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Jon Becker on the evolution of special tactics and police use of force options

A review of use of force issues, including the carotid restraint and other force options that have been constrained or discontinued, plus innovations and options for the future

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This episode of Policing Matters reviews use of force issues, including the recent history of the carotid restraint, electrical conducted devices (what most generally refer to as TASERs) and other force options that have been restrained or discontinued from use, such as tear gas options in some jurisdictions for crowd control. We will talk about innovations and possible options for the future.

Host Jim Dudley speaks with Jon Becker, the founder and CEO of AARDVARK Tactical, a leading provider of tactical equipment and custom solutions. Along with training and integrating force systems at AARDVARK, Jon became an attorney, where his interest in civil rights and police litigation merged and led him to write for many of the top tactical publications on a variety of topics.

In addition, Jon is the host of The Debrief with Jon Becker podcast where Jon sits down with tactical leaders and operators to discuss all things leadership, training and tactics.

Top quotes from this episode

The absence of SWAT teams is the inability to rescue hostages, it is the inability to deal with barricaded subjects. A SWAT team that is negotiating from behind armor with the subject has the opportunity to de-escalate the subject whereas if they didn’t have the armor, the second a suspect shoots at them, they have no choice.”

One of the things that will really drive safety is robotics and drones. Robotics gives us the ability to deal with a suspect from a distance from cover and safety, where we can help the suspect understand they are not going to win and that resistance is futile, so that means surrender becomes more likely.”

One of the things that has changed over my career is that hand-to-hand skill has declined dramatically in law enforcement. I think a combination of use of force lawsuits and injuries in training have driven a lot of academies away from hands-on physical tactics. As you know, in so many force situations, if the officers intervene quickly and decisively, that puts the suspect in a situation where they know they are not going to win the fight.”

resources & products mentioned in this episode

About our guest


Jon Becker is the CEO of AARDVARK Tactical and host of The Debrief podcast.

Jon Becker founded AARDVARK at just 17 years old. The company started out as a climbing equipment business, often selling gear to SWAT teams and operators. After attending law school and working in police litigation, Becker realized that the best way he could serve tactical operators was by producing and providing high-quality gear and products that would enhance operator safety on the job. After AARDVARK’s expansion and success, Becker founded PROJECT7, a provider of purpose-built, scalable and configurable tactical platforms.

Throughout this decades-long journey, Becker has learned invaluable lessons about the lives and work of law enforcement and tactical operators, leading him to a deep understanding of the principles and core values behind highly effective teams. After keynoting for many years on the leadership of elite units and what he terms “culture-centric” leadership, Becker is putting those lessons into The Debrief, a non-profit podcast that serves the wider public.

Connect with Jon Becker

About our sponsor

This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit


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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing