The Badge Strap Helping Prevent "Blue-On-Blue"Casualties

By Rocky Warren Sgt. (ret)

Officers should be carrying their weapons off-duty. They should also have extra ammunition, restraints (flex cuffs,) cell phone, impact tool or chemical agent at a minimum. Remember that when you’re off-duty, you’ll meet your crisis situation with what you have on your person at the time. You’ll be expected to protect yourself, your family and innocent life. Should you choose to go lightly armed, or worse yet, unarmed…are you going to find it hard to live with yourself if you can’t take action? Especially if one of your family are injured or killed?

Nothing emphasizes this need to be armed off-duty more than an active shooter scenario.

Consider Salt Lake City and Trolley Square. We should all applaud the heroic actions of off-duty Ogden Police Officer Ken Hammon. Joined by Sgt. Andy Oblad, Sgt. Josh Scharman, Detective Dustin Marshall and Detective Brett Olsen they succeeded in containing and stopping an active shooter within minutes of the start of his rampage.

It appalls me to think that had there been four guns in four sets of trained hands on September 11, 2001, three-thousand Americans of all nationalities would still be alive. Also, for the lack of one gun in the trained hands of a good person, ninety-three Norwegian victims, most of them children, would now be safe at home. Instead of lying in state at the feet of their grieving nation.

With the passage of H.R. 218 in America, properly qualified active and retired peace officers are entitled to carry their weapons in all 50 states. The rapid identification of “friend or foe” is naturally going to become more of an issue. Every officer can recount incidents of “blue on blue” friendly-fire casualties. And it’s every officer’s worst nightmare.

Understand that plain-clothes officers, whatever their capacity, should comply with the commands of uniformed officers. That uniform has no idea who you are unless they’re staring at your ID or they know you. Even then, low-light or adrenaline stress may make things very dicey for all the officers involved in the situation.

If you’re in plain-clothes, whether off-duty or on Detective assignment, there’s just one simple rule: Don’t shout back. Don’t wave your hands, your wallet or your cell phone. Don’t turn. Just do the smart thing. Obey the uniforms! Do what they tell you. If it’s drop the gun? Do it! File a claim form to get the darned thing re-blued. It’s not worth your well-being or life to argue.

When you’re working in plain-clothes or off-duty, you most definitely want to be able to identify yourself to uniformed officers. “Serpico” style chains worn around the neck are not a good idea. The uniformed officer has to see your chest to see your badge. Your extended arms will cover the badge when you hold a gun, effectively making the badge invisible. And have you ever really run with a chain and badge around your neck? It beats you to death!

Enough officers have been shot with their badges on their belts to prove that wearing it on the belt almost guarantees it won’t be seen. (Godspeed Mark White and other brother and sister officers who have lost their lives because of this fact!)

Holding your ID folder or belt badge clip takes complete use of your support hand. If you have to open a door, hold a flashlight or take a physical control on a suspect, you stand a good chance of losing your badge and wallet, or being unable to do the technique needed.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, I heard an instructor say they put a shoestring or leather shoe lace on a badge case and loop it over their finger. Unfortunately, when you do that, the badge twists and turns backward frequently. Not a good solution. With much tinkering and refining, I’ve been using and improving “The Survival Strap” for about 20 plus years. I’ve made sure my friends had one and also provided them to many people in my own and surrounding agencies.

We all know that the eyes are drawn to the area of the gun. The Badge Strap is designed to put your badge right below your gun and where everyone is more certain to see it.

The Badge Strap gives the user the ability to identify to front, rear or both sides and each is a non-threatening, minimal, very low-key motion. Again, if the officer demands I drop my gun, it’s going to hit the ground. But if I can present the badge prior to the officer’s arrival, in a unique manner of presentation, there’s a better chance the officer will see it.

Remember, whether the attacker is a terrorist, violent criminal, teen, woman or mental case, they are similar to predators. They’ll always look for the “best of it” and almost every instance will be a “surprise attack.” If you’re in the area in plain-clothes, it’s now a “come as you are affair!” And when the gunshots or IED go off, when someone charges into the crowd with a sword or knife, or the crazy jihadist runs off into the crowd behind the wheel of a car, the uniforms will be coming.

If you take effective action against your attacker, your first problem will be that you and your family survive. Your second biggest problem will be looking for secondary or follow-up attackers. But another huge issue that challenges your survival will be identifying yourself to responding uniforms.

I don’t want any first responder to survive the active shooter or rampage only to get shot by “one of our own.” That’s just a tragedy for all involved.

I’ve been trying to get a police equipment company interested in the Survival Strap for years and even had it published in a major magazine. My overwhelming wish is that the Survival Strap become widely used and save lives. Order a Survival Strap. Today. Use it in good health.

Rocky Warren is a retired Sergeant from Placer Sheriff’s Dept. in Northern California. He’s a use of force expert witness, trainer and published author.

Contact him at to order a Survival Strap. Cost is $8 with shipping and handling included in that price. (For International Orders S & H will vary to meet actual costs.)


Your eyes go to the weapon.

Put the badge and weapon

in close proximity and make

sure it’s seen.


Survival Strap should be riveted

or sewn to rear thickness of badge

case to prevent pulling clip alone

from the badge case.


Finger loop should be open to enable

the officer to easily sweep it from the

belt or gear bag.


Display to rear is a non-threatening

motion. No turn necessary.


Display to support side is simple.


As is strong side display.


Another option for strong side.


Survival Strap allows you to

perform a physical control or

open doors.


Survival strap can be used

to carry the badge in a low

profile. Badge facing into

the palm of your hand.


When ready to ID, flip badge

case over the top of your