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When Carmel (IN) Police Department’s Lt. Ryan Meyer and his Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force are preparing to breach a door for a bust, speed, power and silence are mandatory. When it comes time to access the drug dealer’s safe to recover paraphernalia and proceeds, that same speed, power and silence can be elusive.

“It used to take two to three guys upwards of an hour to access a single safe – it was noisy and time consuming,” said Meyer, describing a scenario where two to three officers from the special investigations division would carry a 500-plus pound steel safe outside the house and use traditional rams and Halligan bars to pry, hack and hammer the safe open. “The concrete would be a mess and there would be debris everywhere. And, we might have multiple locations to go to at the culmination of an investigation; breaching safes can be exhausting work for a drug task force.”

They wondered, how can we do this more effectively? The answer came in the form of StrongArm®, a battery-powered hydraulic multitool from HURST Jaws of Life®. It’s used by law enforcement to breach doors; cut 3/8-inch rebar, Grade 43 chain and two-by-four wood; and pop trunks with ease. It was the perfect solution to help a drug task force access a steel safe box where drugs and cash are typically hidden.

“The first time we used StrongArm to access a safe, we had it open in two minutes. We never left the room where the safe was hidden, turning it on its back and opening it right there,” said Meyer, who had borrowed StrongArm from the district’s SWAT team. The multitool performed so well that the task force worked with HURST Jaws of Life dealer Apollo Fire Equipment to demo StrongArm for 30 days. The tool, powered by a lightweight Li-Ion battery, has easy change out tips that let you spread or cut, along with features including a Picatinny accessory rail for a flashlight. Lt. Meyer and his team had an immediate need for the combination tips.

“We had a safe that had a bike lock cable locked around it. The cutting function of the StrongArm made short work of that cable, and then we used the teeth to breach the safe’s door,” he said.

While the multijurisdictional task force appreciates the speed and power of StrongArm for breaching safes to access important and sometimes dangerous evidence in the fight against drugs, Lt. Meyer said the multitool serves the entire community of 390,000 residents who live just north of Indianapolis.

“We have guys on task forces for multiple agencies that have access to this tool,” he said. Police, SWAT, fire and first responders like StrongArm because it’s a tool for forcible entry, but also for everyday situations you can’t predict.

“StrongArm is a lot faster and a lot more convenient than using a variety of other tools,” he said. “It’s really added effectiveness to what we do.”

(Editor's Note: Photo shown is not Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force and is intended only to show StrongArm product referenced in article.)