Are seated suspects less dangerous?

Submitted by:
Chuck Remsberg


The position of advantage can change quickly in a dynamic encounter, and you need to understand the effect of sudden shifts so as not to be jeopardized by them.

Consider when you’re dealing with a suspect who’s seated in a chair, a couch, or on the ground, for example.

Trainer Tony Blauer of Blauer Tactical Systems likes to ask his classes: “Given that a subject is going to try to attack you physically, when is he most dangerous — when he’s standing or when he’s sitting?”

“They always say, ‘When he’s standing,’ ” Blauer says. “When he’s seated, officers assume he’s not in a ready fighting stance and they tend to see him as less dangerous.

“But if you have to move in and pull him up to take custody of him, things change radically — and fast. You’re stepping into his reactionary gap. You’re bringing your knees, your gun, your TASER, your throat, and your hands into his range. As you pull his butt off contact with what he’s sitting on, you cycle him into a wrestling stance. You compromise yourself for a tackle or a gun grab if he has evil intent.”

Critical to your protection, Blauer suggests, is a change of mindset. “Switch on to the fact that you’re around potential danger, when dynamics can change quickly. Forget any presumption of weakness or of automatic compliance because of a subject’s position. Just being cognizant of the potential risk will improve your reaction time to an attempted attack.”

And he underscores one of his mantras of DT training: When practicing physical control drills, always spend some time as the bad guy — and play that role with intensity and ingenuity. “Learning from experience what it takes to launch an assault will help you pick up on pre-attack cues and shut down trouble before it starts.”

For information on training, visit Blauer’s website. He will be instructing on personal defensive tactics at the upcoming ILEETA annual conference, Apr. 15-20 in Wheeling, Ill.

Charles Remsberg has joined the PoliceOne team as a Senior Contributor. He co-founded the original Street Survival Seminar and the Street Survival Newsline, authored three of the best-selling law enforcement training textbooks, and helped produce numerous award-winning training videos.

His nearly three decades of work earned him the prestigious O.W. Wilson Award for outstanding contributions to law enforcement and the American Police Hall of Fame Honor Award for distinguished achievement in public service.

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