Law Enforcement Flashlight Tips

A patrol officer’s flashlight is a very important piece of gear.  The difference between what you see and what you don’t see, or being seen yourself can be the difference between a successful patrol and a disastrous one.  Just like any other tool in the officer’s arsenal, a flashlight has its own set of best practices.  Here are a few tips straight from the patrol officers themselves. 

Apply reflective tape to the flashlight, including the end cap.  With the reflective tape in place, the tape will reflect light no matter which direction the light is facing.  The tape also makes the flashlight easier to find if the light falls or is dropped. 

Backup weapons are always a good idea, but what about backup flashlights?  Many departments issue a flashlight and often the issued flashlight is a rechargeable light or has expensive lithium batteries.  Getting a standard AA powered TerraLUX flashlight (with extra batteries too) will ensure you will always have light when you need it.  The extra flashlight can be small enough to carry on your belt, yet still powerful enough to provide bright light.

Using a flashlight with a broad center beam can help overcome night vision obstacles. Ever notice that color seems to fade at night? That’s because rods, not cones, are what dominates a person’s night vision and makes it effective. Rods are located in a ring on the outside edges of the inner eye and are more sensitive to light and movement. Cones, located throughout the inner eye and concentrated at the center, are for color perception. At night there is literally a “blind spot” in the center point of a person’s field of vision. Peripheral vision activates the most immediate central nervous system response at night, particularly when picking up movement. 

When signaling an approaching driver or just simply trying make yourself more visible at night, use the strobe light setting.  Many modern flashlights have the ability to switch from a standard beam to a strobe setting. Another great method is to alternate a between waving a flashlight’s beam at your feet and bringing the beam up can substantially increase the effectiveness of your handheld light as a signal or warning beacon.

A high lumen output flashlight can be used to temporarily stun a potentially hostile individual.  A quick flash right in the eyes can temporarily blind someone and tends to calm them for a bit.  Even if they continue to act in a hostile manner, you know their vision is impaired which gives you the upper hand.  Try testing a high powered LED on yourself at night and time how long it takes your vision to return. 

Whether you need a small, battery powered back-up or a primary “go to” flashlight, TerraLUX has you covered. 

source: Officers Doug Wyllie, Jerry Miller, Brian Carlsen, Paul Feyerabend & Daniel Wise