A few weeks ago, I wrote about a disturbing discovery that eleven national police organizations agreed to modify the national consensus policy on use of force to restrict vascular neck restraints to deadly force after George Floyd did not die from a vascular neck restraint (VNR). I won’t repeat those original talking points but I encourage you to read them here. The idea that VNR is deadly force is a complete joke and frankly it is embarrassing that law enforcement organizations, that supposedly exist to support best practices, would do this.
A proven low to intermediate force option for the last 50 years, there have been no deaths or serious injuries attributed to a tactic that is being used in every jiu jitsu gym at this very moment and the idea that well established police organizations would pick politics over the safety of police officers makes me sick to my stomach.
I received several comments after that original article from law enforcement professionals detailing how the tactic had saved them many times and it is not hyperbole when I say that what these organizations have done is placing officers and suspects at a greater risk. After the Los Angeles Police Department banned it, injuries to suspects increased 661% and officer injuries increased 521%.
As just one example, Pennsylvania Trooper Ryan Seiple and Corporal Seth Kelly attempted to arrest a suspected drunk driver in 2017 when a fight ensued. The troopers performed exceptionally and frankly, did everything they possibly could to stop the evil that eventually attempted to kill both of them.
You can watch the video here.
But here is the problem with wokeness superseding best practices. Up until the suspect pulled a gun from the car and critically injured Corporal Kelly, it was not a deadly force encounter. The troopers used every tool they had for intermediate force including control holds, impact weapons, and a taser, but it did not stop a suspect that just a few seconds later would turn a less less lethal encounter into a deadly one.
The tool needed in this violent encounter, that had the potential to stop a deadly encounter, was the vascular neck restraint and both troopers were in a position to use it multiple times during the close quarter fight.
Unfortunately, according to groups like the IACP, FOP, CALEA and the National Tactical Officers Association, the VNR can only be used for deadly force, even though anyone with a few brain cells knows fully that it is not deadly force.
Forcing Good Departments To Cave
The problem I have with the politics of these organizations is that they affect good leaders and their organizations. Imagine that you are a police chief adhering to the principles of Courageous Police Leadership and you attempt to explain to activists and politicans why your agency should be using VNR with facts and evidence (which is easy to do) so that your officers have the tools needed but the very organizations that should be supporting best practices are saying that VNR should be moved to deadly force?
This is exactly what chiefs are telling me around the country. They know it’s not deadly force; they know it can help prevent injuries to officers and suspects; but they are “forced” to do it because those demanding the change are simply pointing to police organizations that also demand it.
While I don’t know what the use of force policy said when evil tried to kill Pennsylvania Trooper Ryan Seiple and Corporal Seth Kelly, the use of force policy for the Pennsylvania State Police aligns with far too many others today, placing VNR (carotid restraint) in the deadly force category.
A Shameful Decision
The organizations that made this ludicrous decision may have thought that it was no big deal and would simply appease the crazy people that keep telling law enforcement what to do when they know nothing about the profession but there is a large group in the profession that knew nothing about these shenanigans….until now. I’ve been in several classrooms teaching since I discovered the disgrace of this decision and the very members of the organizations are shocked and in disbelief.
The Awakening of Law Enforcement
I will not let this go. Leadership is about doing the right thing, no matter what and I am calling on each of these organizations to pull away from the National Consensus Policy immediately and apologize for sacrificing the safety of law enforcement for some sick and twisted woke agenda.
The Time Is Now
It is time that we hold these organizations to the standards of the principles defining courageous police leadership.
If our profession is willing to cave on this simple issue, that can easily be explained with facts, with the focus on public safety, what is next?
What will be the next demand and what further damage to the safety of law enforcement will that create?
This stops now!
Dr. Travis Yates is a commander with a large municipal police department and author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies.” His risk management and leadership seminars have been taught to thousands of professionals across the world. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Leadership and the CEO of the Courageous Police Leadership Alliance.