Brazilian jiu-jitsu is often suggested as a way to help police officers stay safe while also teaching them the techniques they need to keep suspects safe when making an arrest. The hope, of course, is to reduce LEO injuries and fatalities and make the officers less likely to use lethal tactics against members of the public.
The police department of Marietta, Georgia has taken the initiative to make jiu-jitsu training mandatory for their officers, and from the sounds of it, the decision has been a good one. The department enlisted the help of DJ Farmer of Alliance Atlanta and Humberto “Beto” Borges of Borges Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to teach the officers some BJJ, and some of the officers have enjoyed it so much, they’ve continued training even after the end of the mandatory sessions.
In a post shared to the Marietta government website, the Marietta PD described the role of jiu-jitsu in their training, which also includes verbal deescalation training and is moving in the direction of reducing striking-based combat and incorporating more grappling-based techniques. The site says that new cadets are required to attend at least one BJJ class per week “until they achieve solo status on the road,” which amounts to about five months of jiu-jitsu training. “While this does not replace the existing training methods, it will give our officers additional options they can use when possible,” said the post.
The effects appear to be obvious to the officers who have completed the training.
“The new officers stated they were more prepared for their academy training, developed more self-confidence, and have the necessary training to apprehend resistant suspects. Several have indicated they plan to continue ongoing BJJ training even after the requirement period ends. The cost associated with this new program has been minimal. This style of controlling a suspect greatly reduces the risk of injury to both the suspect and the officer.”
The department also stated their desire to be as peaceful as possible, even in potentially dangerous situations. “We remain committed to our goal of using the least amount of force necessary in every situation. Depending on the circumstances, officers must be aggressive when necessary, but never abusive. This investment in our officers training, both in time and money, is the next step as we continue to seek new ways to accomplish our goal.”
While the concept of training police officers in jiu-jitsu is controversial and won’t solve issues of systemic racism in the field, the response from the Marietta PD is hopefully a step forward in keeping the public and LEOs safe.