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Thread: Ground Fighting -- Assaults On Police Officers

  1. #1
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    Post Ground Fighting -- Assaults On Police Officers

    . INSTRUCTOR'S CORNER:
    By : Mark S. Dunston, Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar Instructor

    Dr. Darrell L. Ross, Ph.D. CJ Professor, East Carolina University/Calibre Press Litigation Consultant

    Ground fighting. The very term elicits visions of grappling and control holds, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and all the cool stuff we get to do in training. Recently, the authors, along with Calibre Press and PPCT Management Systems, embarked on a research project designed to determine the frequency with which police officers are forced to the ground by attackers.

    Additionally, facts and circumstances surrounding the attacks were measured to the effect they had on the attack and the outcome. During the research project, over 1,400 cases were measured based on information from officers attending the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar throughout the United States. The officers who responded were from every walk of our profession, from federal agents to street patrol officers and every conceivable position in between. Not surprisingly, a majority of officers had less than five years on the job at the time of their reported attack. Also not surprising, is the consideration that a great many agencies have a large number of newer officers. occurred. Of those attempts, it was reported that 60 percent of attackers were successful in taking the officer to the ground.

    To initiate the research, respondents were asked whether or not there had ever been an attempt by an attacker to force them to the ground. A slight majority of respondents (52 percent) reported this event as having

    REASON FOR OFFICER/ATTACKER CONTACT

    Where given, officers responding to the study related that the attack occurred most often at domestics or other disturbance calls, followed by making contact on traffic stops. This should come as no surprise, as these are the very same reasons for contact that find a high number of officers assaulted and killed each year. The most recent FBI release reports that of officers assaulted, 31 percent occurred at disturbance calls, causing 15.6 percent of officer deaths, followed by traffic stops with 15.1 percent.

    Of the encounters, the specific activity being performed while on the stop or call when the attack occurred was reported as conducting the interview portion of the encounter (field interview) 45 percent of the time, followed by 40 percent of the attacks coming at the point of handcuffing. These high frequency events were followed by escorting (10 percent) and booking (5 percent) after the arrest was made.

    ALCOHOL AND DRUG USE

    While it is considered common knowledge that officers are frequently assaulted by offenders who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the research revealed that of the incidents reported, 68 percent of the attackers were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Again, this finding coincides with many studies dating back as far as 1978, when it was reported (Meyer, et al 1978) that 64 percent of attackers who assaulted police officers were under the influence of alcohol.

    The Orlando (FL) Study (1984) on the police use of force reported that almost 50 percent of suspects who resisted with violence were under the influence of alcohol, and the Croft study (1986) revealed that a majority of resisted encounters involved arrestees under the influence of alcohol.

    METHOD OF ATTACK Combined, being kicked or punched to the ground accounted for only 15 percent of successful attacks.
    A majority of attacks reported in the study involved the suspect pushing the officer to the ground (28 percent), pulling the officer to the ground (33 percent), or tackling the officer to the ground (24 percent).

    Observing that pushing, pulling and tackling types of attacks are gross motor events that do not require a great amount of fine motor skill ability or precision movement supports the philosophy and practice of training officers to perform gross motor skill movements under the stress of being attacked.

    The issue of multiple attackers was also addressed in the study. Respondents indicated that of their reported incidents, 87 percent of their attacks involved one suspect. However, there was not an instrument for determining the number of suspects involved at contact, number of by-standers or accomplices who did not actively attack, etc. From a training and officer safety perspective, it should not be inferred that attacks happen with only one attacker.

    ONCE ON THE GROUND

    The study revealed that once the attacker forced the officer to the ground, the attacker continued assaulting the officer on the ground 64 percent of the time, followed by fleeing only 31 percent, with 5 percent of the attackers reportedly waiting for the officer to get up to continue the fight.

    Given this high percentage of continued assaults, the study provides law enforcement leadership with a view as to the probability of what will happen when an officer is taken to the ground, allowing use of force policy concerning the escalation of force and tactical response options in such attacks. From a training perspective, it must be stressed to officers in training that an incident involving being forced to the ground is not a low level of suspect resistance.

    The continued attack on the ground was performed through a majority of offenders using a combination of grappling and pinning (77 percent), punches and strikes (66 percent) against the officer.

    As for position when landing on the ground, 50 percent of the incidents were reported to have found the officer landing on his/her side, followed by their back (30 percent) and then their stomach (20percent). Relationship to the attacker once taken to the ground showed officers landing on top of the attacker (42 percent or to the side (38 percent) as opposed to landing under the attacker 20 percent of the time.

    WEAPON DISARMING

    Of the assaults on officers reported in the study, 21 percent of attackers attempted to disarm the officer. Of those, 5 percent were successful in removing the officer's weapon. Similarly disturbing in the FBI study, of 594 law enforcement officers killed between 1992 and 2001, 46 were killed with their own weapon.

    POLICE OFFICER'S CONTROL ATTEMPTS ON THE GROUND
    Once attacked and forced to the ground by a suspect, responding officers reported that the threat was countered with non-lethal use of force options 95 percent of the time. While there were obviously scenarios related in the study that had the officer responding with a variety, of escalation and de-escalation of force options, the sole use of personal weapons (feet, hands, holds, etc.) by officers was reported at 24 percent.

    Officers who had available to them, and chose to use, intermediate weapons such as OC spray and impact weapons did so 29 percent and 26 percent of the time, respectively. Of the impact weapons used, most were standard and expandable straight batons. Variations that were reported included 4 uses of 'flex batons' (nunchaku), 3 uses of our police radio, 1 use of keys and 1 use of a sap.

