Philly police get advanced training to avoid use of deadly force

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Philly police get advanced training to avoid use of deadly force. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 4pm on June 11, 2018. (WPVI)

Philadelphia police are receiving some advanced training to teach officers how to de-escalate situations without using deadly force, even when they encounter highly combative citizens.

The officers were being trained by Dave Kahan, the chief instructor from the Israeli Krav Maga Association, which in Hebrew means "contact combat."

"We want to give them the tools to be able to control somebody without causing permanent injury, and using objectively reasonable force, not extreme force," Kahan said.

The goal is to help officers on the street not have to resort to potentially deadly force tactics to handle a situation.

"To give officers other options than deadly force, less than lethal force. We're trying to decrease the number of police shootings, obviously," said Inspector Verdell Johnson.

Two local cases highlight the benefits of this kind of training: The recent fiasco on the beach in Wildwood, and last year when now-former officer James Yeager lost his job when he body slammed a suspect to the ground.

One 11-year veteran who was getting Krav Maga training on Monday said he wishes he had this training before.

"I can recount several occasions where I wish I would have other tools to use while affecting an arrest," said Lt. Jose Medina.

An officer from western Pa. eventually became an instructor and swears by the concept.

"I'm a patrol officer and a SWAT officer. I've had to take people into custody and Krav Maga has taught me how to take the person into custody with dignity and respect, but also to get the compliance that I need," said Ofc. Albert Carson.
The goal is to eventually have all active duty officers take the Krav Maga training.

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