The Madison Police Department implemented a new use of force technique with its current recruit class Tuesday, in the wake of a use of force investigation involving a teenager last June.
The current class of 50 received training Tuesday, while the rest of MPD are to receive training by Dec. 13.
A use of force investigation found the force used in a June 3 incident involving a teenager undergoing a mental health crisis legal, but also stated that the involved officers missed opportunities that could have led to a better outcome.
On Oct. 18, the MPD Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee made 33 recommendations referring to the use of force.
Use of force coordinator Sgt. Kimba Tieu said the new technique builds on state-mandated training but does not replace it, and it allows officers to work as a team to more safely gain custody of uncooperative subjects. Tieu also emphasized that this tactic is not designed for instances of extreme violence when subjects may be acting in a very aggressive or dangerous way.
“It works as a two-officer technique or tactic where one officer will try to get control of the subject’s upper body and the second officer will get control of the lower body, and working together they’re able to lower the subject to the ground,” Tieu said.
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In a statement made to The Wisconsin State Journal, Acting Police Chief Vic Wahl did not want to connect the new training to a specific event, but said the incident — along with others — may have informed the decision along with the department’s desire to improve.
Tieu also said the training didn’t specifically correspond with the June 3 incident.
“It was born out of this desire and a directive to look at ways to constantly evolve and improve training,” Tieu said.
As a lifelong martial artist, Tieu said the principles of the technique are nothing new and it isn’t “earth-shattering,” but instead it is based on principles of martial arts that “have been around really forever.”
Tieu also said that the technique is not necessarily new to other agencies and that it could have been used in MPD years prior, but that MPD will be more “purposeful and intentional” with use of force training going forward.
“I don’t want to say a long time coming, but it is something we could have used years ago as far as being more effective in terms of our team tactics,” Tieu said.