Limitations of the solo-officer 'dual force' tactic
Part Two: The most obvious disadvantage to solo-officer “dual force” deployments is that humans just don’t perform multiple tasks well at the same time, especially under stress
In part one, the concept of “dual force” was described and loosely defined. Some of the advantages of this tactic were examined within specific situations. To reiterate a point made in part one, this article is not intended to advocate for or denounce against solo-officer “dual force” tactics — only to explore some of the positives and negatives of it. It is up to the individual officer on scene at the time of the event to choose the force option/tactic that is reasonable.
As a field supervisor I have seen some good applications of “dual force” that turned out very well and I have seen some bad applications. Rather than throwing out the baby with the dirty bath water, let us continue to explore the idea while weighing its strengths and weaknesses.
Inter-Limb Interaction is the involuntary contraction of an individual’s hand and finger muscles under stressful conditions (for more on this you can check out this link). There are different situations that can cause an Inter-Limb Interaction including:
Taking the same situation in the previous paragraph, the officer is thinking “fire the TASER” and actually does fire the probes from the TASER device. In this case due to the Inter-Limb Interaction (Sympathetic Squeeze Response), the officer also fires the pistol at the same time.
The downfall to either of these situations can be enormous in the cost of life and liability to the officer and/or agency. Taking the example above again there are at least two outcomes that can be disastrous. If the officer were to shoot a suspect with his pistol without deadly force factors present, the officer may face criminal, civil and administrative sanctions. If the officer were to only fire the TASER when the officer was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, there could be a serious officer safety concern if the TASER was ineffective or the officer fails to hit with both probes with a solid connection.
There are several other analyses to be made depending on the mix and match of force options deployed but due to word count limitations it would be nearly impossible to discuss all the variations in a single article.
There are some training points that are critical to discuss whenever a “dual force” tactic is used or suggested. Here is a short (non-exclusive) list:
What are some of your thoughts? Have you used (or observed) a solo-officer “dual force” tactic? How did it work?
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