Security forces train to protect, defend with nonlethal force
September 3, 2009
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- The Joint Security Forces members here received their yearly nonlethal qualification training including riot control, Monadnock expandable baton (MEB) training, pressure point control and advanced techniques with a baton Aug. 20 at the JSF compound. Nonlethal weapons come in many forms; from tasers to rubber bullets to pepper spray or even a MEB - security forces members need options other than using side arms to subdue wrongdoers. "Nonlethal capabilities are essential for our joint security force," said Air Force Maj. Ted Breuker, JSF commander. "Each member needs the ability to react to a situation appropriately and have a full spectrum of tools available. This nonlethal training gives us the ability to react to, and neutralize, a situation without having to resort to lethal force -- unless that level of force is warranted." "Though commonly taught to law enforcement, pressure point techniques are rarely practiced and even more rarely applied correctly," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Robinson, U.S. Army South deputy of state provost martial. "But we learn it in case we would ever have to use it." Some nonlethal techniques can seem violent, and may be misconstrued as an abuse of one's human rights, but if a person resists then security forces members have the right to defend themselves, he said. When someone resists, the use of force increases and pressure point control techniques are applied, Sergeant Robinson said. "We need to be very observant to ensure not to overdo it. If someone becomes compliant the force being used should be reduced." Pressure point control is about total compliance and that's the goal when dealing with someone who is resisting, he said. "Every nonlethal attack is a psychological hit to a person and it will eventually make a person give up and become compliant," Sergeant Robinson said. Nonlethal techniques are used as distracters to gets someone off balance and in handcuffs, but there are still guidelines security forces must follow. According to the Monadnock baton chart there are three colors body parts fall under -- green, yellow and red. Green zones are based on the minimal amount of force used during a confrontation. Arms, legs and shoulders are acceptable target areas for baton strikes. Yellow zones include the rib cage, collar bone, knee joints, elbow joints and groin area. When the level of threat increases security forces members can target these areas, Sergeant Robinson said. Red zones are considered the lethal areas and can only be targeted if members are in serious danger or feel their life is threatened. Red zones include the head, chest and back. Sergeant Robinson said it is important to know the areas they are hitting and the techniques they are using because they will come into play when they have to fill out police reports. When questioned in a statement they need to explain in detail why they had to resort to nonlethal force and what means they used to secure the individuals. Practice makes perfect so Sergeant Robinson said it is important for the security forces members here to stay fluent with the techniques he is teaching. "Muscle memory is the main reason why we train like this," he said. "Repetition and practice will make someone remember the proper techniques if it's ever needed." Sergeant Robinson said they have to be prepared for the worst situation because they would be outnumbered, so their application of force has to be correct.