Members of the Hudson Police Department's Citizen Police Academy got some hands-on experience in defense and arrest tactics training in last week's class.
Officer John Worden, who is also trained in the martial art of judo, demonstrated a variety of holds and maneuvers police use for controlling and arresting a suspect. The class then practiced some of what they learned with Worden, Chief Marty Jensen and each other. Both Worden and Jensen stressed that the physical safety of the officer, the suspect and the general public is always the primary concern in any incident.
HPD Sgt. Glen Hartman also instructed the group on the use of the Taser, a gun-like device that administers an electric current to the body to temporarily immobilize a suspect.
Hartman explained that the Taser is an important tool used by law enforcement that is in the vast majority of cases safe and effective. He acknowledged that there have been instances where a person stunned by a Taser has died, but he said those cases are very rare. He said the cases where death has occurred, the suspect has been highly intoxicated or under the influence of powerful drugs, been very large in size and been highly agitated. Hartman said the combination of those factors appear to create a sort of "perfect storm" in the body that leads to the failure of the body's organs. Knowing that, Hartman said the department avoids using the weapon in cases where the suspect exhibits those factors.
Otherwise, Hartman said the Taser is an important part of the "tools officers rely on to do their jobs." Hartman said officers are trained to evaluate which situations call for the use of the weapon and the safe use of it. Students had the opportunity to fire a Taser loaded with blank cartridges at a target. Class participants Randy Morrissette, a city councilman, and Mary Yacoub, a member of the Police and Fire Commission, also volunteered to be stunned. When used by officers, the 50,000-volt current lasts about 15 seconds. The two volunteers were only stunned for a few seconds.
The Citizen Police Academy is the first of its kind offered by the HPD and runs for eight weeks. Upcoming classes will address crime scene investigations and the use of deadly force.
Chief Jensen said he expects that members of the public will be able to participate in another Citizen Police Academy in the fall. A nominal fee will be charged. For more information, contact the HPD at (715) 386-4771.