One size does fit all when it comes to transporting prisoners in the new half cages in patrol cars for the Pratt Police Department.

One size does fit all when it comes to transporting prisoners in the new half cages in patrol cars for the Pratt Police Department.

The half cages have been installed on the right side in the back seat to protect officers when transporting prisoners, said Acting Pratt Police Chief Gary Myers.

Funding for the new half cages came out of the police forfeiture fund from drug arrests and seizures.

The half cage restricts the movement of a prisoner. It provides a divider between the prisoner and officer and fits over the original car seat.

If a prisoner is combative and resisting, the half cage provides a safety factor for the office as well as for the person being restrained.

The very first use of the half cage came after an officer made a warrant arrest of a very large male and the officer found the half cage accommodated the prisoner without a problem.

“He fit in the cage just fine,” Myers said. “One size does fit all. They are very functional. We’re very pleased with the cages.”

The additional security of the half cage has pleased officers. It has made their job more secure for short and long trips.

“We can transport prisoners to jail safer and transport prisoners to other towns safer,” said Patrol Officer Chris Chisham.

Another benefit for officers, especially tall officers like Chisham who is six foot, three inches tall, is that since the half cage sits behind the passenger side of the front seat it allows the drivers seat to be set back to accommodate long legs.

“It’s a great deal,” Chisham said.

The half cages are easy to install. Myers shuttled police cruisers to Garden Plain for the one-hour installation. He had two done in one day and three the next for a total of five units with the half cages.

The cost of the half cages is $350. They were purchased from Custom Cage Incorporated in South Dakota. The cages are custom made for each specific vehicle and cannot be transferred to another vehicle when the department changes cars, Myers said.

The half cage cost was substantially lower then the first cages Myers considered. He looked at a full cage that cost $1,500 apiece plus installation. It took up the entire back seat space and the back seat itself would be removed and replaced with a hard vinyl seat with a floor drain for cleaning if a prisoner would urinate, defecate or vomit while being transported.

The seat provided a good, secure way to transport a prisoner, three prisoners could be transported at the same time and it was well worth the money, Myers.

But Myers felt uncomfortable spending $7,500 for cages that would be used for just two years so he looked for an alternative and found Custom Cage Incorporated on the Internet. He made a deal and was able to get all five half cages delivered for $1,750, just a little more than the cost of one full seat cage.

The half cage allows officers to carry equipment in the backseat. It also allows officers to transport people who are not prisoners such as when they are escorts for banks, giving people a ride home from auto accidents and transporting other non-arrested people.

The average patrol car is in use for two years then it is used as supervisor vehicle for two years where it doesn’t get as many miles. The vehicles are then shuffled to other departments in the city.