OKC Chief Of Police: Recruits May Wear Safety Helmets During Training

Tuesday, October 16th 2012, 5:02 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City Chief of Police is addressing their police academy training in light of the recent death of one of their recruits.

Kelley Chase, 38, died over the weekend after becoming unresponsive during a self-defense training exercise last Friday.

10/14/2012 Related Story: Authorities Identify OKC Police Recruit Who Died At Training Academy

The Oklahoma City police academy is viewed as one of the toughest and best academies in the state, and goes beyond standard CLEET training requirements in the time they spend on their training.

But this recent recruit death has the top brass taking a look at their training model, and seeing if it needs improvement.

This review is taking place just days after Chase died at the hospital. Chase was one of 45 new recruits with the academy's 129th class which just convened in May.

Police say Chase was going through routine training and was doing his final custody control and defense training test with instructors when his head hit the mat.

"You have to put officers in positions in training that they may have to deal with on the street, and prepare them to be able to deal with that effectively to protect their lives and to protect others," Chief Billy Citty said.

Chief Citty told News 9 their procedures require a safety officer to be present to watch that things are being done correctly at CDT training, and that every session is recorded on video to ensure safety.

He admits recruits and officers get bumps, bruises, and sprains, even broken bones.

The chief says he's looked at the tapes personally and says the department will look at its procedures to see if there is something it may do differently at the academy, like adding safety helmets during training.

For now, the Oklahoma City Police Department has suspended the custody control and defense training and is doing an internal investigation.