After careful consideration, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office will no longer authorize deputies to utilize the carotid hold.
This follows the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) decision to no longer certify the carotid hold to be part of the training of peace officers in California. This will change the training recruits receive during the basic academy and the ongoing training deputies receive throughout their careers.
To provide some perspective, our use of force policy did not allow choke holds or so-called strangle holds, but did allow the use of the carotid hold during encounters with violent or combative subjects. The carotid hold, when properly administered, restricts the blood flow through the carotid arteries at the sides of the neck, causing the person to briefly pass out. This typically lasts just a few seconds, but would allow the deputy time to restrain and handcuff the person to end a violent encounter.
In 2019, our deputies had 202,394 documented contacts with the public. Of all of those contacts, only 652 involved the use of some level of force. Of those 652 incidents involving the use of force, the carotid hold was used only twice. Neither of those encounters resulted in serious injury or death. The carotid hold has been used once in 2020, and that encounter did not result in serious injury. In each case where the carotid hold was used, the subject received a medical evaluation as required by policy.