current only in Baltimore, relates it to the word "spontoon," and· traces it back to the Latin punctum, meaning "point," through the Italian and French. The spontoon, according to the dictionary, was a kind of half pike formerly borne by subordinate officers of infantry.

PRESUMABLY then, the nightstick is a descendant of the pike, an 18-foot-long wooden staff with a sharply pointed head of iron or steel which was the common weapon of the foot soldier until the introduction of the bayonet. Policemen say they don't like to hit anyone on the head with their stick. "Suppose a man is having an epileptic fit and gets violent," one says. "If you hit him on the head you may kill him." Their favorite target is the shins or knees. Tap a troublesome drunk across the shins, most patrolmen agree, and he'll move along. A little-known use of the nightstick is as a signal. When dropped to a concrete sidewalk, it produces a resounding ring. The quality and strength of the ring depend on the type of wood. A favorite wood is ash. Patrolman William Gischel of the Western district, laying his longer-than-usual stick proudly on the table before him, boasts: "On a quiet night, you can hear my stick for three blocks." To make his stick he ordered a piece of "heart ash" with practically no grain. Then he turned the stick himself on a friend's lathe.

THE value of the stick for signaling, says Sgt. Joseph Schramel, of Western district, is that the sound is meaningful to policemen but to hardly anyone else. This is useful, for example, in serving warrants. To do this, two policemen always go together. One knocks on the front door, the other watches the back. The ring of the nightstick hitting concrete means either that the warrant has been served, or that it cannot be served. Or it is a call for help. You don't often hear of the nightstick being used to secure a prisoner. But it's been done. A patrolman in the Southern district tells of the time when a nude man was to be arrested for indecent exposure.

Ordinarily., when making an arrest, the policeman holds his prisoner by the belt. But that was impossible in this case. The officer slipped the nightstick thong over the man's wrist, twisted it to take up the slack, and led his prisoner away.

The espantoon of Sgt. Clarence Vogelsang, of the Western district, looks as if someone had been chewing the upper rim. He explains that the ragged appearance comes fromhammering up posters. Sgt. Robert Taylor, of Northwestern district, reminisces about the time some years ago when he stopped a fleeing car by hurling his stick through the windshield. A Southern district officer tells of saving a man from serious loss of blood by using the nightstick and its thong as a tourniquet. The most frequent use of the nightstick, of course, is as, “a toy” to keep the patrolman's hands busy during the dreary hours on the beat. "You'd go crazy if you didn't have something to do with your hands eight hours a day," one policeman says. Twirling the stick becomes an important habit. In some districts the Espantoon is not carried by day shift. Policemen report that after changing from night to day shift they feel lost without their "badge of authority." They find themselves “twirling” keys. But the lack of a stick during Day shift goes back to a time, when Nightshift used a Nightstick, and Dayshift used a Daystick, the Daystick was used for everything the Nightstick was used for except, communication, during a dayshift, it would hardly be heard. The different was length the nightstick is 21” to 24” while the Daystick is roughly 12” to 14”. Eventually it wouldn’t be carried, and in more recent times a Nightstick, or Espantoon would be carried by all shifts, and like the officer’s hat, it had to be with them at all times. The Police Department orders Nightsticks from a local lumber dealer. They are made up in lots of 200, and cost 85 cents each. The policeman receives from the department an unstained stick, without the thong. The latter he purchases himself for 65 cents, and he must plaint/stain it himself or have it painted/stained. Policemen often work hard to get exactly the stain or finish they want. Patrolman John Brown of the Western district says he soaked his stick in linseed oil for thirteen months, then sanded it smooth. Sometimes policemen discard, or break the officially issued espantoon and have another made up. For years the Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney, a retired Methodist circuit rider, who lived in Essex, made sticks for individual policemen in Baltimore, Wilmington and Washington. He died last March at the age of 86. Carl Hagen, of 906 West Lombard street, is one of the few men who now make the sticks to order. AT present, a downtown sport store sells custom-made Espantoons. It also offers for sale the New York riot stick, which is two inches longer than the standard espantoon, which is 21 inches long and 1¼ inches thick. According to the management, rose and hickory are the favorite woods. Nightsticks are usually carried by policemen below the rank of lieutenant, although some lieutenants continue to keep one on their hip. One policeman made a hollow stick out of balsa wood. He got a glass liner for it and kept it in his club cellar. He enjoyed surprising his guests my breaking it open and offering them a drink from it. Most policemen will agree that when they leave home to go to work they automatically check for their four most important articles: keys, badge, gun and nightstick.
The sticks are 21 inches long, l ¼ inches thick. They are issued without thongs and unstained, and the policemen color them as they choose. It was once said that some officer’s were staining them in iodine to get a color as unique to a Baltimore Stick as the name Espantoon. In the 1960’s Carl Hagen, was one of the few men who turned nightsticks to order turning them from rosewood in his basement workshop. "You'd go crazy," one says. "if you had nothing to do with your hands eight hours a day." Patrolman John Santry illustrates some of the many ways in which the stick is carried. Handling of the stick is not taught at police school (The Academy), but rookies quickly learn the tricks. When many of us came through we were lucky to have met Sgt Schillo, he would provide training during lunch break, teaching us many of the different way to make the stick spin, twirl, or as some called it how to make the stick dance.
While questioning a suspect, a patrolman keeps the Stick in hand but out of the suspect’s reach. Always in a hand, so that is needed it could be quickly brought up to jab, or strike, most of my friends would use a jab technique over a striking technique.

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1950

Vintage Soviet USST Policeman Pointsman Road Traffic Baton

ussr1

Vintage Soviet USST Policeman Pointsman Road Traffic Baton
Seee the Stick she is holding in the images below

 1950s Soviet Russia Russian Traffic Militia GAI Pointsman Vintage Wooden Baton57

Vintage Soviet USST Policeman Pointsman Road Traffic Baton

ussr2

Vintage Soviet USST Policeman Pointsman Road Traffic Baton


m1944 painted

M1944 SP white shaft  - black grip

ussr3Russian Officer with Baton courtesy Basil Wilson
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More Photos Courtesy of Basil Wilson DMP baton leather case DMP constable pre 1910

blue lamp patrol dress 1949
Blue Lamp Patrol Dress 1949 Dublin Metropolitan Police baton from circa 1913

Dublin Metropolitan Police baton from circa 1913
GetInline.asdpx truncheon in a bin at the receivers store
truncheon in a bin at the receivers store
GetInline.aspx 2

 

Hong Kong 1967

Hong Kong 1967
Liberty Party inspection before going ashore in Londonderry 1942 Seaman right member of crew appointed to do Shore Patrol Duty belt SP
Liberty Party inspection before going ashore in Londonderry 1942
Seaman right member of crew appointed to do Shore Patrol Duty belt SP
Mopani
Mopani for turning batons

Nairobi Kenya 1958 riot training
Nairobi Kenya 1958 riot training

trun

Truncheon

trun2
Courtesy Basil Wilson

QR -10

 

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Thats it for Now But with the number of sticks being sent in as gifts and those I buy, this will be continued for sure. Thanks for looking

Handcuffs and Restraints

Devider color with motto

Keep checking back for a great story that will go here.. we are waiting for the informationa and conformation
Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or contact us for a mailing address
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll
 

 

 

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#1 patty 2015-05-16 05:57
If you have pictures, Comments, Suggestions etc. please send them to me at the email address above, as you can see Ken and I have put much of our time and money into this project, so we don't mind errors pointed out to us, just as Ken's partner used to say, "Keep it Friendly!" send Ken or me and email.. thanks - Patty
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