Lt. John Domingo (ret.), and IPICD Board member, recognized the need for training law enforcement officers (LEOs) to capture, control and restrain violators in pairs, threes, etc. and to work as a cohesive group when confronting driven individuals who do not react to pain compliance techniques or devices. Many Southern California law enforcement agencies, including the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD), where he served as Watch Commander and trainer, have had great success with a program called P.E.P., an acronym for Platform, Efficiency and Proficiency.
CAPTURE not COMBAT It is undeniable that a raging person must first get captured usually by one or more LEOs, before the other defensive control actions take place. Analyzing video footage showing the capture of suspects by officers who are P.E.P trained prove these techniques work and are effective. The ability to quickly and to safely capture a person before applying restraints will often end the conflict more efficiently and with fewer or no injuries. Controlling the force used by officers allows them to slow down the event (known as pacing and often an important point for litigation or an internal affairs defense). Teaching a mind-set change from “combat” to “capture” is only one part of the training. P.E.P. Platform assesses the seriousness of the incident and what level of force is justified under the circumstances. It educates LEOs in risk assessment before and during the confrontation. Efficiency thoroughly educates LEOs about what their defensive techniques and devices are designed to do, and how to transition from one failed technique or device to a more successful one. Typically, LEOs struggle or fight with suspects on the ground, while numerous officers attempt to control the hands, arms, and upper body. This approach allows the suspect to use the strongest muscle groups available to continue resistance. A good top or side mount position by the “top officer,” combined with leg control by the “bottom officer,” will allow quick control of the suspect. Systematic control of the lower and upper body allows officers to slow down the event and be more efficient. Pacing the event also allows officers to disengage from their “Fight or Flight” response and change their perceptions and reactions. Proficiency, the third support of the P.E.P. program, focuses on the agency’s responsibility to require regular training, qualifications and to make sure LEOs maintain proficiency with force options and devices. Today’s LEOs deserve training on how to critically think about analyzing the risk of a situation and how to transition force options and devices. After the LEO decides to use force on a resistant or combative subject, the key is doing so in an efficient manner to end the conflict as quickly as possible. After all, this is 21st century policing.