4 reasons every cop should be trained in Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint

I was privileged to have been trained by the great James Lindell of Kansas City Police Department in 1979, and learned his system of Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR) as well as his follow-up protocol


Every officer in the country should be trained in the proper application of neck restraints. When I entered law enforcement in 1974, I was trained in a technique called “The Sleeper.” It was designed to gain compliance by merely applying the technique which convinced the suspect he was being controlled. If needed, you could render someone unconscious if they continued to resist.

Although it was far from my go-to empty hand technique, I used it with effect on a number of combative and dangerous individuals and I felt comfortable using it on the street when justified in doing so.

When I became a defensive tactics instructor, I taught neck restraints. I had no problem with this since it was being used safely by many officers at the time and being involved in the martial arts, I was aware that it was used often without problem in that venue. I was privileged to have been trained by the great James Lindell of Kansas City Police Department in 1979, and learned his system of Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR) as well as his follow-up protocol.

Opposition to Neck Restraints
In 1982, the ACLU targeted police use of neck restraints in an effort to drive them into extinction. They nearly succeeded. In that year, there had been some in-custody deaths allegedly attributed to the use of neck restraints in Los Angeles. A much more detailed explanation of what happened next can be found in Greg Meyer’s PoliceOne column on the topic, but in sum, LAPD and other agencies soon placed a moratorium on neck restraints. As Captain Meyer correctly stated, “Thus, a huge gap in the police use-of-force continuum was created, and it was not adequately filled.”

I was told to stop teaching neck restraints by my chief at that time. Nationwide, neck restraints were pulled from the law enforcement academy curricula.

Jim Lindell’s Kansas City Police Department was one agency which continued to train and utilize neck restraints. Their (LVNR) Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint system has been used often from then until now successfully.

It took me years to finally get approval to once again teach neck restraints to my officers. 

Officers Need To Learn This
Here are four reasons I believe all police officers need to be trained in proper application of neck restraints:

1.    Because of the dynamics of street confrontations a combatant in a street struggle can go from top to bottom in an instant. With these dynamics in play, it’s reasonable to believe that at some time in an officer’s career he or she is going to find themselves with an arm around a suspect’s neck in an effort to literally hold on for dear life. Because of this, officers should know the difference between a Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint and a Trachea Hold. If you don’t train officers on how to apply this hold properly under stress, one of your officers will accidentally apply it improperly.

2.    Officers will run into suspects who are well-versed in the application of this hold. It is imperative that in training, officers learn how these holds are applied, so they can practice countering these holds when they are used against them.

3.    Lateral Vascular Neck Restraints are a non-lethal hold when properly applied. They are an effective way to control combative individuals without inflicting injuries on suspects, while preventing injuries of officers.

4.    These holds work!

Understandable Hesitancy
Officers need to be highly trained — and beyond proficient — in as many empty hand control options as possible that are effective and defensible. Considering the threats that are out there these days, it is imperative that police officers are comfortable and highly skilled in the use of all force options from dialog to deadly force. They must be willing and able to employ them all when called upon to do so.

Check out the video demonstration below that I did with PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie back in 2012. Keep fighting the good fight.

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