TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Future police officers are learning what to do if they are overpowered by a suspect. It’s part of the twelve-week police academy at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center.
Priscilla Castro and her fellow cadets of Class B 68 have spent a lot of time on the mats this week.
In defensive tactics, cadets learn what to do if they are overpowered by a suspect, or if they fall down and the suspect gets on top of them.
“We want the officers to be able to defend themselves and get up off the ground, to where they can get to their tools and to what they’ve been trained to do,” said SSGT Instructor Tony Carleton.
Cadets are learning techniques from a program called SSGT, which stands for ‘Strategic Self Defense And Gunfighting Tactics.’ The system teaches law officers to defend against common attacks they may face in the line of duty, such as bear hugs, headlocks, tackles, and other threats. It also teaches firearm retention and disarming techniques.
Carleton, former chief of police in Tupelo and Columbus, and current SSGT instructor says the training is valuable for officers when dealing with suspects who are violent, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If we’re called to a scene, a lot of times there is substance abuse, or a substance being used, but other than that when we’re there, people know there’s a possibility we can take them to jail, and so they may not want to go, and if they’re under the influence, it’s even more of a struggle because they’re not comprehending, ”Carleton said.
Academy Director Dean Bearden says he has heard from many former cadets who have used what they learned during defensive tactics week.
“When cadets graduate and many times they call or text, say, I had a situation that happened and they use techniques we’re teaching here to maybe save their lives and maybe save the suspect’s life or someone else’s life,” Bearden said.
For cadets, this training helps them prepare for their time on patrol.
“The importance of these techniques, if we get on the ground or in a bad situation, we can get out of the situations, at the end of the day, our main goal is to go home,” Castro said.
“Even going against some instructors, they put a little more pressure on us, which is good, you will not know the situation, you’re not going to know if you are stronger than them, or faster, but you have in the back of your mind, all the techniques and you think, I can do this, ”said Cadet James Shea.
Self-defense techniques wrap up week seven of the basic class.
Next week cadets will be qualifying in firearms.
Graduation Day for Class B 68 is October 22nd