skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 119190 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Carotid Neck Hold: Myth vs. Reality
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:37  Issue:3  Dated:(March 1989)  Pages:31-34
Author(s): A G Sharp
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Police departments that are continuing to use the carotid neck hold (choke hold) or that have decided to use it for the first time should carefully train officers in its use beginning at the academy level, make officers aware of its potential physical complications and liabilities, and emphasize its use only for self-defense and only when this force is required for personal safety.
Abstract: This hold has received extensive public attention as a result of reports of deaths due to its use. Opinion is divided regarding whether or not the hold is worth the controversy associated with it. In fact, only 30 percent of police agencies recently polled report authorizing the use of the hold, even though 37 percent of their police academies teach it. Another 30 percent have banned their use. More importantly, 64 percent of those now authorizing the holds would stop using them if they received ample proof that they are lethal. Nevertheless, 58 percent of the respondents consider the hold an effective technique, while 18 percent believe it to be ineffective, and 24 percent are unsure. Any department using or considering the carotid neck hold must consider the possibility of liability judgments, particularly because alternatives exist that lack the same risk inherent in the neck hold. The departments currently authorizing it enforce guidelines to monitor its use to ensure that it is used as a last step before the use of a gun or other deadly force. Some departments submit victims to medical examinations, and one uses a computer to track each use of force and to take corrective measures when abuse is detected. Although the hold is controversial, it is effective and will be a viable technique as long as police officers need to protect themselves. Photographs.
Main Term(s): Neck restraints
Index Term(s): Lawful use of force; Police policies and procedures; Self defense
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.