    When asked about firearm usage by the officer, respondents cited 13 uses of a firearm to counter the attack, with three suspect fatalities. This reported usage of a firearm indicates that less than 1 percent of attacks involved the use of lethal force via firearm.

    TRAINING ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Respondents to the study indicated that 52 percent of them had received ground control training prior to the reported attack, with 40 percent indicating that they received such training after the reported attack.

    There is no question that training officers to fight on the ground is imperative to winning such confrontations. When conducting such training, the use of grappling and escape techniques are critical to the officer's success in getting off the ground and back to a standing position. Our goal in training is to emphasize getting up from the ground and to not remain in a grapple event.

    We as officers are neither designed nor suited for staying on the ground to participate in a grappling or wrestling contest with a suspect.

    -- First, we do not know when and where the suspect's back up is coming into the attack.

    -- Second, we are wearing equipment that strongly inhibits our fluid movement on the ground.

    -- Third, as evidenced by this study, we face an aggressive, continued assault once on the ground. Officers should be trained to meet this high level assault with a high level response. Tactics should be designed for the officer to end the attack quickly on the ground to regain their position of advantage. Trainers should not hesitate to teach tactics that cause unconsciousness when faced with this level of violence.

    Further, as evidenced in this study, if officers are escalating their force responses to include OC spray, impact weapons, and environmental weapons, training should include scenarios that provide these options.

  2. #2
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    Not a troll by any means, just a perspective from men & women who are out in the street everyday.

  3. #3
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    I think cops are always a good source on what really happens in the streets. Not only are they involved but they see it much more so then your average person.
    However I still think it is sad and frightening that cops are generally way undertrained for this sort of thing.
    _______________
    I'd tell you to go to hell, but I work there and don't want to see you everyday.

  4. #4
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    also cops must abide by a set of "restraining" rules unlike the criminal/suspect.

  5. #5

    well

    Political correctness within the deptartments and a fear of being sued cause cops to receive unrealistic, less brutal training. Time and money issues are another thing. So cops have to sort through what is out there on their own and search for realistic hand to hand if that's what they want to know.

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up

    Well stated Carly.

  7. #7

    Re: well

    Originally posted by carly
    Political correctness within the deptartments and a fear of being sued cause cops to receive unrealistic, less brutal training. Time and money issues are another thing. So cops have to sort through what is out there on their own and search for realistic hand to hand if that's what they want to know.
    sounds like a great argument for teaching them grappling.
    i'm nobody...i'm nobody. i'm a tramp, a bum, a hobo... a boxcar and a jug of wine... but i'm a straight razor if you get to close to me.

    -Charles Manson

    I will punch, kick, choke, throw or joint manipulate any nationality equally without predjudice.

    - Shonie Carter

  8. #8
    "with 5 percent of the attackers reportedly waiting for the officer to get up to continue the fight."

    I didn't think it would be that high.
    i'm nobody...i'm nobody. i'm a tramp, a bum, a hobo... a boxcar and a jug of wine... but i'm a straight razor if you get to close to me.

    -Charles Manson

    I will punch, kick, choke, throw or joint manipulate any nationality equally without predjudice.

    - Shonie Carter

  9. #9
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    Seven star, I'd guess a combination of intoxication and "tunnel vision" probably make that statistic so odd to us.

    logic would say :cop down, criminal up. criminal run away. but logic is distorted.

  10. #10
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    and that many people don't think of "fight" as being on the ground. despite the obvious advantage teh criminal has, he can't see it because he assumes he has to be standing toe to toe. Ironic that in frustration or accident that they will grapple 60% of the time..

  11. #11
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    carly - I think more of it can be attributed to money and ignorance. Too many cops don't really understand how important good CQB training is and that it really can save their lives. I always encourage my cop freinds to join me in class, so far two have!
    _______________
    I'd tell you to go to hell, but I work there and don't want to see you everyday.

  12. #12
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    QUESTION HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET GOOD AT GRAPPLING AND WOULD THE GRACIE FATHER BE **** caps able to defeat one of the younger fit gracies in a fight...is bjj applicabble at old age?.

    two whats the diff between bjj and jjj who did the gracies bvorrow from agian jjj or judo?...do kungfu have any old systems like this?.

    mongolians

    indians etcetc why brazil?.

  13. #13
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    Red,

    "Political correctness within the deptartments and a fear of being sued cause cops to receive unrealistic, less brutal training."

    This is why! Brutality! brutality! my lawyer is going to sue you! brutality!!!!

  14. #14
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    "This is why! Brutality! brutality! my lawyer is going to sue you! brutality!!!!"

    I don't buy it. Talking to my cop freinds lately, especially since some close freinds are just about ready to graduate but hae been working volunteer neighborhood patrols for a few years now, They get classes, and some of them show some pretty brutal ways for dealing with criminals. some of it is probably too much for what they need.
    The issue is that the training is not ongoing, it's a class here or there, maybe once a year they may have to certify or something. In general, it doesn't matter who you are getting the training from. I know my buddies are encouraged ot go out and find their own thing, but mostly because the money isn't there. why would you bother teaching them to protect themselves on that level when they already have guns!?!?
    _______________
    I'd tell you to go to hell, but I work there and don't want to see you everyday.

  15. #15
    Not surprisingly, a majority of officers had less than five years on the job at the time of their reported attack.
    First they ought to see what those officers with more than 5 years on the job are doing right.

    Can they back up those statistics from another independent source?
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


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