How do you Stand during a Field Interview? It Matters.
Have you ever seen the way many police officers stand? My department had what we affectionately called “heavy arm syndrome”—upon graduating the academy, probationary police officers caught this condition from seasoned veterans. This ailment made their arms become so heavy that they needed to put both hands inside the arm holes of their outer vest carrier. To maintain their balance, they would widen out their legs and lock out their knees.
This positioning is the opposite of how you want to stand while conducting a field interview. It is tactically disadvantageous, and potentially unsafe.
Let’s cover the basics of a good interview stance:
- It should be a comfortable and natural position to be in at all times.
- The hands should be in front of the body and above the gun belt, not tucked into your vest. The reaction time needed for defense is greatly hindered if your hands are tucked away; this includes putting your hands in your pockets.
- The feet are about shoulder width apart. Knees are slightly bent and not locked out. The reaction leg is forward and the weapon side is back. This blades the body so the firearm is away from the subject.
- Your body weight is evenly distributed over both feet. This provides balance, and the ability to rapidly respond.
While engaging in dialogue with a subject, it is prudent not to stand directly in front of him or her. Maintain at least two arms’ length of distance. Further advantage can be gained by being at a 45 degree angle to the front of the subject. This safe separation creates a “decision making distance” and allows the officer to observe and react to the totality of the situation.
A proper interview stance is foundational—in fact, all ASP training and techniques start from this position.
Stay safe, and keep training.
Chicago Police Department (Ret.)
ASP Trainer since 2011