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Aug 22 2006

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Cops learn how to do their jobs in water

Written by Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
Law enforcement personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Oakland County Sheriffs Office and Macomb County Sheriffs Office Marine Divisions train on Lake St. Clair Friday on suspect apprehension, officer water survival and victim rescue when in the water.

In this scenario, the criminal, center, hurts the first responding officer, left, as a backup officer pulls his gun and shoots the armed criminal. Then the backup officer drags the hurt officer back to the patrol boat, then the criminal. See full image
 – Law enforcement personnel learned Friday that standard techniques used on land to subdue a suspect are not easily transferred to the water.
In a training exercise designed to teach deputies how to capture a suspect in water without harming themselves or the offenders, deputies from Macomb and Oakland counties and U.S. Coast Guard members practiced their techniques. They were weighted down by more than 20 pounds of gear, including bullet-proof vests, gun and duty belts and clothing, and subject toconstantly changing conditions.
“There is enough water in Macomb County where this challenge would present itself,” said Capt. Dave Teske, of the Macomb Sheriff’s Office, which is providing the training to the marine division and may expand it to deputies assigned to waterfront communities. “It gives you a level of confidence.”
The officers completed their third and final day of training in Lake St. Clair, about three miles east of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department boat house in Harrison Township.
In nearly nine feet of water, trainees went through a series of exercises that dealt with a variety of topics, including subduing an individual, using guns in the water and using the water to the officer’s advantage when dealing with a suspect.
“Most officers don’t know their own limitations,” said Dave Young, Director of Specialized Programs for North Central Technical College. “Departments look at training as budgetary restrictions. They don’t look at training as a degree of necessity.”
Young also helped the officers learn about proper ways they could rescue injured individuals in the water, whether it is a pool, lake or river.
“It teaches you to protect yourself,” said Macomb County Deputy Frank Bednard, who previously went through the program and recommended it to the department.

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