NY police trained to use new technique to subdue suspects

Reuters / Carlo Allegri

Reuters / Carlo Allegri

Thousands of New York City police officers have been undergoing re-training at the city’s police academy, learning how to communicate better with the public and new, safer techniques of subduing suspects.

Officers are now being taught a martial arts technique known as
the “armbar hammerlock” (video),
reported New York local portal DNAInfo. New York’s police academy
previously taught a “headlock” move, a choke-hold used by Officer
Daniel Pantaleo during the controversial arrest attempt in July
2014 that resulted in the death of Eric Garner of Staten Island.

“We have to be more human,” NYPD’s new Deputy
Commissioner of Training, Michael Julian, told reporters in
December, following the protests over the grand jury decision not
to indict Officer Pantaleo in Garner’s death.

MORE: Dozens arrested as NYC protests Eric Garner decision

While it is still possible to break someone’s arm using the
hammerlock, the NYPD hopes that additional training may remove
the need for grappling with suspects in the first place.

Before studying the new moves, officers have been spending two
days re-learning teamwork, self-control and better communication
with suspects and the public.

“Day one and Day two are designed to avoid needing Day
one police source told DNAInfo.

One part of the seminar is the nationally recognized program
called “Blue Courage,” designed to remind officers about the
values of policing, justice and fairness. The locally developed
communication course, taught on the second day, involves lectures
by specialists such as Hostage Negotiation Unit leader, Lt. Jack

The program is part of
the reforms introduced by Julian, who worked with the current
Commissioner Bill Bratton in the 1990s, and agreed to rejoin the
force last fall. For all the tactics, equipment and restraint
techniques, Julian said, the police were never taught to
communicate, control their tempers, or even “to take a breath
to find ways to deal with non-threatening encounters without
resorting to force and escalating situations.”

According to Julian,
NYPD officers were not taught how to “work as a team in
taking a resisting suspect into custody.”
One officer
interviewed by DNAInfo described the current NYPD approach as
“more or less, just pile on.”

All NYPD officers should
be re-trained by June this year.

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