[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
At 0900 this morning Munro’s LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) ENS Dan Schrader pipes boarding team members to the hangar deck for LE training. Today, it’s wrist restraints, or handcuffing with the detainee on his knees.
First Dan walks them through it, reading the procedure from the instruction manual as ENS Chris McGhee stalks and restrains BM2 Matt Hendricks. Then they break into pairs, experienced BTMs with break-ins.
Break-in SA Jonathan Sardinha practices on veteran BM2 Steve Garon. Jonathan assumes the interview stance, shoulders squared, hands folded over his belt. “Uh, okay, sir, put your arms out. Turn around until I tell you to stop. All right, stop.”
Steve says, “Don’t say ‘all right,’ just say stop.” The idea is to compel compliance, and a combination of uniformed presence and command voice will in most cases get the job done. Jonathan starts over in a firmer voice. It takes him a few tries but he gets it. “Sir! Put your arms out! Turn around until I tell you to stop! Stop!”
GM1 Josh Hendl is working with BM3 Tim Stamm, ET2 Chris Leach is working with ENS Chris McGhee, BM2 Matt Hendricks is working with SN Aaron Guttierez. Dan walks from pair to pair, coaching.
After the break-ins get used to the routine, the detainees start resisting. Steve slips out of Jonathan’s hold, and Dan steps in. “Twist and push,” and suddenly Steve is on his face, his hand twisted behind him and Dan’s knee in his back. I blinked and it was done. It was so quick and smooth I had a hard time keeping up.
Dan’s been doing this kind of thing for nine years as a bosun’s mate before he went through OCS and became an officer. The most experienced crewman after that has been doing LE for a year and a half. He’s taking over the LEO position from LTJG John Holderman, who is rotating off the ship this spring.
When they go to boarding school, either the abbreviated BTM two-week course or the extended boarding officer six-week course, things are much more intense. “We did this exercise and my wrist was bleeding when we stopped,” Matt says. “And my thumb was numb for weeks.”
I ask Dan about the thumb grab. It looks painful. That’s the whole point, if the detainee resists, you twist it far enough, it hurts and he stops resisting. Then I was sorry I opened my big mouth because Dan had me try it out on Aaron. I was very timid, afraid I was going to break him, in spite of Aaron’s repeated, “It’s okay, it doesn’t hurt.”
I bet it didn’t, because I’m never going to get good at it. That’s okay, that’s why I have big, strong, well-trained Coasties in between me and any bad guys we run across. My plan at all times is to keep a safe and admiring distance.
CG methods of takedown and restraint are much admired in the law enforcement community. “You watch “Cops” on television,” Dan says, “and you’ll see five guys swarming around trying to take one bad guy down, and it turns into a big mess.”
He smiles. “That’s not our way.”
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Dana View All →
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.
I wonder what the crew likes to read. Your accounts are reminding me of how much I enjoyed reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian (basis for the movie Master and Commander). Also, Grey Seas Under, by Farley Mowat, which is a breathtaking account of a large ocean going rescue tug in the North Atlantic during the 1940’s.
I have been enjoying this vicarious trip. Thanks for making it so real, just as you maka Alaska real in your books.
I just wanted to thank you for giving me this window into the lives of these wonderful young men and women as they go about protecting us. The comments to the blog are as uplifting as your words. It is great to hear the pride in the words of the families of the Costies.
Thanks so much, both of you. You’re right, Cathy, the comments are what make the blog so special. I love hearing from you all, and so does everyone on board.