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The Rear Sentry Takedown

The Rear Sentry Takedown

I recently attending a LOCKUP use of force instructor class.  It is a defensive tactics system that is taught by Retired Lieutenant Kevin Dillon.  I have had the pleasure of attending a variety of instructor and user level courses and feel confident saying that the Rear Sentry Takedown is one of the best techniques that I have been taught and I intend to teach it in the future to law enforcement officers and recruits.    

The Rear Sentry Takedown, is a deceptively easy, and simple technique.  There are some different variations to the technique to accommodate any officer, potential deployment situation, or field use.  The technique is a rapid team technique that protects officers, and subjects. The major learning point that I took away, is that this is a controlled technique to get a subject to the group, protect the head, and limit the potential for injury.   It is a dynamic technique that happens in a rapid manner, to control a potentially aggressive subject. The technique is used in tandem with a divide and conquer military style precision. This is a scripted technique that gives law enforcement officers a significant advantage with controlling subjects.

In looking at the technique it easily comports with Graham v. Connor (1989) and if used as trained, there is a limited potential for injury.  The technique occurs in a quick dynamic fashion that places specific control of the subject’s body and movements towards the ground.  There is a strong need, and willingness for trainers to impress upon trainees the fact to remain in control of the subject. The Rear Sentry Take Down allows for a smooth transition from a standing positions, to a prone position on the ground, while maintaining contact with the subject.

I would suggest that trainers and agencies review this technique for inclusion in there bailiwick for controlling subjects. One of the nicest things about the technique is the need or lack of need for daily, or regular training.  Like any martial arts techniques, the user practices countless hours in a gym, on bag, or fighting a person. This technique is very fluid, so even us “husky” Americans can control someone with ease. I do not need to be in a gym every day to stay current with this technique.  

Law enforcement officers and trainers are doing less with more.  What is important is an understanding where to cut corners and use of force techniques is not one of those areas. Having a simple and dynamic technique that is effective is a sure fire way to hopefully control use of force encounters.  While use of force is not always pretty, if the application needs to be effective, officers need to control people in tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situations. But officers also have a duty to care, and protect when possible at the time force is applied and utilized.

This technique gives the officers time to think about potential options for what to do next. No technique should be worked within a silo. Everything is fluid and keeping it simple should be a priority for law enforcement. Law enforcement has often been termed a “young person’s game” but as we get older there remains a need to use force effectively and within the confines of the law.  That is where the Rear Sentry Take Down can be of use for every police officer. 

To find out more on the Rear Sentry Take Down, go to:

For additional information on the legal use of force standards check out or  

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About The Author


Dr. Matthew J. Stiehm has received an Educational Doctorate from Argosy University, where the focus of his research was campus safety and security. He has a Master’s Degree of Criminal Justice from Central Missouri State University, with his final paper which focused on the investigation of child abuse and finally a Bachelors of Science from Wayne State College, Nebraska. He has served as a police officer in three states (CA, MN and NE), he keeps current on law enforcement trends most recently he conducted an 8 month study with Columbia Heights Police Department (MN) on Community Policing. He currently is a member of ILEETA, an Associate Member of the IACP, Support, and Police Executive Research Forum Subscribing Member.

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