No more neck restraints: Daytona State College teaches evolving defensive tactics training

Training continues to evolve with policy changes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When Florida implemented a sweeping overhaul of statewide police training last year, all Defensive Tactics instructors at Daytona State College’s School of Emergency Services had to learn the changes in a 24-hour-long update class.

Longtime instructor Sean Walker said classes continue to teach takedown and restraints techniques focused on the hips, not head, to better protect not just the officer but also the arrestee.

“When someone is on the ground, you either have to control their head, pin their head to the ground, or pin their hips to the ground, to keep them on the ground,” Walker said. “Really the only weight you would have on the subject was across the shoulder blades close to his neck and spine. Obviously that’s gone away.”

Walker demonstrated two takedown and restraint moves to the class of two dozen showing pinning the arrestee’s hips.

“Keeping away from the spine, keeping away from the neck is where we’ve gone,” Walker said.

Many of the recruits and trainees that come to Daytona State College will end up at police departments and sheriff’s offices across Central Florida.

Daytona State offers an entire law enforcement academy, Defensive Tactics training being one of the courses.

All instructors must complete around 80 hours of training and Defensive Tactics instructors have to undergo an additional 80 hours of training.

Every four years, all instructors must recertify.

Jessica Paugh, former Deputy Chief at the Port Orange Police Department, is the new director of the School of Emergency Services.

“I’ve been here for the past 23 years in the law enforcement community and now I want to ensure that we produce the best product out of the college,” Paugh said. “I can have more of an impact on the training portion and that all the students go with the right mentality and be role models to a lot of the younger recruits coming up.”

Paugh said training will continue to evolve. She’s adding a body camera training course, which will teach recruits how to use their body cameras correctly and appropriately instead of letting recruits learn on the job on day one.

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