A small female officer was overpowered by a prisoner she was escorting. He physically overpowered her and got her gun away from her, shot her and escaped. While our officers should be interchangeable, certainly we know they are not. Just as a smaller, weaker, older officer might be justified in using more force and using a higher level of force than a younger officer or more physically fit officer, we need assign officers based in part on their skills and abilities not simply on a policy that says one officer handles this assignment.
While it is typical for one officer to escort one prisoner, certainly that is not always true. A major crime figure, a celebrity criminal, a criminal with a history of escape might require two or even many officers to escort him to court and back to jail. So it is also not unreasonable to have a smaller officer or a weaker officer work with a partner to escort a prisoner.
Just as you would not expect a small officer to have to confront a large suspect alone in the field, we should not expect them to handle a large suspect alone when transferring them from place to place. The safety of the public is not well served if the suspect escapes. The safety of the officers is not well served if they are attacked by a dangerous suspect. Despite budget cuts, big egos, staffing shortages, we should not take shortcuts when it comes to safety. No one is better off if an officer gets hurt or killed; that’s what the SGT Says.