The Associated Press got an exclusive look at the New York Police Department's three-day course that's aimed at discouraging verbal abuse and needless physical force. The message to every one of the department's 35,000 officers is, quite simply, keep cool.
"We want to talk people into their cuffs," said Lt. Suzanne St. Jacques, NYPD commanding officer for physical training and tactics. "We want to talk them down into compliance, de-escalate the situation. ... The emphasis right now is the talk down before the takedown."
Over the three days at the department's new $750 million police academy, officers start in the classroom with instruction on verbal techniques for calming down a combative suspect. The course emphasizes the human side of the job, reminding officers that policing is about helping people.
An entire day is spent in a gymnasium where instructors teach the latest tactics for taking down uncooperative suspects without putting pressure on the neck or chest.
Soon the academy will also introduce role-playing exercises, like the one with the drunken driver, using elaborate sets made to look like a grocery store, a subway station or a street scene.