Oklahoma City Police Complete Combat Training

Wednesday, May 28th 2014, 7:19 pm
By: News 9

Every single commissioned officer with the Oklahoma City police department goes to the Oklahoma City police training center near Portland and Reno Ave. every two years for CDT training. It is not only training that is vitally important, but mandatory.

CDT stands for Control and Defensive Tactics and officers showed News 9 just a few examples of what they are trained to do with a person trying to resist arrest. It is just small sample of what officers go through during their 10 hours classroom and hand-to-hand combat training every two years.

"Things are always changing and evolving, and we want to make sure we are staying up with the times," said Sgt. Travis Serna, who is one of the head instructors at the OCPD Training Center.

Serna says one of the most important things he teaches his officers is to stay in control, even though it is often the suspect who is in control of the outcome.

"They're always going to dictate what kind of force we use and how much force we use," said Serna.

These officers say if a suspect tries to get aggressive and use force on them, they are going to react accordingly.

"We don't want to allow them to get back up on their feet, because if they get back to their feet that allows them to escape or access a weapon," said Serna.  "Or we will have to take them down again, which can result in more injuries."

And officers say these techniques are not used to hurt people, but to protect the public. And that goes for the suspects too. That's why you will often see more than one officer being used to arrest a particularly combative individual.

"So if we can get multiple people to maintain that person, the risk of injury for them goes way down," said Serna. "And if you have someone that is very combative, it is very hard. I don't care how trained you are, how big and strong you are. It is very hard to keep one person on the ground by yourself."

And officers say the one thing they want the public to know is that you don't always know the circumstances behind an arrest, and should never judge an event as brutality at first glance.

"You have no idea if that guy just had a gun or maybe he does have a gun in his waistband and you can't see because he's lying on his belly," said Serna. "The officer may know he has that weapon, so what you see taking place may not be the full picture."

The Oklahoma City police force has more than 30 certified CDT instructors at the training center. And two of the main ones, Serna included, have more than 10 years of experience each.

Recruits with the Oklahoma City police academy also go through rigorous CDT training to get them prepared for the streets. Recently, instructors incorporated head gear to help protect cadets during that training. This came after the death of a recruit at the academy two years ago.

Cadet Kelly Chase died of injuries he incurred after his head hit the mat hard during a CDT drill.