6-step defensive tactic that may save an officer’s life
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
The internet and social media channels are full of countless civilian videos that portray officers struggling and/or becoming increasingly frustrated while trying to arrest a subject. In some of these instances, you see officers losing their cool as they cannot effectively control and arrest the subject.
Whether you are a rookie or seasoned vet, aggressive civilian encounters that challenge authority have become the new norm. An officer has seconds to make a choice.
With mobile video recording not going away, it's time for us all to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation and our methodology to create a different response. As law enforcement officers, we can no longer depend on our communications and sensitivity skills training — defensive tactics must become a statewide norm.
The unfortunate reality is the majority of training consists of just a few hours of learning proper defensive tactics at police academies. The next time an officer will see a combative situation is typically out on the field. This lack of training has resulted in serious injuries and even death to both the subjects of the arrest and officers who struggled to subdue them.
Through extensive research, the majority of encounters demonstrate that officers will go directly for the neck area when trying to bring someone down. Some call it a choke hold, others call it a takedown maneuver. The problem is this method is ineffective and dangerous more often than not.
Instead, focus on how to subdue and control a person resisting arrest in a matter of seconds. First, the legs are the strongest part of a person's body — use them to your advantage. Second, in any combative situation, it is highly recommend that a minimum of two officers, but ultimately, three or more is ideal during the arrest process.
Below is a six-step technique developed by highly trained LEOs that has been proven to work. Specifically, this defensive tactic was designed after studying smartphone videos captured over the years that involve two or more officers in the arrest process.
Of course, it goes without saying that nothing is 100 percent fool-proof, and every situation is unique in its own way. There are a great variety of methods and techniques available that can be utilized effectively to subdue a combative subject.
The key is to remember the moves by visualizing them in your mind prior to having an encounter. The goal is to reduce or completely avoid injuring the subject, yourself or your partners.
1. Instead of wrapping your arm around someone's neck, bend your knees and place your shoulder in-between the person's inner thigh area. If you are able to apply a rear choke or takedown maneuver, then you are able to reach down for their ankles.
2. If the subject is wearing long pants, grab hold the bottom portion or their pants. Otherwise, reach for the ankles.
3. Immediately begin to stand, raising your shoulder vertically as you lift his buttocks while simultaneously pulling the ankles/pants toward you. It is important to remember the lift or you will lose control of the person's legs on the way down and allow him or her to turn on you. One of two things will happen at this point:
- The second and/or third officer will be engaged as they were in the processes of attempting to control the person's wrists in order to handcuff him. Research shows the officer(s) will not let go, and this will assist in bringing the person down and avoid having the subject hit his/her face on the ground.
- Human instinct causes the person to immediately extend his arms in front of him to break the fall. Use this to your advantage.
4. Once the subject is on his stomach, quickly cross the legs forward and sit on the ankles as you lean slightly forward. At this point, the actor will be immobilized and unable to strike you or your partner(s). For additional control, hold the head down on the ground.
5. What typically happens next is the subject will clinch his arms underneath the chest interfering with your ability to place the handcuffs. Frustration kicks in as the officers begin using force, such as punches and/or striking the subject's ribs with a baton in order to get him to release his arms. As the force continues, witnesses become enraged at what they perceive to be police brutality. However, there is a simple and effective solution for this as well. Insert and wedge the baton in through his bicep and armpit. Grab hold of both ends of the baton and crank/steer it from the waist over the subject's ear. The actor's arm will immediately come lose, and the wrist will be perfectly positioned behind his waist, allowing you to place a cuff on it. Repeat this process on the other arm.
6. In some instances, the subject may be very strong and not allow you to wedge his arm with the baton. With several officers holding the actor down, the officer sitting on the subject's crossed legs can lower and straighten his legs (ankles kept crossed) and again sit on his ankles. Place the baton underneath the subject's shins. Raise the baton from one end and rub the baton up and down on the shins. This will create incredibly uncomfortable pain and discomfort, forcing the person to immediately release that tight hold of his arms and allow one of the other officers to pull back his arms or quickly shove and wedge the baton under the subject's armpit. Now you can steer the baton as previously mentioned and quickly handcuff the actor.
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