Out of the 18,000 agencies in the U.S., over 70% have fewer than 25 officers (IACP, 2018)!
Surprised? I know I was when I first read those numbers. It seems like when most people think about police agencies, they think about departments like CPD, LAPD, and NYPD. It's easy to forget that agencies of these sizes are the exception rather than the norm. There are many departments out there that literally only have 1 officer.
And with small agencies (which generally means less than 50 officers) comes three considerations in terms of the need for non-lethal force training:
These considerations point us back to a good option for addressing those three areas to build a solid training foundation in non-lethal use of force. And that's martial arts training.
I've been addressing this topic a lot lately. I've had two magazine appearances discussing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for law enforcement. One in April and coming next month!
Check out this article that I was interviewed for in The Municipal magazine (p. 22) this month!
February was a BUSY month! If you follow me on LinkedIn, you know (if not, you should!).
Are you an early career officer interested control tactics training? I recommend checking out the Force Multiplier for Law Enforcement podcast. Here is an episode that I was on from earlier this month.
Want to hear my views on police-community relations and more info on my background? Check out this interview on Dr. Karen Love’s #FridayNightChats!
Want to know what is the officer’s secret weapon in relation to use of force? Check out this YouTube video and subscribe to my channel!
Side mount is probably the most miserable position to get stuck in on the ground. A good grappler can have you gasping for air within seconds of putting you in the position. They can also apply no pressure but position you in a way that you can barely move a muscle.
These elements are what makes this position one of the most popular in competition, AND one of the best positions for police officers in a use of force encounter. So, what's the key?
1. Chest to Chest Connection
2. Hip to Hip Connection (Stay low!)
3. If pressure is the goal, keep your knees off the ground.
These three factors can be summed up with this: if you are on top, take up the space! The subject should NOT be comfortable! Your control and pressure should make them prefer the handcuffs instead (which is ultimately the end goal anyway).
That's enough for now, this month's tip is for my VISUAL learners!
Check out this clip below of me demonstrating the position during a small campus safety officer training. Then, practice it. Then practice it again. Then, practice it against resistance. Then repeat (all under the supervision of a qualified instructor of course)!
Oh and one more thing... do me a favor and share this with an officer or instructor you know who may be interested in this type of content.
Be safe and go train!
Have you ever noticed that nearly half of the time spent in boxing matches involve the referee separating the fighters from the clinch? Today we’ll talk about why the clinch is so common and why it is so critical for officers.
So, what is the clinch?
Think of it as the point in which you’ve seized hold of a person’s head, body or limbs in an effort to control or restrict movement.
Can you see how getting good at this type of stuff might be helpful for law enforcement? Well in case you can’t, in today’s tip I’ll give you 3 advantages of the clinch, 3 disadvantages, and why these advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Advantages of the Clinch
Clinch positions also comes with their disadvantages.
Disadvantages of the Clinch
While these are legitimate concerns, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Why? Because circumstances dictate tactics. With a position as common as the clinch, it is much better to know it and not need it, than to need it and not know it.
You want to be in control of where and how the fight goes. The only way to accomplish this is to be well trained in this range of combat. Becoming proficient in these positions will allow you to disengage if necessary to protect your weapons or address multiple subjects, and use proper angles and technique to account for any strength deficits. Without this knowledge and understanding, you are a fish out of water.
For the purposes of clinch range, I would recommend Greco-Roman wrestling or Judo. Greco is great for directly controlling the body and Judo is great for using a subject’s clothing to control the body. Although both arts, along with many others, are transferable to any close quarters situations.
I live in Illinois, and out here we experience really hot summers and freezing cold winters. With that, I adjust my training accordingly. In the summer months, I like to focus on drills, techniques, and controls that do not rely on clothing. In the winter months, I like to practice using clothing as a weapon for gaining control, taking the opponent down and submitting them.
