Officer safety considerations in the polyester pile

There several ways to control a violently resisting suspect on the ground so the polyester pile should be seen as “an option” and not “the option”

Struggles with resistive suspects often end up on the ground. Any law enforcement officer can attest that going to the ground with a suspect is a dangerous situation. In a ground struggle, the suspect must be considered potentially armed since the officer is armed and the suspect now has close access to the officer’s weapon(s). One school of thought is: if the officer is winning the ground encounter (is in the process of putting the handcuffs on the suspect), stay and finish the process. This school of thought continues: if the officer is not somehow in the handcuffing process, disengage. This is a very brief snapshot of one ground fighting philosophy that could be the subject of an entire article concerning one-officer-with-one-suspect encounters. Hopefully when this happens there will be more good guys on the scene to help control and take custody of the bad guy.

While it certainly does tip the odds in our favor to have more of the good guys help capture the suspect, it does not eliminate the dangers or the need for sound tactics and communication. One tactic that has been used with success for many years in law enforcement is the “polyester pile.” Many officers have used this age-old technique but may call it something different. The idea is to get more officers on top of the bad guy and control him into custody through body weight and sheer strength. There are admittedly other ways to control a violently resisting suspect on the ground.

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