Editor’s Note: KnifeNews recently posted a story called ‘True Detective Knives: True or False?.’ We reached out to police officers at the LAPD and across the country to learn what knives they were carrying and how they were used. From our research it was clear that not every cop is a ‘knife cop’. Following that story we received several comments and messages through our FaceBook page from active and retired cops who have their own stories to tell. This is the first in a series we’re calling ‘Knife Cops’.
Knife Cops #1
Columbus, Georgia is “One of the most crime riddled places around,” Austin McGlaun, a six year veteran of the Columbus police force told us. With a crime index nearly double the national average, work as a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) in Columbus is not for the faint of heart.
“It’s just too invaluable of a tool to be without.”
“Knives are vital tools to any first responder,” McGlaun told us. “I have cut seat belts at wrecks. I have pried open a lot of windows. I have had to get into fallen old people’s houses at calls. I have had to get into places where suspects have fled and then closed and locked windows and doors of abandoned houses.” The idea of working as a police officer without a knife is rare and foolish according to McGlaun. “In 6 years policing I only met maybe 1 or 2 cops that do not carry a knife. It’s just too invaluable of a tool to be without.”
McGlaun’s work pushed folding knives to their breaking point. “Before I started making knives, I carried Benchmade, Emerson, and Zero Tolerance. Also a Leatherman tool.” But after the abuse he put his folders through, he realized that he preferred “fixed blades for police work because they don’t break.”
“No matter how you dog pile me on the ground I can hurt you.”
Always prepared for the worst, McGlaun carries multiple blades. “I carry an Emerson Super Karambit in my non gun hand back pocket, one of my push daggers behind my mag pouches, an Everyman fixed blade inside my none gun hand pocket, a Dirty Girl on my body armor gun side, and a Shocker in my gun hand boot. No matter how you dog pile me on the ground I can hurt you.” Despite the arsenal, McGlaun “never had to cut or stab anyone in self defence.”
In June, McGlaun left the Columbus police force to make knives on a full time basis under his brand Artificum Solis – Latin for ‘Crafter of the Sun’. Inspired by his experience on the force, McGlaun along with a business partner produce a line of fixed blades out of high-carbon and tool steels intended for hard use. Some of the designs are built for the unconventional duties his knives have had to perform.
“Have fun shooting someone out of a seat belt”
McGlaun’s passion for knives was appreciated – or at least tolerated – by his fellow officers, with only one exception. “The only cop I ever knew that was anti-knife was a supervisor who carried a dull little folder. He did not like knives because the department did not have a policy regarding them. .. I told him have fun shooting someone out of a seat belt and he broke down and got that little folder.”