So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is as follows:
Step 1: Go find a good Greco-Roman wrestling coach or a good Judo practitioner (preferably one who has police experience), and learn some basics. Or if you are a coach or instructor, find a cop and teach them!
Step 2: Work various clinch drills at a low intensity. Then, when are more comfortable, practice live rounds at a low to moderate intensity against a resisting training partner. Practice working for superior position AND disengaging from the clinch. This type of consistent training is what will get you comfortable and proficient in this range.
Step 3: Let me know how it goes!
Be safe and go train!
Have you ever attended a departmental control tactics training or a martial arts session and came out wondering if you actually accomplished anything? Me too!
This is super common because we often practice without much conscience thought beyond repeating the techniques demonstrated by the instructor. My tip for this month is to encourage you to be PRESENT during your training sessions and start training with intent!
If you want to make the most out of your training and transform your control tactics skillset, have a goal in mind for every session. Ask questions about how the techniques being taught could intersect with the concepts you are working on.
Let’s say, for example, your goal for the week is to work on your takedowns. Even if the session is about applying a “Kimura” shoulder lock from side control, you can think about what takedowns would allow for a seamless transition to this position (by the way, you should also think about how that technique can transition into a cuffing position).
If your training sessions include sparring or “rolling” (live grappling), you most definitely want to use this as an opportunity to implement your goals for the day (or week or month). Maybe you decide you will focus on one particular sequence of techniques during all of your rounds with various training partners.
It will feel weird at first, maybe even frustrating. But trust me, this goal-oriented training will pay off significantly faster and better than random practice. It’s easy to spend hours training and come out with no real progress or growth. Don’t fall into this trap.
Next time you step into a training room, whether it is through your department or outside the agency (which I strongly recommend), have a goal in mind and practice with intent. You’ll find remarkable results in your long-term performance!
Be safe and go train!
So, you’re an officer on patrol at 2am and you notice an intoxicated male, about six feet tall, 215 pounds, crossing the street in front of your vehicle. You think he’s intoxicated because he’s struggling to walk without falling over and you can hear the sound of glass bottles clinking from inside his drawstring bag.
You get out on the guy and clearly he wants nothing to do with you. After running his information, it turns out he’s a 17-year old senior in high school. The moment you notice this, he tries to take of running.
You’re able to grab a hold of him and you both fall to the ground. Now the fight is on! He’s doing everything he can to get away from you.
What do you do next? Back up is about 3 minutes away. Do you tase him? Whip out the baton? Spray him? Punch him? Are you thinking about the optics of using these levels of force despite legal justification?
This is just one example of countless situations where grappling training would be a gamechanger for a patrol officer. Here are the top 3 reasons why grappling is a must-have element of police training.
#1 Superior Control
Grappling training is an excellent solution for when a cop needs to get an actively resisting subject in cuffs with minimal force. These arts are all about control. They teach practitioners has to completely immobilize a subject without throwing a punch and with relatively little effort. This can reduce injury risks to both the officer and the subject.
#2 The Way Grapplers Train
In most grappling training rooms, you practice controlling another resisting person literally every session. Whether it is working for a pin or a submission, you are getting hours of training in dealing with live resistance. This helps you to stay calm during real encounters and teaches you how to control the level of force applied as needed to handle the situation. Getting these reps in regularly against other trained practitioners will make dealing with an untrained subject much less stressful, which makes the risk of using excessive force less likely.
#3 Escaping Bad Positions
This one is especially for my “smaller framed” men and women. There may be a point where you end up on your back during an encounter. Grappling arts like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo offer simple (notice I didn’t say easy) escapes from practically any position using principles of leverage rather than brute strength. The last thing you want is to end up defenseless on your back and have your weapons taken away from you. Or be forced to shoot someone because you are stuck under them and being knocked unconscious (like in this video below). There are solutions to these situations, we just have to be willing to put in the training time.
So, if you are in law enforcement or you teach law enforcement, consider getting (or providing) some exposure to this range of combat. It could very well save a life.
Be safe and go train!