U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Teeth are Edged Weapons

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 52 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2004 Pages: 114-115,117
Dave Rose; Rocky Warren
Ed Sanow
Date Published
October 2004
3 pages
This article briefly discusses the risk of human biting attacks on police officers and the training of officers in the appropriate use of force needed to prevent such attacks.
Biting attacks are common in police work and carry a large risk of infection and serious injury. Biting attacks can be launched on police officers in a matter of seconds providing the officer with little to no warning. These biting attacks can be lethal weapons against police officers. Human bites are frightfully infectious. If blood or blood products are present in the mouth, bite wounds can potentially transmit the HIV/AIDS virus. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases are of even more concern in the case of human bites since their viral load in saliva or blood is many time that of HIV/AIDS. In a biting attack, it is difficult to determine the nature of the force needed to dislodge the attacker. Suggestions of various use of force techniques, considered reasonable, are presented in this article for officers to utilize in the event of such an attack and include: a LVNR/carotid control type hold, a head reversal, body weapon strikes to the temporal mandibular joint, or nerve stimulations. Training in the area of biting attacks is discussed for officers working both singly and as a team.