'Tell people what you want 'em to do first. You gotta be able to talk to people.' <br> Tim Stecker, patrol officer and instructor
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles Blade staff writer Erika Ray is doing on the Oregon Citizen Police Academy while she participates.
When they're called on to help, a police officer's goal is to create a pause in combat and gain control of any given situation.
Norma Howard of Oregon closely examines a saw weapon that was on display during a session at the academy.
To accomplish this, officers have a variety of responses, based on an individual's actions, ranging from simply being present to resorting to use of deadly force.
The use of force continuum was a major topic of discussion during the second week of the Oregon Police Division's police academy for citizens.
Patrol Officer Tim Stecker, who's been an officer since 1981, was energetic and animated throughout the course of his two-hour lecture on the responses that officers could use based on the actions of an individual.
Weapons that were on display during the recent session at the police academy have been confiscated over the years.
If the person was exhibiting verbal or physical danger cues, a police officer might use verbal commands or assistance from other officers.
"Tell people what you want 'em to do first," he said. "You gotta be able to talk to people."
If there are weapons used against an officer, or life-threatening, weaponless assaults, an officer could respond with deadly force.
"This is a dramatic pause in combat often resulting in death," Officer Stecker said. "We shoot to stop aggression. Killing is a sidebar to that."
If the situation warrants more than verbal commands, but not deadly force, there are a variety of actions officers could use.
Officer Stecker used students and another officer, Jeff Martin, to demonstrate painless techniques, such as escorting an in-dividual, and let students show the more painful techniques on him, including striking maneuvers and wrist locks.
"Usually when I teach these classes, I'm the one who gets hurt 'cause I'll let you do stuff to me," he said.
Students learned about the six major pressure points on a person's head and why it's not wise to use pressure on a person's temple - there have been instances in which a person slipped into a coma or died after being jabbed there.
The last portion of the class was saved for weapons. Officer Stecker went through the items on his belt that officers could use in any given situation, including a gun, a Taser, and a collapsible baton, and passed them around to the class after explaining their function and securing the weapons.
Then he showed off a table full of the weapons that the "bad guys" use, which include knives hidden in belts; metal, razor-sharp rectangles made to look like simple playing cards, and guns so bulky that they needed to be slid down the table for everyone to have a chance to see them up close.
"I'd be pretty much afraid of all of them," said Shirley Baker, 74, of East Toledo while imagining being face-to-face with any of the weapons on display. "It teaches you that these people have a lot of weapons and you don't even realize it."
Twenty-one citizens are going through this year's academy, which lasts for two hours one day a week for eight weeks.
The city is paying the majority of the costs associated with the program, which is mostly overtime pay for the two or three officers who teach the program each week.
Future classes will focus on patrol operations, the use of force, Internet safety, juvenile operations, the special response team, and firearms.
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