In a program started by organizers of the U.S. Olympic judo team, police officers are learning martial arts techniques to give them more confidence in physical encounters and avoid using deadly force.
Officers from Irving, Mansfield and Fort Worth trained Friday at Eastside Dojo in Plano.
"It's all-new,” said Fort Worth Sgt. Joshua Rodriguez. “It's pretty neat because it's some of the stuff that we learned in the academy when we were in training but it takes it to a new concept."
It's called P3, for Police Professional Plan.
"I see it going nationwide,” said USA Judo President Mark Hill. “I just think people misunderstand judo. They think of a Bruce Lee movie and they think of martial arts. Judo is teaching life lessons that kids need to learn whether they want to compete or fight or not."
Kids and police officers.
Nikki Kubes Andrews competed in judo in the Olympics before she became a Fort Worth police officer.
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"It's really cool to have my judo world and my police world under one roof,” she said. "It's just a really good compatible sport with law enforcement and what we're already teaching our recruits and our police officers."
The aim is to train officers to use their hands as their only weapon.
"I think the more we train the more we're able to make appropriate decisions under stress,” said retired FBI agent Joe Yungwirth who is now a judo instructor. "I see it hopefully continuing on as a national trend. What I would like to see is more officers engaged in weekly training at local dojos or local judo schools on their own."
Organizers also plan to soon train children in judo as part of the Police Athletic League or PAL.