|"My metalbenders and I will provide extra security [...] There's no better force to deal with the chi blockers. Our armor is impervious to their attacks."|
|— Chief Lin Beifong to the United Republic Council.|
The Metalbending Police Force is the elite division of the Republic City Police Department, founded by Toph Beifong. By using metalbending to manipulate the metal cables within the cylindrical spool devices on their backs, the officers are able to restrain criminals and navigate the city quickly and efficiently. Along with this equipment, they are also known to carry truncheons and riot shields. The Metalbending Police Force monitors events in the city through the use of several airships, and this mobility allows them to easily apprehend felons and deploy forces for pursuit.
The Metalbending Police Force was established by Toph Beifong after the formation of Republic City, and she subsequently led the organization for a number of years. The force aided in the arrest of the notorious bloodbending crime boss, Yakone, and several officers, including Toph, also provided security during his trial. However, like all others present at the trial, these metalbending officers were bloodbent into submission by Yakone, allowing him to escape.
The force was quick to respond to an incident involving Avatar Korra upon her arrival in Republic City. Several officers arrived at the scene after the Avatar's brief but destructive fight with three members of the Triple Threat Triad, who had been terrorizing a phonograph shop owner. After the short scuffle, the police rounded up the defeated triad members and told Korra that she was under arrest for property damage as a result of the fight. Korra attempted to flee on Naga, but an airship captured her and brought her to headquarters for questioning courtesy of Lin Beifong.
During the Pro-bending Championship Tournament, the police force provided extra security by supplying police airships, police boats, and officers to guard the vicinity around the arena after the Equalists threatened to attack the building. However, Equalists, who had been hiding among the audience, quickly incapacitated the metalbenders. Sometime during the incursion, all police boats and airships surrounding the arena were also destroyed.
After the attack on the Pro-bending Arena, Tarrlok arranged a press conference. He called for new leadership of the police force after Chief Lin Beifong's failure to prevent the destruction of the arena. Meanwhile, the Metalbending Police Force launched an in-depth investigation into who manufactured the Equalists' high-tech weapons by questioning witnesses to procure information. They investigated the Cabbage Corp factory, finding enough incriminating evidence to arrest Lau Gan-Lan, the head of the corporation. After Avatar Korra told Chief Beifong about a possible connection between Hiroshi Sato and the Equalists, the Metalbending Police Force, together with Tenzin and Korra, searched for any indication of such a wrongdoing. None of the Future Industries warehouses contained anything of the sort.
However, after receiving an anonymous tip, the police force invaded the Sato estate in search of a secret factory beneath its grounds. Metalbending officers accompanied Lin Beifong and the rest of the search party, but they were ambushed by Equalist mecha tanks and were soon overpowered. While part of the group was able to escape via airship, several metalbending officers were captured and taken to Amon. However, after the escape, Lin Beifong stated her resolve to resign as chief and retrieve her men without the restraints of the law.
Following Chief Beifong's resignation, Saikhan was inducted as Chief of Police and agreed to lend any of the police force's available resources to Tarrlok and his task force. As a result, the councilman's influence in the police force increased greatly. Many metalbending officers were summoned to quell a supposed Equalist rally in the Dragon Flats borough. At the scene, officers arrested Mako, Bolin, and Asami Sato, as well as the nonbender crowds in the borough at Tarrlok's command; they were disobeying the recently enacted nonbender curfew law. After the incident, Tenzin and Korra arrived at the police headquarters, demanding that Chief Saikhan release Korra's friends and the nonbenders that had been arrested. The Chief advised them to speak with Tarrlok about the matter.
Tarrlok ordered Chief Saikhan to deploy the entire police force to find the Avatar when Amon had reportedly kidnapped her. However, this was simply a ploy to keep the force busy while Tarrlok disposed of the Avatar.
While searching for the Avatar in a tunnel network running through Republic City, Lin Beifong, Tenzin, Bolin, Mako, and Asami came across an Equalist prison. Upon employing her seismic sense and embarking on a short search, Lin found her former officers incarcerated in a cell, and she used her metalbending to pry open its bars. Upon entering, Lin asked her officers if Amon had removed their bending already, to which an officer nodded. The team and its newly rescued allies proceeded to escape the Equalist facility via a hijacked Equalist tram cart.
During the Equalists' battle for Republic City, numerous metalbending officers were knocked out when Amon's forces siphoned knockout gas into the police headquarters. Later, as Councilman Tenzin safely led a group of officers and telephone operators outside, several officers, including Chief Saikhan, were captured by Equalist mecha tanks equipped with large magnets.
After the Anti-bending Revolution, the Metalbending Police Force returned to the streets of Republic City, and Lin Beifong was reinstated as chief, while Korra restored bending to the officers who had lost it. When civil war ignited between the Water Tribes, the police supervised a peace march held by Southerners outside their cultural center, but were unable to prevent the Agni Kai Triad from bombing the cultural center. Everyone assumed the Northerners to be behind the attack, but Officer Mako, having witnessed the Agni Kais fleeing the scene, knew otherwise.
The police force later posted security around the Pro-bending Arena once more for the finale of The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South, in which President Raiko was in attendance. However, four waterbenders infiltrated the arena and incapacitated Detectives Lu and Gang, before attempting to kidnap Raiko. When Bolin forced one of the waterbenders to reveal Varrick was his employer, the police swiftly arrested the businessman. Mako was subsequently released from prison.
