MARIETTA, Ga. — For officers with the Marietta Police Department, training is usually done at the Police Academy. Last month Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston found a group of them at Borges Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, doing a different kind of training. They were learning the martial art of jiu jitsu.
Borges owner Humberto Borges told Huddleston the practice is key to reducing police brutality and keeping officers safe.
“They are disciplined. They know how to control any situation on the street,” he said.
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Officer Jared Nudi credits the training for helping him restrain a mentally ill man who escaped from custody recently.
“Before jiu jitsu, If I took that guy to the ground, I wouldn’t know what to do and would have put pressure in the wrong places, and I could have pushed down so he couldn’t breathe,” Nudi said.
Major Jake King signed off on the jiu jitsu program two years ago.
He told Huddleston new officers must go through five months of mandatory classes; He said 60 percent of the force is still in classes.
“It really gives me the tools on how to handle violent people or people who don’t want to be arrested or are mentally ill, how to arrest them with total respect,” he said.
King said officers will receive 90 hours of training in a year if they attend the entire course.
“The sad part is the average police department will only get four hours in a year,” he explained. King added that jiu jitsu doesn’t teach punching and kicking, just how to control people calmly.
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He told Huddleston the number of injuries to officers is down 47%, and injuries to suspects by a staggering 53%.
Officer Luis Valdez said before joining the force he’d never been in a fight, and jiu jitsu gives him the confidence to handle himself and the suspect safely.
“You don’t want to hurt anybody around you, you don’t want to hurt that person you are dealing with at that moment in time,” he said.
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The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council told Channel 2 it doesn’t track unique training programs for departments, but Major King said in April several other police departments, including Kennesaw, Acworth, Peachtree City and Roswell, started jiu jitsu training.
“You get confidence on how to deal with people,” King said.
State lawmakers have asked King to speak at hearings to determine if this type of training should be mandatory for all Georgia police departments, and if the state should fund it.
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