Use of Force Expert

Dennis O'Brien is a former Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), having served in that capacity from February 2, 1970 until his retirement on January 1, 1999. During his twenty-nine year career, Special Agent O'Brien was certified by the FBI as an Instructor in the following areas of expertise: Defensive Tactics, Firearms, SWAT, Major Case Investigation and was the Coordinator for the Special Agent Fitness Program in the Los Angeles and Albany Divisions of the FBI. Mr. O'Brien was the Senior Team Leader of the FBI's Albany Division SWAT Team and a member of the FBI's Los Angeles SWAT Team during his tenure there. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. O'Brien was a Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI Academy, Quantico VA, where he was a Program Manager in the Physical Training Unit, responsible for the development and implementation of the FBI's "Use-of-Force" policy. For the majority of his career with the FBI, he was assigned to investigate crimes of violence, including bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping and the pursuit and arrest of violent fugitive felons, under the provisions of the Federal Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution Statute. He was directly involved in the arrest of more than five hundred armed and dangerous felons during his career.

During the course of his career as an FBI Special Agent, Mr. O'Brien had the opportunity to testify in both Federal and State Court on numerous occasions. In conjunction with his work under the provisions of the Federal Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution Statute, he was subpoenaed as a witness for both the prosecution and defense, providing expert testimony in matters involving the use of force during the execution of a lawful arrest, where there were allegations that excessive and unreasonable force was used by law enforcement officers.

For more than twenty-five years of his career, Mr. O'Brien designed, authored and taught courses to thousands of police officers across the country that dealt with the physical, psychological and practical aspects of arrest, emphasizing the need to use only that force necessary to subdue and control a combative suspect. His courses have been accepted and certified by P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) in California and by the BOMP (Bureau Of Municipal Police) in New York State. During 1986, Mr. O'Brien represented the FBI on a Governor's Panel, formed to examine the use of the "Choke Hold," or “Carotid Restraint." The Panel was empowered to determine whether the use of this control technique by law enforcement officers was a reasonable use of force to subdue a combative suspect. As a result of his position and that of his law enforcement colleagues on the panel, the use of a "Carotid Restraint" by law enforcement officers to subdue a combative suspect during the execution of a lawful arrest was not deemed to be unreasonable force in New York State.

In 1979 Mr. O'Brien introduced to the FBI a method of handcuffing that allowed the use of only one hand to manipulate the handcuffs during the application of the cuffs to the suspect's wrists. This technique greatly minimizes the time required to apply the handcuffs, which in turn minimizes the opportunity for the suspect to react and resist. In 1981 the FBI adopted this method of handcuffing and continues to teach and use it today in the training of Special Agents. Mr. O'Brien has taught this technique to thousands of law enforcement officers throughout the United States and they in turn have taught it to their officers. The technique has been adopted by law enforcement agencies nationwide.
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