Defensive tactics training on display in Montgomery


WALDEN – The Town of Montgomery Police Department held a demonstration of their newly adopted Defensive Tactics Training, Thursday, under the guidance of Fat Cat Jiu-Jitsu of Walden martial arts trainers.

The first training period will be a 90-day trial and encompasses a mix of Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, along with other grappling techniques, to train officers to deal with assailants in a way that is safe for them both. 

In a general sense, officers will be trained in take-downs, empty-hand-strikes, knee-on-belly techniques, movements, and escapes.

Police Department Executive Officer Steven Ragni, who brought the proposition of defensive tactics training to the town, said these grappling techniques fill a gap in the officers’ training and promote less-lethal engagement methods.

Instructor Mike Smith, on right.

“Police don’t receive a lot of defensive tactics training after the academy, if any at all,” said Ragni. “Back in the day, it used to kind of be a street brawl. With that being said, this can bring into light proper arrest techniques without anybody getting hurt,” he said.

So far, officers have been receptive to the training, along with Town of Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher who said he was not only alarmed by the fact officers were not having continuing defensive tactics training, but following Executive Order 203, a majority of stakeholder feedback was to find ways to employ less-lethal tactics.

Officer Brendan Smith

“We formed a community steering committee and one of the things that everyone addressed was creating opportunities where we don’t have to use excessive-force, so the best way to do that is for our officers to continue to get training regularly in defensive tactics to make sure that is a last resort,” said Maher.

According to Ragni, the Town of Montgomery Police Department had already begun looking at this type of training before the Executive Order, so they were well prepared.

Defensive Tactics Trainer Mike Smith said these grappling techniques are uniquely effective for a majority of situations and help eliminate the officers’ reliance on striking.

“It teaches you to control the person’s body: different manipulations of the body, different weight placement, whether it’s my weight on them, or their weight on a certain spot,” said Smith. “It teaches you how to control the body, instead of allowing the body to move freely and strike and stuff like that. We can control somebody and hold them down and get them in a handcuffing position,” he said.

The training will begin next week in February and train approximately 30 part-time and full-time officers during their scheduled shifts. After the 90 day trial, the town will evaluate the results with the intention to create a year-round Defensive Tactics Training regimen for Town of Montgomery police.    

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