La Crosse police practice non-lethal procedures

FRENCH ISLAND, Wis. (WKBT) — In dangerous situations, police often use techniques to avoid the worst outcomes. An annual training event for La Crosse police officers helped them practice these procedures and learn something new.

Whether responding to a call or pursuing a suspect, officers need to be prepared.

“We go through a lot of training,” said investigator Alex Burg.

La Crosse Police Department officers participated in an annual training day to practice emergency vehicle operations and integration of communications assessment and tactics techniques.

“We absolutely have to practice this technique because it’s not something they would normally do,” Lt. Cory Brandl said.

Officers practiced pursuit intervention techniques, also known as PIT. In the event of a chase, officers could slow down and safely arrest the driver.

“Muscle memory is about not making contact with another vehicle, so here we practice making gentle contact with another vehicle. That can be hard to overcome,” Brandl said.

Burg instructed officers on how to respond to situations where a subject has a weapon that is not a firearm.

“Most often it seems to happen with knives, but you know it could be really anything,” he said.

This is the first year that ICAT will be used in the La Crosse Police Department. The program was developed after a study found that in 2015, 36% of officers involved in fatal shootings did not include a lethal weapon.

“What steps could have been taken to prevent this from happening in the first place,” Burg said.

Burg says officers need to remember to create space between themselves and the subject. The distance allows officers time to communicate and implement less lethal options.

“A lot of times a taser is what all La Crosse officers carry,” he said.

Allow officers to make decisions that will protect everyone involved.

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