Call them truncheons, coshs, billysticks, nightsticks, prods or what-have-you. Shorter than a Simple Staff
, different enough from a generic club to be distinct, the baton is the melee Weapon of Choice
of cops, guards and their ilk.
Depending on the portrayal on the police force, a baton can be:
- A heroic weapon (for truly righteous cops)
- A standard issue Red Shirt weapon (especially against heavily armed crooks or supernatural menaces)
- A symbol of fear (especially on Dirty Cop - or a whole army of 'em)
Sometimes used to perform a Tap on the Head
; however, modern UK training discourages it due to the possibility of fatal injury.
The Old-Fashioned Copper
trope in general also tends to invert the brutality aspect of the trope, since the "no-nonsense" versions prefer guns (in works set at the time when British officers carried them), while the amicable Dixon Of Dock Green
types prefer old-fashioned truncheons. In feudal Japan, the jitte
(basically a metal truncheon with a prong for hooking the opponent) was strongly associated with officers and served as their badge of office.
Compare Dual Tonfas
, Sai Guy
(close to the jitte), Carry a Big Stick
, Staff of Authority
and Batter Up
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Anime and Manga
- One Piece: Marine Captain/Commodore/Vice Admiral Smoker wields a Big Fancy Jitte tipped with Seastone to better fight Devil Fruit users.
- Luffy from one of the special episodes (set in an Alternate Universe) also wields a normal-sized one as he takes the role as an inspector. He can even perform a Gum Gum Gatling with it.
- In Cyber City Oedo 808, the three Boxed Crook protagonists (who are working off their sentences as "special" officers) all carry collapsible red jitte. In the second OVA, Gogul even uses his to identify himself as law enforcement.
- Ex-cop and brutal vigilante Americop in the Captain America comics carried a baton as a major part of his arsenal.
- This was the entire schtick of Nightstick and Daystick, a pair of thuggish vigilantes from Joss Whedon's run on Runaways. As their names suggest, they wielded batons.
- Sleepwalker had a supporting character named Nightstick, whose gimmick was a pair of batons strapped to his forearms.
- Red Fire, Red Planet: Among the accoutrements of Ensign Kate McMillan, a Starfleet Security officer stationed at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, is something called a "stunstick" (a cross between a police baton and a Static Stun Gun).
Film - Animated
- Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo features Inspector Zenigata keeping a Jitte as part of the shrine to his police officer ancestors. He later uses it to arrest the movie's villain.
Film - Live Action
- In Like Flint. General Carter's Z.O.W.I.E. guards use expandable batons to fight Flint in the document incinerator room.
- In Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol a nebbishy rookie cop (played by Tim Kazurinsky) uses his police baton to totally destroy a trio of gangbangers.
- The protagonist of The Raid uses a nightstick and combat knife to deadly results.
- Inspector Ma from Sha Po Lang uses a telescoping baton, in a rare heroic example.
- In Demolition Man, in the future city of San Angeles, the police are armed with batons... which can discharge electric currents.
- In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes the police force is used mostly to control the ape slaves and all carry big sticks to beat recalcitrant apes with.
- In both versions of Walking Tall the sheriff carries a wood stick as an improvised baton and uses it as his primary weapon.
- One of the weapons used by the Precops in Minority Report are Sick-sticks. They're retractable batons that can also cause the target to uncontrollably vomit upon contact.
Live Action Television
- Warhammer 40K: Arbites squads carry shock batons, applied with considerable enthusiasm against rioters, mutants, and other undesirables.
- Abstergo guards in Assassin's Creed games.
- Priere from La Pucelle uses a baton to beat the crap out of her enemies. This carries to her appearances as an Overlord in later Nippon Ichi games.
- Cerberus Assault Troopers and Centurions in Mass Effect 3.
- The most obvious example, Mortal Kombat's own local cop, Kurtis Stryker, who utilizes a night stick alongside other conventional weapons like his handguns.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the cyborg Dirty Cops in Denver use these.
- Captain Vor in Warframe.
- In Parasite Eve 2 the protagonist is an FBI agent (for a fictional branch called MIST that deals with mutated monsters). The weapons you start off with are a pistol and a police baton (which also happens to be the only exclusively melee weapon in the game).
- Half-Life 2: Combine Civil Protection officers wield stun batons that they use when dishing out their particular brand of justice.
- In Final Fight and Street Fighter games, Rolento the ex-soldier fights with a baton and an acrobatic, speedy style.
- The Imperial Agent's Non-Player Companion SCORPIO in Star Wars: The Old Republic fights using customized electrostaffs that look like police batons, since she is essentially a robotic prison warden who spent most of her existence herding criminals on the prison planet of Belsavis.
- Final Fantasy
- In Final Fantasy XIII, most melee-type enemies of the Corps (military/police organization of Cocoon) category wield batons in battle. Some higher-level PSICOM (e.g. Huntress) and Sanctum (e.g. Inquisitrix) enemies have them, as well.
- Jihl Nabaat in Final Fantasy XIII wields a swagger stick as a weapon but isn't fought until a DLC battle in the the sequel
- Shinra Infantrymen wield police batons in Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core alongside their assault rifles. The Turk Reno also wields a collapsible shock baton fitting of his corporate thug image.
- Dynasty Warriors
- Zhuge Dan uses a Nightstick in DW 8. Fitting for a strategist with authority.
- Star Trek Online: One variety of Breen mook, the Ak'ched Guard, likes to get up close and personal with a neural truncheon. They're one of the more common varieties of mooks at Breen slave labor camps during the "Breen Invasion" arc.
- In the South Park episode "Chicken Lover", Cartman is handed a baton when he's deputized. He uses it indiscriminantly on whoever doesn't "respect my authoritah!"
- An episode of The Simpsons had Bart go on a ride along with "Springfield's Finest". He asked one of the officers if he could see their "club". The cop responded with "It's not a club. We call it a baton." Bart asked what he does with it. "We club people with it."