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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Annual training for IMPD officers puts emphasis on de-escalating dangerous situations

The department has new tools and tactics aimed at defusing confrontations before anyone gets hurt.
Credit: WTHR/Rich VanWyk

INDIANAPOLIS — The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police officer is putting new attention on the training of police officers. 

Here in Indianapolis, the commander of the Metro Police training academy said nothing has changed. The academy wasn't teaching officers to use chokeholds at the time of Floyd's death and isn't now.

But according to IMPD Commander Catherine Cummings, there are new tools and tactics aimed at de-escalating confrontations before anyone gets hurt. 

"Bola! Bola! Bola!" shouted an instructor before he fired a BolaWrap at a volunteer officer. 

With the speed of a gunshot, but with none of the danger, the "suspect's" ankles were bound with a Kevlar cord. He couldn't move. 

Other police departments are using the BolaWrap. IMPD is evaluating the product as the department employs new tactics intended to defuse dangerous and potentially deadly confrontations.

"De-escalation training is not new to IMPD," Cummings said "Essentially what de-escalation is is talking to people." 

Although the training is not new, it is evolving, according to Cummings. 

Credit: WTHR

Indiana requires police officers to receive 24 hours of additional training every year. The training must include identifying and helping individuals who may suffer from autism, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

"It doesn't have to be someone who is in a mental health crisis or anybody like that. It could just be someone who is upset, frightened," Cummings said. "It means that our officers need to approach in a more delicate manner, need to talk in a more soft manner."

Cummings said Floyd's death did not change this year's training, but the department is always looking to learn from other communities and police departments "to see and get ahead of what can we anticipate happening, what we can expect our community is needing from us and how we can train for that."