Choke Holds: A Police Perspective Part 3/3

Today I’m concluding a three part series written by Deputy Karl Mai that gives accurate inside information on police choke holds/stunning techniques, how and when they are applied. 

Follow the links for Part I and Part II.

Welcome back, Karl!


Some final words about all of these techniques.

First, they rely on the effects of a fluid shock wave to have the desired results. It’s not enough to simply strike/punch the target in the described area. Police are taught to strike and hold the pressure of the strike on the targeted area for a second, so to send a fluid shockwave through the body tissues. Also, and this would apply to a carotid restraint as well, police are taught to not let the target simply fall to the ground uncontrolled after using these techniques.
An uncontrolled fall can result in unexpected injuries, especially to a person’s head. After striking the target, if the target goes limp, or gets weak in the knees, police will try to grab hold of the target and guide them to the ground to prevent unwanted injuries. This may not be feasible depending on the dynamics of the fight, or if there are multiple attackers, but the goal of preventing unwanted injuries is always there.
In the case of your secret agent, former Special Forces guy, the writer should consider how the character will restrain the target after incapacitating them, knowing that the target will get up fairly quickly and be very capable of continuing the attack/pursuit.

Some suggestions:

1. If going up against the police or other agents, would be to use the officers own handcuffs or flexi-cuffs (basically large zip ties) to restrain the officer during the precious few seconds they are incapacitated.

2. Have the main character carry handcuffs, or flexi-cuffs of his own.

3. Simply have the character apply the technique, safely guide the target to the ground and use those seconds to run away. If there are additional pursuers, would the character want to waste time handcuffing the officer while other officers/agents are closing in on him?

Another thing to consider is, how would other officers/agents respond to witnessing the main character apply these techniques to one of their fellow officers?  The answer to that question is it raises the stake . . . a lot. 

If a cop sees someone attacking one of their own to the point of incapacitation, it allows for a lethal response. In other words, the character who is actually taking special measures not to have to kill the officer/agent, may suddenly find themselves getting shot at. Or the officer/agent who is being subjected to the technique will likely respond with lethal force if they can manage to do so.
In reality, the officer can’t know what their attacker’s intentions are or what they will do to the officer once incapacitated. Will the attacker simply walk away? Will the attacker continue to assault the officer causing further injury to the officer when the officer is incapacitated? Will the attacker take the officer’s gun and kill the officer, kill other officers, or kill other citizens?
Therefore, when facing incapacitation, loss of consciousness, or being put into a seriously inferior position (such as down on the ground with an attacker on top of the officer), an officer may respond with lethal force. Other officers witnessing this happen to a fellow officer may respond with lethal force as well.

Karl, my personal thanks to you for all of this great information. I know it will definitely make my novels more accurate!
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Deputy Karl Mai is a 16 year veteran of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado Springs, CO.  He has mostly worked street patrol and as a Field Training Officer (FTO), but has also worked in the county jail and as a Detective.

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