Two weeks after Harmonic Convergence, the police tracked Daw down to Kyoshi Bridge. After he accidentally blew himself to the top of it, the Metalbending Police Force stationed themselves on the bridge's suspension cables in an attempt to help him down. However, after Daw accidentally summoned a gust of wind that knocked them off the bridge, they metalbent their cables to the bridge and landed safely onto the road alongside other members. They subsequently watched as Korra succeeded in getting Daw to the ground.
Some days later, the police began tracking Zaheer and the Red Lotus, who were hunting the Avatar and were hiding in the city. The criminals were eventually detected attempting to sneak past a security checkpoint and police cars gave pursuit though the criminals were able to escape.
The Metalbending Police Force helped prepare the square before City Hall for Prince Wu's coronation as Earth King by setting up bleachers. During the actual ceremony, they flanked the high officials on the podium, making sure no harm would befall them.
The Metalbending Police Force operates primarily through the use of specialized metalbending. Its uniform consists mainly of segmented metal armor, which offers protection against chi blocking. Cylindrical spools are attached to the back of each officer, with metallic cables extending through the arm; the compacted metal wires can be lengthened or retracted through metalbending. Metalbending police officers are adept at manipulating these metal wires, often bending them with enough force to cling to solid earth or to wrap around a person. This is their primary use of law enforcement, developed by Chief Lin Beifong herself. These cables are the officers' weapon of choice, but they also carry additional equipment such as truncheons and riot shields.
For regular metalbending officers, the majority of the uniform is a light gray color with the hat being a slightly darker shade of gray. The foot piece of the armor is made up of retractable metal plates and it allows the officers to expose their feet to the ground when necessary. Due to the fact that the armor is made out of metal, the officers can swiftly put on their uniforms by utilizing their metalbending skills. For the Chief of Police, the uniform is almost the same, except the metal is a slightly darker gray shade and it has gold rims separating each piece of the armor.
Methods, equipment, and abilities
In addition to manipulating wires attached to the spools on their backs, metalbending police officers make use of metal wires dispersed throughout Republic City. Officers can maneuver through streets by attaching a wire from their spools to a stationary wire, propelling through the city in a similar fashion to vine swinging. In addition, officers can attach wires to mobile objects such as Satomobiles while on top of a stationary wire, using the moving unit to "surf" through the city. Saikhan demonstrated this ability while in pursuit of Avatar Korra. Lin Beifong displayed the capability of extending retractable metal blades from the sleeves of her armor.
The police force operates efficiently and attempts to produce minimal damage to the city. The officers are deployed in small groups by patrol airships that constantly circle the capital's boundaries. A siren indicates the arrival of police units, and officers arrive soon after to immobilize criminals through the use of metal wires, before transporting them to the police headquarters.
The members of the police force utilize police scanners to communicate with one another while patrolling Republic City, as well as loud alarms and megaphones. Operators within the communications room of the police headquarters collect and evaluate all information from the police officers, airships, and ferries. In times of emergency, this room acts as the command center for the chief and the whole police force, given its role as the junction for all police communication.
- Airships — Manufactured by Future Industries, airships are used for monitoring the streets of Republic City, as large sections of the city are visible from the air.
- Boats — The police force employs boats when the situation calls for watching or approaching a location on water.
- Cars — Also developed by Future Industries, the police car is similar to a Satomobile, but it is equipped with sirens, police radios, as well as a caged back for transporting criminals.
- Heavy duty trucks — These heavy duty police trucks are reinforced with armor to be dispensed into any high threat scenario to ensure the safety of police officers. They are also equipped with a metal plow to move objects out of the way.
- Main article: Police headquarters
The Metalbending Police Force brings apprehended criminals to its headquarters, located deep within Republic City. Its base of operations is a monumental building, the grandeur of which is represented by the numerous entrances and windows adorning the exterior. A metal statue of Toph can be seen on a pinnacle near the building's center.
- Captain Saikhan (formerly chief)
- Chief Toph Beifong (retired)
- Chief Lin Beifong
- Metalbender officer
- Officer Song
- Yakone (later escaped; deceased)
- Triple Threat Triad members
- Korra (charges dropped and released by Tenzin)
- Lau Gan-Lan (proven innocent)
- Asami Sato (escaped and name cleared)
- Mako (escaped and name cleared)
- Bolin (escaped and name cleared)
- Nonbenders of the Dragon Flats borough (released)
- Hiroshi Sato (deceased)
- Varrick (escaped and later pardoned)
- Zhu Li (escaped and later pardoned)
- Creators and executive producers Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have said that the Metalbending Police Force was partially inspired by the Dai Li.
- Their uniform bears striking similarities in appearance to traditional samurai armor.
- The conservative and deliberate method of operation that the Metalbending Police Force employs bears similarities to the Dai Li, the secret police of Ba Sing Se. One major difference between the groups, however, is that the Metalbending Police Force ultimately has to answer to the United Republic government, while the Dai Li's top operatives, such as Long Feng, were essentially free to organize policy as they wished.
- In a flashback, Toph, as well as two others, were shown wearing complete metalbender police uniforms. This means that the Metalbending Police Force has been up and running for a number of years.
- The Metalbending Police Force's method of traversing quickly around using extendable metal wires is like Spiderman's web-slinging.
- In an interview, Sifu Kisu explained that the fighting style of the Metalbending Police is based on the Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis Style, with modern military techniques also thrown in. He has jokingly called this "ambigu-bending" because of its lack of definition as compared to the more ordinary form of earthbending and the unique style which Toph herself performed.
- The old model of the uniforms worn by metalbending officers consisted of less metal plating and did not have wire spools on the back of the uniform. Instead, the metal cables were stored in circular canisters just above the officer's hip.