CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Albemarle County police are learning a new way to disarm potential suspects in a way that doesn’t involve harming anyone.
But that’s not all the officers are getting out of it.
With lots of controversy over how officers deal with a potential suspect, police in Albemarle County are looking for a way to defend themselves or disarm someone.
“I think that any time we can deal with a person, someone who’s in crisis or someone that we’re having to take into custody and we can we use the minimal force necessary to get that person under control – it’s better for everybody involved,” Sergeant Timothy Carrico of the Albemarle County Police Department, said.
Carrico has been going to Charlottesville Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for more than six years.
When a friend pointed out that more officers could benefit from this kind of training, it got the ball rolling on starting a class with cops.
“I always found that Jiu-Jitsu was incredibly useful in their line of work of control and arrest and not harming the suspect or the assailant,” Gordon Emery, owner of Charlottesville Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, said.
Thanks to a community donation made through the Albemarle County Police Foundation, 15 ACPD officers can now practice at the gym every day.
“You’re teaching yourself how to stay calm and how to keep control of yourself emotionally and physically, and I think we can take those lessons and apply them anywhere in our life on a daily basis,” Carrico said.
Emery demonstrates to the officers that it’s a method of restraint using body weight and leverage, but also a method of composure.
“They get comfortable with it,” Emery said. “They get calm with it, so when they are confronted with these issues in their line of work, it’s old hat. They know how to kind of conduct themselves.”
It’s changed the way these officers do their jobs, but it’s also giving them a different perspective.
“Officers come in and train just like any other citizen in the community,” Carrico said. “It gives us the opportunity to all be on the same playing field and really get to know each other as individuals rather than a citizen in the community and an officer with the police department.”
These officers have been training since August and they’ll continue to move up the ranks at the studio just as they do in the force, by moving on from a white belt to a blue belt and so on.
(Original Article Source: NBC 29 Charlottesville)
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.