Let’s say you’re an HPD SWAT officer in a life-threatening situation. Your fellow officers are covering while you must do some breeching – an iron door or the strongest burglar bars a crook can afford.
In the recent past you would rely on a heavy gas-powered saw to cut through these obstacles, possibly while the bullets are flying around you. Geez, what if the saw reverts to some lawn mowers’ habit of failing to start – or conking out?
Glad to say that things have changed for the better, thanks to an HPD corporate partner – Stanley Black & Decker Inc.
On Oct. 25, at a brief – and quiet – ceremony at Tactical Ops Headquarters, 7077 Perimeter Dr. off Beltway 8 enhanced the safety and rescue capability of SWAT officers.
Quite simply, SWAT got a new saw – a state-of-the-art device known as “the cutoff saw” or, more appropriately, “the rescue saw. You may also call it the “new quickie saw model.”
Officially, it’s Dewalt Model DCS690X2, probably the most popular steel cutter in the Stanley Black & Decker line.
“It’s been on back order for months,” Christine Perry, regional sales manager for the company’s Houston-based Stanley Security Solutions Inc. Thanks to Perry’s perseverance – and budget – SWAT now has its own rescue saw.
You see, Perry and Stephen Daniel, HPD’s active shooter trainer, have worked together for several years now. While Daniel presents his 90-minute training session geared to teach civilians how to react in an active shooter situation, Perry’s specialty centers around the latest security equipment available to the public.
The two put their heads together. Perry wanted to know how Security Solutions could help HPD. “A new saw,” Daniel replied.
Perry and Security Solutions proudly responded and graciously footed the $1,144 bill.
And what was the reaction?
“We need all the tools we can get,” SWAT Capt. Larry Baimbridge said at the unveiling and demonstration of the new rescue saw. “This is a pretty awesome tool we’ll be putting to use. We have gas-powered saws already. We have to carry both of them wherever we go in case one of them won’t start.”
The new saw provides more flexibility and less weight. SWAT Officers Brandon Hollis and Matt Harban held a demonstration as Officer D. G. Moreno furnished a critical eye amongst many other fellow officers who must constantly rely on a successful breech.
Hollis and Harban handled the saw like DeShaun Watson handles the pigskin, quickly and quietly sawing through burglar bars and chain link fence material.
“From what we have seen with the Dewalt saw,” Hollis told the Badge & Gun, “it has a lot of great features that will be very important and useful for our needs in tactical operations. When we are trying to defeat gates, burglar bars, locks and chains the saws have shown to be a very useful tool for our team.”
And then came the comparisons:
“The current saws that we have are much bulkier and gas-powered, which is very nice because they provide a lot of power and torque for defeating the obstacles. We have been very impressed with the Dewalt battery-powered saw and have found that it is comparable in power and torque to the heavier saws that we have.
“Some of the benefits that the Dewalt offers us is how quiet it is being a battery powered device. We will be able to get up to the lock we need to defeat a lot quieter than having the loud gas-powered saw we currently use, which gives us a tactical advantage.”
The SWAT officers, especially Moreno, were quite taken with the lighter weight of the Dewalt saw, which is about half the weight of the gas-powered saw and much easier to maneuver. Moreno pointed out, for instance, that you can hold it higher to “cut off the hinges” of a door instead of trying to cut through or around a large deadbolt lock.
“From the testing we have done,” Hollis said, “so far the battery life has shown to be great but we will have to continue to test it with cuts to see how long the battery life will last.
“We have had bad luck with in the past with battery-powered tools not having enough power and torque to do the job we need, but we have been very impressed so far with this machine and look forward to using it operationally.
“As you observed in the testing we were able to cut through metal mesh, burglar bars of various sizes and chain links with no problems at all. We did test it on some quarter-inch angle iron and it preformed great cutting through the iron with no problems.”
Hollis echoed the feelings expressed by Capt. Baimbridge, Daniel and virtually all the SWAT officers present at the presentation when he said, “We are extremely thankful to Stanley tools for donating this saw to us.”
Ms Perry smiled. “Nobody from the city has to pay for it,” she said.