A northern California police department this week announced it will be arming its officers with nunchucks to “more compassionately gain compliance” from unruly suspects and hopefully win some hearts and minds in the process. Part of the reasoning behind the change in Anderson, with a population of 10,000, is the belief the move may “offset some of the more aggressive perceptions the public has about police intervention,” Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson said. "The [nunchuck] can be deployed to more compassionately gain compliance from a suspect through pain application opposed to striking, as customary with the side-handled or straight baton."
The potential upside is that instead of getting bludgeoned with a baton, you will now be effortlessly taken down with Bruce Lee–like speed and grace. It still feels like we’re treating the symptoms here, but I guess it’s something. The 20-officer Anderson police force will, of course, be trained, Johnson notes. The reemergence of the nunchuck as a police tool comes after it quickly rose in popularity among police departments in the 1980s and then fell out of favor in the early 1990s following a spike in lawsuits as police forces began to turn to new technologies, specifically tasers, to subdue suspects.