Tuesday, September 23, 2008

May the Force Be With You!

Class two of Citizen's Police Academy. Now this was cool! Tonight I got to hit a cop and no charges were filed! LOL. Oh, yeah. He was WELL padded.

The word for the night was force. We learned about the assessment officer's are forced to make every time they deal with an encounter with a suspect. This is referred to as the "Use of Force Continuum."

So the theory here is that as the subject/suspect escalates his/her behavior then the force used by the officer to meet that threat must match or exceed it. The sooner a subject is under control the better, but sometimes you walk into a situation that is already in the red zone where deadly force is required.

The discussion of this was really intriguing. We started out with discussion and watched some video tape scenarios - and these were actual incidents which involved police officers. In at least one, the officer lost his life as a result of what transpired, so it's very sobering to realize that one wrong choice could result in a death, either of the suspect or the officer.

Then we got to the practical stuff. They took us down onto the mats in the gym area for some light "training." We started out with handcuffs.

They showed us two different kinds - the kind with some room (like these on the left) and hinged cuffs which will exert even more control with a struggling bad guy. Dang, these were hard to manipulate. I have little hands so getting the cuffs oriented correctly in my hands in order to slap them on someone's wrist was a bit of a challenge. I don't think I ever really got the hang of this but it was interesting.

We started with a "compliant" perp. Then moved on to passive resistant where the person is holding their hands in tight to prevent the officers from putting cuffs on them. In order to get someone to give up their hands, police use pressure points on the face and head. I volunteered for this just to find out what it was like. There's a point just along the jaw, below the ear, and one under the nose. The Lieutenant started with my jaw. On me, it didn't work. He moved to my ear - still no dice. It was the spot under the nose that got to me, but I held out for awhile. I must have a high threshold of pain.

After that we discussed the use of the night stick. Officers start with a collapsible baton before they qualify for the one you see TV beat cops wearing. This is what we used. First the Lieutenant demonstrated on a volunteer.

I thought to myself. Oh, okay, I can do this. I ended up as the second one in line. Frankly, I think everyone else took a step or two back so I ended up second but...oh well. So the first up was one of the men in the class. THEN they drop the bombshell - you have to yell at the volunteer perp to tell him to drop.

I'm thinking... Oh crap and visualizing that plump, black lady cop from the Police Academy movies. You know, the one with the whispery, prissy voice until she gets scared or pissed? I decide, well girl, you better use your SCA Herald's voice. I know how to shout, I just usually don't do it in front of people cause it makes me nervous.

The police officer who volunteered to get "whupped" had a big thick pad covering him, so he was perfectly safe. In fact, he said he barely felt anything as we were hitting him. I watch the first guy up. He yells and connects with the approximate leg location pretty well. As I'm watching, I process mentally and realize this is just a rap shot to the leg. You hold the baton up above the shoulder, a bit like a baseball bat but use only on hand. Then you hold your opposite hand in front as protection - just as if I were holding a shield in my hand. Then you whip the weapon around and aim for the outside of the thigh.

I yelled loud, "Get down." Brought the baton around and down. I nailed it pretty good. I did it twice and I enjoyed every minute of it. I finally get why SCA fighter's enjoy fighting - I just don't want to take a shot in return. Ever.

So tonight was pretty fun. Next week...guns. Watch out world, Francesca's got a gun!

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