April 5, 2003 at 3:02 AM CST - Updated June 21 at 2:34 AM
Paducah Police Learn Some New Moves By: Kate Scott
(Paducah, KY)--Paducah police officers are kicking into high gear as they brush up on some old defensive moves, and learn some new ones.
Officers began a new training course this week, called “Pressure Point Control Tactics.”The training focuses, as you might imagine, on controlling the body through pressure points.“There's a group of nerves that have been identified through medical research, that come very close to the skin,” explains Paducah Police Sgt. Don Hodgson, who’s teaching the class.“Therefore they’re very sensitive.”
The nerves are so sensitive, they can temporarily disable muscles when they're hit the right way, giving officers a chance to bring a suspect under control without “either” of them getting injured. Hodgson says that's a big change from the defensive training methods of twenty years ago.“Typically, it was acceptable for officers to strike suspects in the face or the head with their fists,” he recalls.“We've changed that because of the legal aspects, some liability issues. Also, because we had a lot of officers getting injured from punching people in the face.”
But that doesn't mean suspects aren't still willing to punch officers in the face. In fact, two Paducah officers ended up in the hospital just this week, after getting punched by a 17-year old! Acting Sgt. Jason Merrick wasn't one of them, but he knows he could face that situation, or worse, at anytime.“We have anywhere from seven to nine officers on the street at a time, so I know I’ve got help readily available,” he tells Heartland News.“But in the three to fifteen seconds that it takes for that help to get there, these are the skills I’m going to need to take care of myself.”
Paducah officers are taking turns going through the 40-hour training course.The department hopes to have all its officers through the course within two years.