ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When two St. Petersburg police officers were disciplined this spring for their use of excessive force in two separate incidents, police Chief Anthony Holloway announced that all 562 officers under his command would be retrained on the proper use of force during an arrest.
- St. Petersburg officers undergoing four-hour training sessions
- Goal is to be retrained on proper use of force
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Since then, hundreds of officers have gone through the four-hour training program.
On Monday, Chief Holloway went through it himself.
"It's been 20 years," Holloway said about how long it's been since he's been through the training. "It's changed a lot because now it's more using hands-on techniques instead of just giving blows.
"The blows are good if the officer's life's in danger or if that's the only thing he has left, but we're trying to make sure the officer has other tools in their toolbox."
Some of the new methods involved officers using their weight instead of their fists or their weapon to get a suspect under control.
"We create discomfort," said Officer Edward Regan, "and then once we get the compliance, letting go." Holloway says it's a more sensible method that does the job and helps keep everyone involved safe.
"We're trying to get out of that old mentality that you don't have to strike a suspect first," Holloway said. "If you can control a suspect first, then go for the control technique first, versus giving that strike. Use of force doesn't look good no matter how you use it, but when you strike someone, let that be your last thing that you have to use."