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Deliver commands using the 'B.L.T. method'

Submitted by PoliceOne Staff

In stressful encounters, some officers have a tendency to yell commands in a high speed, rapid-fire, almost frantic fashion — “Down!!! Down!!! Down!!! Down!!! Down!!! Down!!! Down!!!” — sometimes to the point of hyperventilating. Although this makes it clear that your commands are to be followed NOW, this kind of delivery can actually increase your stress level and decrease your own mental processing.

To help avoid that, Arizona trainer Craig Stapp suggests using the “B.L.T. method." The idea is this:

First, issue your command, in full force. The point is NOT to diminish the impact of your order.

Next, take a breath. This will slow you down and keep oxygen flowing well for your own mental clarity and to facilitate a better level of physical calm.

Then, listen. Are you hearing anything in response to your commands that will help you better navigate this situation? Is the subject telling you anything that could be useful for you to gain control? “Even if it’s a lie, it may prove valuable for you to hear what a subject is saying to you,” says Stapp. “If you’re caught in a loop of just rapid-fire commanding without any level of listening, you may be missing something that could help you.”

Now, think. Is this command working? Is this guy appearing to be compliant or preparing to comply? Or is he appearing resistant, in which case you may need to take a different approach.

B.L.T.: Breathe, Listen, Think. Repeat as necessary.

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