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Drills and technique: The importance of handcuffing

Because the hands kill, your hands have to be more prepared to be more deadly than your adversary

No matter what position you put someone in, it still comes down to this: “Account for the hands, watch the hands, control the hands.” This is because the hands kill. So your hands have to be more prepared to be more deadly than your adversary.

I suggest that you keep the criminal following commands and a little bit confused. If you use the same technique often enough and long enough criminals prepare to defeat it.

That is why I tried to get to know the criminals that I arrested on repeated occasions and vary the techniques I used with them. Some officers have a preference for a particular high-risk technique. I have chosen to learn them all and applied them all and even develop a few on my own for a tactically defensible variety. For example, I have ordered subjects to put their:

• Hands on the heads
• Hands in the small of their back, fingers spread
• Hands out palms, up,
• One hand on your head, one hand behind your back

And so on and so on and so on...

I’ve ordered them into a position to handcuff while they are:

• Straddling a bike
• Seated in their car
• Sprawling across the hood of a car
• Prone
• Kneeling
• Standing with feet apart
• Standing with feet tight together
• Leaning forward
• Leaning backward

And so on and so on and so on...

There have been many times that times I have handcuffed them when they have thought they were doing a field sobriety test.

You need to be proficient with your handcuffs and how to apply them quickly from a position of advantage. You must prepare for resistance or assault after feigned compliance. I have done drills where I drop the handcuffs, move, draw, and shoot.

Try to get to a position of advantage, maintain a position of advantage, and once again it bears repeating, account for the hands, control the hands, and watch the hands. Use stealth on the approach while you have a cover officer at the ready. Train throughout your career to win against sudden resistance and assaults.

Some might say that learning one technique is hard enough. If that is the case learn it well. Many officers never train with their handcuffs once they leave the academy. Their technique deteriorates immediately and continually until there is no identifiable technique in any of their arrests. They become awkward and fumble with their handcuffs. This sends a message not only to the career criminal looking for an opportunity but the putz who sees an opportunity.

Stay in control of your own survival by learning many ways to stay in control of your suspects.

Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized police trainer who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full-time law enforcement experience. Marcou’s awards include Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Domestic Violence Officer of the Year. Upon retiring, Lt. Marcou began writing. Additional awards Lt. Marcou received were 15 departmental citations (his department’s highest award), two Chief’s Superior Achievement Awards and the Distinguished Service Medal for his response to an active shooter. He is a co-author of “Street Survival II, Tactics for Deadly Encounters,” which is now available. His novels, “The Calling, the Making of a Veteran Cop,” “SWAT, Blue Knights in Black Armor,” “Nobody’s Heroes” and Destiny of Heroes,” as well as his latest non-fiction offering, “Law Dogs, Great Cops in American History,” are all available at Amazon. Dan is a member of the Police1 Editorial Advisory Board.

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