Maybe this is minor in the bigger picture of what people are saying about Michael Wood Jr, but I have to disagree with Wood's dislike of the baton. In a radio interview he said he didn't carry his because he couldn't imagine hitting somebody with it. In the Balko interview he says cops used them to dent doors.
I loved my baton. I still have it. Right by the front door, just in case. The straight baton I'm talking about, not the asp. Wood never had a straight baton (BPD phased them out in 2001). The straight baton can do so much more than the asp. It's defensive. You can wack a leg or arm. You can thrust forward and back. You can hold it in multiple positions (some more benign than others). You can twirl it. (One of my great regrets was trying and failing to master the espantoon.)
The old-fashioned baton gives you a certain gravitas when you walk the beat.
Unlike most cops I carried my stick with me to almost every call. I wanted to avoid being in a situation where I might be on the losing end of a fight and have to kill somebody. And partly because of my willingness to carry it (combined with the general view on the street that cops carried a baton only when they planed on using it) I never actually did have to strike anybody.
But I sure did use it to knock on doors. Did I dent any? I don't know. Not intentionally. But how else are you going to be heard knocking on a door? The door bell hasn't worked in decades. I learned pretty quickly that my knuckles aren't hard enough. There's loud stuff going on. And I don't want to waste everybody's time -- they did, after all, call 911 -- not knowing whether or not you heard me knock the first time. Also, I wanted to make damn sure you knew that police were at your door. When you're a cop you knock like a cop. You take a step to the side, rap a few knocks loud as hell (once), and say "PO-lice." Worked every time.
I wrote more in defense of the straight baton in 2011.