Officers of the Albany Police Department got a workout Wednesday during a day of defensive training. Participants learn how to subdue unruly suspects without the use of firearms and to keep themselves and citizens safe while patrolling city streets.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Police officers got a chance to rough each other up at the Albany Civic Center Wednesday. Fortunately, there were heavy pads and protective gear to keep them from getting hurt. Officials say the bad guys on the street don't play like that.
"We do get into physical situations from time to time," said Tim Harvey, a detective with the Albany Police Department, during a break in the action. "It's part of the job. Law enforcement officers don't just ride around out there. We deal with the worst of the worst -- with people who want to hurt us and others."
Harvey said that while some techniques are designed to subdue suspects, others are defensive tactics to keep the officers from getting hurt.
"We're just like any other agency throughout the country," said Donald Frost, deputy chief of support for the APD. "We want our field personnel to be trained and familiar with the various tactics that are being utilized. We don't want to have to put our hands on anyone at any time, but unfortunately, there are times when we have to secure someone. We want to be able to do that in a safer manner."
According to Frost, the training, provided by instructors with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, is ongoing and available to every officer on the force and for other city agencies.
Women receive the same training regimen as men, Frost said. While similar training has been available in the past, this is the first year the Brunswick group has been contracted for the job.
"This is the best training group in the country," Frost said, "and we're lucky to have them here."
"Sometimes we just need to get away from an assailant and wait for backup to arrive," Harvey said. "In any case, the use of firearms or Tasers is something we want to avoid if we can. If we don't continue training, our abilities will slow down and that's something that could kill us and put citizens in danger as well."
Phyllis Banks, spokeswoman for the APD, said that while gym facilities and exercise equipment is made available to police officers, there is currently no specific physical performance standards for officers on the force.