Officers with the Iowa City Police Department, University of Iowa Department of Public Safety and Oelwein Police Department recently underwent expert defensive tactics training with help from former and current star University of Iowa wrestlers.
The police agencies partnered with the UI Wrestling Program to enhance officer skills when it comes to physically managing a person during an incident or arrest, while also reducing the chance of injury to the officer and suspect.
Iowa All-American Wrestlers Matt McDonough, Mike Evans and Thomas Gilman helped instruct officers, in addition to defensive tactics instructors Ian Alke and Niles Mercer. Iowa City Police Training Coordinator Sgt. Doug Hart worked with Iowa Wresting Coach Tom Brands to arrange the training.
The idea for the training was developed during a conversation between Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly and University of Iowa Director of Public Safety Scott Beckner.
Matherly is a past certified high school wrestling coach, and it struck him that there may be an awesome opportunity to partner with one of the nation’s finest wrestling programs to provide more training.
“There are times when an officer's de-escalation efforts and verbal commands fail quickly, and they have no option but to go hands-on to take a person into custody," Matherly said. "While our officers learn defensive tactics at the basic police academy, and continue to practice with state certified instructors, we can always find opportunities to do more.”
This defensive training is just one of several collaborations Iowa City Police and UI Public Safety have been planning to allow both agencies to work better and together for their communities.