Cops trying to restrain children will have a softer alternative than metal handcuffs under a new program the New York Police Department is testing in nearly two dozen schools. Starting next month, says the New York Daily News, officers will use Velcro handcuffs instead of the tougher steel model to subdue disturbed or unruly children. “We would prefer never to use restraints of any kind, but in those rare instances where it may become necessary, we want a softer alternative to conventional handcuffs,” says spokesman Paul Browne.
Cops are expected to use the cuffs no more than once or twice a year, and only when a kid is at risk of hurting himself or others. The new handcuffs would be used on kids under 16. The restraints are 22-inch-long strips of cloth with Velcro fasteners that can be adjusted to fit a child’s wrist. “Handcuffing by any other name is still handcuffing, ” said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union.