Local deputies demonstrate how to arrest combative suspects without injuring them
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REXBURG — The death of George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of several former police officers caused a public outcry that has sparked protests and riots across the country this week.
Some of the strongest condemnations came from other law enforcement officers who noted how unnecessary the tactics used by the former Minnesota police officers were in apprehending and restraining Floyd.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office reached out to EastIdahoNews.com to show us how to take down and place someone into handcuffs quickly and nearly painlessly. They also showed us how to get a suspect into a patrol car.
“It can be done,” sheriff office spokesman Sgt. Isaac Payne said. “It takes consistent and correct training, though.”
In addition to his job at the sheriff’s office, Payne also owns a martial arts gym in Rexburg and has demonstrated combat techniques on national television.
Payne said that in Idaho, law enforcement officers use certain procedures and grappling techniques mostly derived from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“We focus on ground control and ground movement,” Payne said. “There are strikes in the system, but we try to use that as little as possible. The objective is always control, always de-escalation.”
Payne said when faced with a combative suspect, there are varying levels of force that can be applied. Just having a law enforcement officer’s presence is the first level.
Deputy Colin Selin recounts a situation where he arrived at a domestic disturbance call and found a young man wanting to fight him. Selin said the first thing they do is try to talk to the suspect and calm them down.
But in this situation, talks failed, and he was required to use his training.
“When it came down to it he gestured, made some threats, so I went hands-on with him,” Selin said.
Selin used the grappling techniques to bring the man to the ground, place him into handcuffs, and sit him up to wait for backup — in a very short amount of time.
“It’s really important when you cuff somebody up to get them into a position where they can breathe,” Selin said. “It’s not really wise, and it’s not in our policy to leave people on their bellies.”
Payne said like in the situation involving the death of Floyd, placing a knee on someone’s neck is not the best method of control.
“I would be very hypercritical of any agency that approved that technique,” Payne said.
While it is the responsibility of law enforcement to maintain the safety of others, sometimes bumps and bruises happen when a suspect begins to fight, Payne said, but in general, injuries are minor.
“In any situation like that is rapidly evolving, constantly moving, accidents are going to happen, bumps and scrapes happen,” Payne said. “It’s a different situation when it’s intentional and malicious. … Maybe a bump or a bruise that happened as we fell to the ground — well, that’s explainable.”
Although suspects may fight back on occasion, both Payne and Selin agree that an untrained person in combative has about two minutes at best to fight back.
“After that they are tired, they are exhausted, they have no fight left in them,” Payne said.
Thankfully, Payne said, most people who are arrested are compliant and listen to deputies’ commands.
“We don’t want to go hands-on unless we have to,” Payne said.
In any situation, Selin and Payne said it’s best to use communication skills and remember everyone you are interacting with is still a person.
“They might have done something wrong, but we have just as much responsibility to take care of and protect them as anybody else,” Payne said.