State Rep. Jamie Thompson has introduced legislation that will give police officers an extra asset to keep themselves safe on the job while serving their communities.
House Bill 5014 would require licensed law enforcement officials to achieve a blue belt in jiujitsu or certification of equivalent grappling training. Other acceptable training would include mixed martial arts fighting, judo, wrestling, and more. Grappling training involves hand-to-hand combat used to gain a physical advantage over an opponent.
“This training would be a win-win for our state as it would promote effective and non-lethal responses to potentially dangerous situations,” said Thompson, of Brownstown. “Our law enforcement officers work hard to protect our families and neighborhoods. They are often placed into extremely stressful situations and that takes a significant toll on their well-being. We should be doing all we can to support them and give them tools they can use in the field.”
The requirement would take effect in 2024 for individuals seeking a law enforcement license, and currently licensed officers would be provided ample time to obtain necessary training. Licensed officers would also be required to complete continuing education in grappling training annually.
Thompson pointed to other states that have implemented similar measures and seen fewer situations escalate. After an elective jiujitsu program began at the Marietta Police Department in Georgia, the city reported a 53 percent reduction of injuries to a person being arrested when force was required and a 48 percent reduction of injuries to officers using force, compared to officers who chose not to participate in the program. Officers who participated in the program were also 23 percent less likely to deploy a taser. After the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota implemented a training program for officers, the department saw a 37 percent reduction in use of force.
“This training has prevented situations from becoming deadly and also works to cut down on potential excessive force settlements that ultimately cost taxpayers money,” Thompson said. “This is a common-sense measure that protects our first responders and gives them an effective tool when they are responding to situations.”
HB 5014 will soon be formally read into the record.
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jamie Thompson introduces new legislation, House Bill 5014, at the state Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 14. The plan provides licensed law enforcement officials with expertise in non-lethal takedown tactics through jiujitsu or equivalent grappling training. Data from departments that have utilized these techniques in other states has shown a reduction of injuries for both officers and suspects.
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