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More police officers taking Jiu-Jitsu as tactic for subduing subjects with less harm


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    FAYETTE COUNTY, Georgia (WGCL) — Inside a public school cheerleading gym south of Fayetteville, law enforcement officers from six states are gathering this week to learn how to use a form of martial arts to subdue a subject.

The trainers are from a California-based company called Gracie Survival Tactics, a division of Gracie University. They teach a form of a form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

“It’s not based on explosiveness, athleticism, or strength. It’s based on leverage and proper body positioning,” said Charlie Fernandez, the company’s director of operations.

Fernandez said the training allows officers to get an aggressive person under control with little physical harm to that person or to the officer.

The Peachtree City Police Department is hosting the training thanks to a grant that allowed them to invite officers from other jurisdictions as well. Officers from 20 Georgia agencies and three federal agencies are taking part.

By the end of the week, each officer will be certified as an instructor.

“They can begin teaching these tactics right out the gate to their officers,” said Lt. Chris Hyatt of the Peachtree City Police Department.

Hyatt said about a year ago, a handful of officers from his department began learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu on their own time.

“There was all this publicity about how it’s effective, efficient, and safe, and good options for law enforcement,” he said.

They were hearing good things about the Marietta Police Department, which in 2019 began requiring weekly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training for its police academy hires. Since the inception of Marietta’s program, the department has reported a 23-percent reduction in Taser deployments among officers with the martial arts training. The department also reports that serious injuries to a suspect are 53-percent less likely when interacting with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu-trained officer.

Over the past year, the Peachtree City Police Department began covering the cost of the training for its officers. It now allows officers to incorporate the training into their workday on days when staffing allows.

The department has secured a separate grant to host a higher level of the training in the future.

“No matter how big and strong the officer is, there’s always a subject bigger and stronger than them,” said Fernandez, “so that’s why these tools are so important.”

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