The subject of control and arrest has been hotly debated in the Law Enforcement community for a long time. The techniques taught in departments have changed through history. In the very early days of police work the “billy club” was the “control”. Since then various systems involving the martial arts and combat sports of the world have sprouted. Different departments have found merits in different methods but officers are still in many cases getting injured or sometimes using excessive force because their control tactics training is inadequate or unrealistic.
The objective in Functional Edge Drills and Skills is to prepare the student to effectively manage realistic resistance and gain control of subjects quickly.
In the Functional Edge System it is important to understand that Control is one of our Resolution Attitudes, thus we can only control subjects that voluntarily submit to such control or the ones we have at least partially subdued through our use of the Engagement Attitudes. In other words we can only control an assaultive suspect after we have successfully Survived the initial onslaught, Reversed the predator/prey interaction and Engaged with tools to cause significant dysfunction. Attempting to control a suspect that is still in a predatory attack mode is one of the main reasons officers are injured or killed.
The control tactics taught in the Functional Edge are designed with the following principles in mind:
Parsimony- This principle is also known as economy or succinctness. We only teach two tactics to be used against mild to moderately resisting subjects and two tactics that are for use against Assaultive subjects after we have caused dysfunction.
Commonality- All the control tactics are based on applying leverage and pressure to the same areas of the subject’s body and using the same tactics that are taught for counter ambush. Also the takedown progressions for all the tactics are the same so that no matter what the officer is doing with his upper body, the lower body takedown maneuvers follow the same protocol for success, failure and follow through.
Structural- Lastly, since many of the subjects we deal with are pain resistant due to emotional arousal or drugs and alcohol, the Functional Edge Control Tactics are based on causing dysfunction and disruption of the suspect’s structure, balance and movement. They do not rely on pain.
When teaching control tactics we must also have realistic expectations. We are all subject to the laws of Physics and there is a point when the size and strength difference between the officer and suspect will be so large that control tactics alone will not be enough to subdue a subject. The officer must then be prepared to use Engagement Attitude to cause dysfunction or transition to other tools.
Training with progressive resistance will prepare our trainees to deal with realistic force and will also help develop a true awareness of our limitations when controlling hostile suspects. This will in turn lead to less injuries to ourselves and the suspect and more officers going home safe at shift’s end.